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Everything posted by corvus

  1. FWIW, the way I handle these kinds of things is to basically train the dog to be responsive around the object of obsession, which is simple in principle but a little tricky in practice. Basically, we set the dog up to succeed. Train disengagement from a non-ball toy, train impulse control around non-ball toy, move to a ball-like toy, incorporate games of getting the ball on cue and giving it up on cue so there is a lot of structure and control around the activity, start again with a ball but no the preferred type. Start again with a ball but not the favourite type. Start again with the favourite ball. Start again with other dogs and balls.
  2. My dogs have raincoats because I'm not a huge fan of a house full of wet and smelly dogs. Some dogs can be easily unsettled by "clothes". I have two such dogs, and both of them tolerate the raincoats, but sometimes it's a matter of getting the right design. Some are more restrictive than others. I would opt for least restrictive, most quiet, and lightest. How you prioritise those features depends on your dog.
  3. The couriers don't want to take chances with dogs they don't know, and they shouldn't have to. It's dangerous. Lots of dogs would bite a courier if they got the chance. We moved into a place with an enclosed balcony as an entrance, and I love it and the couriers love it. We put a bell on the outer door so they don't need to come in and the balcony acts as an airlock. Most of the time, packages are quietly left on the balcony and the dogs never even know. The dogs stay inside and if they happened to get out as I came out, the courier is safe behind a second door. We don't have any of the problems of missed packages we had at our old place where the dogs had access to the front door where the courier would knock. I always put my dogs behind a baby gate before I answered the door when we lived there, but the couriers don't know that. If they have had some bad experiences (and they most likely have), they can become very risk averse and who would blame them. Be kind to your couriers and provide a dog-free zone where they can leave packages or clang a gong to alert you or something. It's not on them to solve this problem for you. You solve the problem for them.
  4. There are nuances to this, though. For my pod, a field with swallows to chase is not the same as a mountain bike on a single track in the bush all of a sudden, or finding herself on top of a startled possum, or bouncing around in the bush and flushing something. She's also influenced in her choices by potential payoff and a risk assessment. Chasing a cat is a tiny payoff for her next to chasing a rabbit, and the possibility of finding a sandwich on the ground near a clubhouse or in a school playground is extremely alluring. I know she will go check out playgrounds if she were given the opportunity. She will come right back, but she's gonna check it, even if she has to run 200m away to go and check it. That distance is certainly enough to introduce enough conflict with my spitz dogs that they won't go, and a lot of people say their whippets wouldn't venture that far from them. Some of this kind of thing is much easier to manage and train for than others. I can manage access to clubhouses and playgrounds pretty easily, and training for recall from swallows was challenging, but doable. Recalling off animals running away from her in the bush is a completely different scenario. I think if she were as keen to chase wallabies as she had been to chase swallows, I wouldn't be able to call her off wallabies, but I can call her off swallows. The difference is in training opportunities and environment and the behaviour of the chase objects.
  5. My dog at least is least reliable when she's either startled or right on top of the object of the chase. If she's startled, she tends to just dive in there without thinking, but I can still recall her if by the time I pull my whistle out, she's still at least 5m from the object. If she's already on top of them by then, her recall reliability drops a fair bit and my fingers are crossed. At that point, it matters a lot what she is chasing. A wallaby she will leave, but if it were more her size, it would be a different story. I've always felt there's a lot to be said for having slow dogs to make recalling off fast-moving objects easier.
  6. I have met some fun, sweet Lagotti and some Lagotti that are anxious/fearful and will bite readily. I understand grooming can be particularly challenging with this breed's temperament. Some groomers have asserted to me that they've never met a Lagotto that wasn't aggressive during grooming, even if it was sweet and easy going any other time. The nice ones I've met have been really fun dogs that are great to train and pleasantly sociable. I wouldn't get one myself just because I'm ultra risk averse these days when it comes to temperament and I think too many for my comfort are being reported as problematic, but I've been tempted.
