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About corvus

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    Resisting hysteria
  • Birthday 07/03/83

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  1. Laura Mundy is very good as well:
  2. Given it's increasing, this tells us whatever is causing it is continuing to occur on a regular basis. Either she is not psychologically comfortable with other dogs coming close to her or she is physically uncomfortable with dogs coming close to her. Given it's increasing, we know it's unlikely she will figure out for herself how to resolve this. She has a coping strategy (aggression), and if it doesn't work, she escalates. Thing is, it probably often does work, at least to some extent. Dogs have a little success with aggression and very little success with anything else, so they naturally just put their bets on aggression working sooner or later. My bet is she is giving signals to tell the other dog to back off before she is growling, lunging or nipping. She is just learning that those signals are not effective. I see the same thing over and over again. As a general rule of thumb, when you want a dog to use a different behaviour for something where they already have an established response, it's usually most successful if you get in before they display that established response, and reinforce a different behaviour with the outcome they want (e.g. move away from other dogs). In this way, you can shape away from aggression to quieter and quieter responses, and with some counter-conditioning and desensitisation as well, take care of the emotional response, too. Easiest with help from a behaviourist!
  3. Inappropriate marking is FREQUENTLY stress/anxiety-related. Particularly if it has coincided or intensified with the move, that is what I'd be anticipating is the cause. I suggest it would be sensible to get a behaviourist out. It's hard to tell sources of stressors without being there and looking around.
  4. The first question is whether it is marking or urinating. There is a difference. Marking is on vertical surfaces, urinating is on horizontal surfaces. Marking is low volume and urinating is high volume. They are distinctly different problems.
  5. Portuguese podengo pequeno. ;) Smooth-coated, little, tough, friendly and affectionate. My girl spends her days on my lap, but when we go out, she's leading the way. She does 12km trail runs with me comfortably, but doesn't bounce off the walls if she doesn't get out for a couple of days. She loves to explore, but stays close to us.
  6. A response cost is a penalising consequence that is in some way costly to the individual's goals, and usually refers to taking something away that has already been gained. Generally the hope is it will be punishing. A good example might be penalty yards in loose leash walking training. When the dog pulls, you walk backwards rather than just stopping. The idea is there is a reward for walking with a loose leash, and that is going forwards, but there is a cost to a tight leash, and that is not only halting the forward motion, but taking it away by going backwards. I don't usually use it in this context because most dogs are quite responsive enough to a halt IME, and you always risk frustration with a response cost. Frustration can make things worse and get you bitten if you're not careful. I think most of the time if you work on the dog's arousal and emotional state to ensure that is right and then ensure your reinforcement is sufficiently valuable and you have controlled the environment to the extent where the correct response is easy for the dog, you don't need to infuriate the heck out of the dog by imposing a response cost. I occasionally find myself working with a dog that has hit on a behaviour that is easy and self-reinforcing and despite clearly understanding how to earn reinforcement, they persist in this other behaviour regularly. Usually it's energetically cheap, like barking or a quick jump up. One of my dogs can be very impulsive. I find that occasionally he indulges his impulsiveness and it's quite hard to head it off. A good example is his love of jumping onto my shoulders. Unfortunately, he likes it so well that sometimes he decides I just gave him the cue, particularly if I'm not looking at him, so he does it. It seems to make very little impact on him if I just nudge him off and refuse to reward it. He continues to sneak one in when I never asked for it. Apparently he's never heard of stimulus control despite my efforts to help him discriminate between a cue and no cue.
  7. The way I see it... She CAN ignore you and "get away with it". When you ask her to do something, you are making a request, not a command that she must obey. The game is to make it in her best interests to not ignore you. And you do that by rewarding her often and in many contexts and with many types of reward. When you give a cue, you are essentially asking her a question. "Would you like a reward?" If she performs the behaviour, the answer is "yes". If she doesn't perform the behaviour, then the answer is "no". So, if you can't bear to see "no" for whatever reason (and there are reasons - I don't want to see "no" when I recall!), then it is your job to set everything up so that you have a very high chance of getting "yes". If you still get "no", then you have two choices: 1) a response cost; 2) chalk it up as a loss and learn from it. A response cost to me is for highly rewarding behaviours and very resilient and optimistic dogs that are doing something because it does something for them and they are happy to choose that over your rewards. For pups, I would rarely bother. Just reward and keep rewarding until they are so confident they will get rewarded if they do the behaviour when cued that they never really hesitate. I wouldn't ask unless I had rewards ready. I also wouldn't generally ask if I can't accept "no". In a home environment with a behaviour that's not a huge deal, I just assume they don't want my rewards after all and walk away. I usually come back and ask them again 10 seconds later. They have often changed their mind by then.
  8. You know, a lot of dogs are uncomfortable with babies. This kind of thing comes up repeatedly with clients. Dr Kate Mornement is also in Melbourne (Pets Behaving Badly). Kaye is a friend of mine. I like her style. She's very experienced and a great critical thinker when it comes to training.
  9. The rabies vaccine is an odd one. When I got vaccinated, I was advised to have myself tested after the pre-exposure vaccine course and they usually tell you to keep checking every 2 years or so. It is well known for having a strange effect on some people and no one knows why. Different people need boosters at different times. It is also known for fading relatively quickly.