  7. I have become intensely curious about hound recalls. Especially sighthound recalls. I have been asking on breed-specific groups, so maybe I should ask here as well. To provide context for my intense curiosity all of a sudden, my 5yo Portuguese podengo pequeno trail runs with me off leash. This was not an easy achievement training-wise, and I can easily see why it's not recommended that this breed be let off leash in unfenced areas. However, on the weekend my very excited, chase-prone dog was belting up the side of a rock outcrop, barking for medio backup (as if it ever comes), which she does when she can smell or see a wallaby nearby. I called her casually, she broke off the chase straight away, and ran back down the outcrop to join me. This is not unusual for her on a trail run where she knows I may not wait for her. It has been my belief for years that this kind of recall has been possible with her because 1) She's a multi-sensory hound bred for rough terrain, so she always knows where she is and she always knows where I am and she hears my recalls. 2) She is not a super persistent hound. 3) She is small and mighty, but ultimately the terrain takes a lot of energy for her and she's not that fast, so she will get tired/lose the object of pursuit fairly quickly. Nonetheless, it occurs to me that she is committed to running WITH me to the exclusion of all else, and really, wouldn't we want a hunting dog to not be prone to getting lost? Thus began my efforts to understand what makes recalls on a chase-prone dog possible. If my podengo were bigger and faster - like a whippet or Pharaoh hound - would she be more of a liability off leash? How does her persistence really compare to that of other hunting dogs that haven't been bred for hunting for generations? At the end of the day, we really did work HARD on that recall, and I don't think I would have been so successful 10 years ago when I wasn't as experienced a trainer. Might it be that what we have achieved with her really is replicable with other breeds that are faster or more persistent? What are your thoughts on hound recalls and what is realistic in naturalistic environments where there will be prey animals?
  8. Check out Bergamasco if you don't mind a sensory wonderland for a coat. Otherwise, don't forget Basset Fauve de Bretagne as well. The dwarf scent hounds are usually sociable and easy going, but can be a little like "Shh, I'm busy right now." if something else has their attention. I think comparable to a Beagle but more neutral evil than chaotic evil. I second Lowchen. Not sure about TTs, I've only met one that was a bit on the bouncy side. We have American Hairless Terriers now, which might be worth looking at.
  9. Here's my current trail running pal. She is very well suited to it. Lives for it and starts screaming when she sees me putting on running clothes, can run in any temperature I can run in, can have a little off leash time and will keep pace, and small enough to lift over fences or carry down a big drop, although she is so light on her feet she rarely needs help. She is not a suburban-friendly dog, though. She is too alert and she doesn't like people or dogs coming at her. She likes people and dogs, but needs to be the one to initiate contact. Fair enough, but unfortunately that is not the world we live in.
  10. I have considered a Brittany, but a little worried they might be too active. Same with spaniels I guess. Some people say spaniels have an off switch and some people say they don't. I think that it probably depends on what you are used to living with. All of my dogs are settled in the house, but one of them is a breathing rug, one wanders around at times, and one is usually snoozing unless there are flies to chase and then there are wall jumps and perching on windowsills and leaping off furniture and so on. We have a big house so I'm not bothered as long as I don't have to actively entertain them or constantly redirect them to appropriate activities. I had a few years of that at one stage and I'm not sure how we survived it.
  11. Ugh. I just want a good bet. I don't want to do hours and hours and hours of investigatory work trying to find a breeder that has unusually stable and friendly dogs.
  12. A lapphund coat is several orders of magnitude more outrageous than a Golden coat, but aside from that, my Lappie has always been pretty low energy. He's not really breed typical.
  13. It seems a bit of a crapshoot for dog-friendly/non-reactive, though. I've met a few and they have all been fairly typical herding dogs with other dogs. They don't want them in their face or getting in their way, but will otherwise tolerate them. I worked with an incredible koolie mix I adored who was very resilient and easy to work with, but if a dog seriously encroached on him, he would go to town on it. Nothing wrong with him at all, but hard to manage in inner city where random dogs will run up and say hi.
  14. Well, potentially. All my trail runs cross creeks or hit the river at some point, and it's not likely to be a pain for me to plan routes that will offer chances to cool off. It bums me, though. I want a suburban friendly sociable dog that likes other dogs and is good and resilient. I just also want it to be capable of going for a long run with me. It doesn't seem like a lot to ask. I have almost accepted it might have to be a GSP or Vizsla, but I actually don't think I am THAT active. I'm not out running everyday or anything! I am also leery of getting a breed that will race off ahead and cover a lot of ground. I like to have them close where I know what they are doing and can call them off easily. My podengo covers more ground than I am comfortable with at times, which means she gets less off leash time. I have managed to convince her to come check-in regularly, but I don't want anything that will habitually range far and wide. What about spaniels?
  15. Really? It's just a trot. Dogs are built to trot for extended periods. My current running companion is a 5kg powerhouse that never seems to tire. She has a very short, single coat and she's little, so she seems to handle exercise in any temperature. The Lappie can't do it because his coat is too heavy, and he's never been one to trot more than about 30 minutes at once. The vallhund can't do it because his trot is too slow. I wouldn't expect it of any dog that has extreme morphology (large and heavy, short, brachy, etc.) but most moderate dog breeds can surely manage to trot for a couple of hours?
  16. I am wondering if anyone does extensive exercise with their Golden and how they cope with that in warm temperatures? Those I've met have flaked out after about 30 minutes of exercise and I wouldn't have them out in warm temperatures doing anything strenuous for long, but they have been pet dogs with a lot of coat and not a lot of physical conditioning. I'd love to know if anyone can speak to their suitability for, say, a 2-hour slow run. Likewise for Labs. I have so far found Labs to be intolerant of heat, but my sample is mostly larger dogs, even if they are not overweight.
  17. You can win this mind game with start button behaviours. Just shift them to places he thinks mean will predict no more work. E.g. "I only train dogs that are in a quiet down on that mat. Great! Now let me send you to other mats before and during real training. Great! Now let me send you to the car and then back to the mat for more training." As long as you avoid letting the places predict things other than work, he will stop caring about them. I would expect once you're on top of it, he will forget about it and you won't have a problem again. And if you do, then just go back to a little remedial work. Start button behaviours are handy for dogs that have learned ways to be demanding. If they know a behaviour that starts training, they abandon all the other less effective ways they know.
  18. I have found this a distressingly common pattern in GSDs. I have worked with some that do the same thing to people and dogs and to pretty much anything else they are not 100% comfortable with. Most of them are more display than serious about biting, but I'm not remotely interested in knowing where their limits are. I've seen some that were made considerably more dangerous just from one training session with a trainer that punishes it. They are trying to buy space. If they don't get it, they often escalate. I have had success just drilling alternative coping strategies into them with a lot of repetitions, but they tend to remain a dog you have to be on the ball with, and some of them do better on medication. In these cases, medication acts to basically knock the top off their arousal so they are less easy to trigger and their reactions are smaller. Makes management and training a lot easier. I swear, I do not understand why people get these dogs. A good GSD is a rewarding and very fun dog to work with and their loyalty is amazing, but I just see so few good GSDs!
  19. Well, I don't think they are especially different compared to other head collars. Only reason I ever use a head collar is if a dog can still pull someone a few steps with a front attach harness on. FA harnesses are well tolerated by the vast majority of dogs if they are well fitted. I've worked with a few dogs that react in big ways and for safety reasons we need to use something stronger. For these dogs, I use a front attach harness/head collar combo. The leash on the head collar remains loose. If the dog reacts and something more than the harness is needed, you grab the head collar leash and bring them around. Takes some conditioning to get them to respond the way you want them to to pressure on the head collar, but IME for most dogs only a few sessions. The conditioning is important. They have to know how to escape the pressure on the head collar or they will fight it or just be miserable. Some dogs seem to find them very upsetting, but I don't think it is common.
  20. I have a podengo, which is a hound rather than a gundog, but I suspect more of a flushing dog than a hunting dog. Mine comes on trail runs with me. She is pretty good off leash. Phenomenal sense of direction. I don't really worry much anymore that she is going to get lost. More that she will end up on the road while adventuring. She doesn't range far, though. She is small (5kg), extremely personable, and a pleasant house companion. Full of personality and Opinions, very cuddly and charming. She invents games and they are funny and engaging. They are known as a very cheerful breed, and her tail wags probably about 80% of the time she's awake. She doesn't need to get out every day, but she will run 15km with me. She bounces around in the bush and looks for animals. She doesn't have a lot of persistence with it unless it's rabbits. She is fascinated with echidnas and keeps finding them for us. Blessedly, she just stands there and barks at them. She has a great nose and she's surprisingly trainable. Otherwise, Field Spaniels as people have suggested. I would look at Murray River Retrievers. My brother has one who is quite lovely. The gene pool is very small, though. Some breeders are health testing.
  21. You know, some people don't want an ANKC registered dog, and that is okay. They are not wrong just because they don't make the same choices as you do. They are not necessarily uneducated just because they bought a dog you would never buy. A little tolerance goes a long way. I train oodles all the time. I do behaviour consults for oodles. By and large, it's obvious to me why they are so popular. Purebreed fanciers always start with the premise that there is a problem with them and how can we tell people what those problems are. Well, if there was an overall problem with them, they would not be half as popular as they are. They are here to stay. Get used to it. My podengo is glad, at least. She is totally discriminatory about oodles. SHE LIKES THEM. They are usually polite with her, so she is more comfortable approaching them than other dogs. All kennel club recognised breeds were mongrels at some point. Breeds were developed when people decided they wanted some traits from some dog types and some traits from others so they selectively bred them until they had a good bet they could reliably get those traits.
  22. I work at Hanrob. Shoot me a PM if you would like to chat. How you go about pursuing this career depends a bit on what your strengths and weaknesses are and where you are located etc.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
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