  10. Be aware that whenever you pick a puppy up, you are essentially robbing them of all control over where they go. A lot of puppies don't really care. They are happy to go wherever with you. However, some puppies very much do care. They need control over where they are going and when in order to feel safe. It is best you see a behaviourist now, but in the meantime, work on getting your puppy's willing cooperation by rewarding her for coming to you. You can also make being picked up less threatening by always giving her a treat when you do it. When she growls at you, she is saying she does not like what is happening. She is allowed to not like it, and telling you is better than not telling you, so I wouldn't be worried about the growls. If you back off and work on getting her willing cooperation whenever she growls, then she won't feel like she needs to escalate. You will be rewarding the growls to some extent, because backing off is what she wants, but growls in themselves are harmless. A behaviourist will help you figure out how to behave and interact with her so she doesn't feel the need to growl, either. I assessed a cav cross puppy just like this recently. He was a very nice and tolerant boy, but he just wanted handling to be on his terms.
  11. I run roads and trails (including single tracks) with my podengo. The main issue I have had with equipment is that she is tiny (5.2kg), and she has a skinny wee neck and a deepish chest and a teensy waist. Most of the canicross equipment is designed for larger dogs. I ended up getting her a running harness custom made by Indidog. I have been very happy with it so far. It doesn't seem to get in her way at all. She can wear it for an hour long run and there is no hint of chafing. I think it just helps to have something that fits her well. I use a Snooza waist belt and loop it through the only light bungee leash suitable for small dogs that I could find in the pet store. Now that we are starting to do longer runs, I am looking for something a bit more comfortable for both of us. Most waist belts ride up unless they are designed for running. I also carry water for both of us on another waist belt, and some treats (because she is learning good manners on runs) in another little waist pouch. Consolidating would not be a bad idea! She tends to run quite close to me, so sometimes gets tangled in the leash. But she also sometimes falls behind or veers off to go around something or check something out on the trail, so I don't want to use a very short leash, either. She does seem to appreciate the bungee, though. It's very easy to accidentally jerk a little dog around when you're running. The bungee protects her from me just as well as if protects runners from bigger dogs.
  12. It's an ongoing issue with my youngest, Kestrel. She is wee little, and she does it most to our oldest, biggest dog. She pretty much tries to lick between his teeth. It took a while for me to figure it out, because she did it all the time with him at first, and it looked like intense puppy submission. She had not had much to do with dogs that looked like he does, and she was still a baby. He is a very tolerant dog and put up with it. As their relationship developed, she has been doing it much less, but it has become more directed. If he tries to approach me when I'm in bed or on the couch and Kestrel is cuddling, she will try to lick his tonsils. Occasionally she will snap at him and then try to lick his tonsils. I assume because she quite likes him and is conflicted about it all. He has never shown any aggression towards her no matter what she does, and she loves to wrestle with him. If it's Erik, though, who has been aggressive towards her, she just snaps at him. He would not tolerate that licking behaviour anyway. Lately, she has reduced her snapping (because it doesn't work) and instead tries to climb into my mouth (yay!). The more often Erik comes up for a cuddle in an evening, the more needy she gets for my attention. She also does it when my partner gets home from work and he doesn't greet her enough. All the dogs think he doesn't greet them enough. She can get frantic to the point where I have to stop what I'm doing because she apparently needs my hands on her at all times. So, I'm pretty sure what is going on is a blocking strategy for a bigger dog she's not as confident with/social displacement behaviour when she's not getting her way. Yet to find a solution, really. I usually try to reassure her and if another dog is present, move her so my body is between them and my arm around her. If I'm attending to her and there's a little distance, she seems better able to cope, but when the other dog leaves, she will take whatever space they had and then she fusses as if I owe her twice as much attention as I gave the other dog. She is a funny creature.
  13. I have never had the presence of mind (or time!) to do anything but focus on where the dog is going to be in the next few seconds and trying my hardest to have us all somewhere else. If I had a few seconds to put a hand in my treat pouch or grope for a horn, I would be using them to put distance and preferably a road or barrier of some sort between us and the oncoming dog.
  14. I have met precisely one oodle with a serious temperament flaw in researching and in behaviour consulting. The owner contacted the breeder, who was reportedly hugely surprised and tried to help and then gave up (the problem was extreme) and withdrew. I have met many oodles that have some problem behaviours but their owners are happy to work on them because the dog is otherwise a good dog they are very happy with. I think it's easy to assume people must be disappointed with these dogs, but I have met people that have been so happy with their designer crossbreed they went and bought another one. I met two Border/poodle mixes recently. Quite different dogs, but both of them were really good companions. Who would think it? Not purebred dog fanciers, I guess. I have met lab/cocker mixes that were gorgeous family pets, and pug/beagle mixes that had broad appeal. I can accept that good dogs come from all backgrounds and still not recommend designed crossbreeds on the grounds that you don't know what their early life has been like, necessarily, or their health. While supposedly we have purebreds for predictability, I have had more clients with purebred dogs that are disappointed than clients with oodles that are disappointed. People have an amazing dog of a particular breed and then they want another one and get a rude shock when they find themselves with a very different dog. Or they thought they wanted x, got one, and then found out breed x is maybe beyond their skills or unsuited to their environment after all. Assuming that there are going to be major problems with a designer crossbreed because it's a designer crossbreed is why purebred dog fanciers don't understand why people want oodles. Talk to people with oodles. They will tell you how great their dogs are. It really is that simple. They will tell anyone that will listen how great their dogs are, just like anyone else that loves their dog will.
  15. Cav/poodle crosses are quite popular. I think people do research them. They want a small, family-friendly dog with low-no shedding, cute and cuddly, easy to manage behaviourally, not too active. They hunt around on the net and get recommendations from people that already have one. They are often very happy with their cav mix, so they tell others they have a great dog, and they look for one as well. That's how anything gets popular.