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About DogsAndTheMob

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  1. I’ve learnt from experience that my dogs’ behaviour will deteriorate if I get frustrated, so I work hard to remain calm and focus on keeping my shoulders relaxed, my knees straight, my movements smooth and my breathing even. I have developed an arsenal of tools to resolve problems - body-language cues, changes in pace or direction, distractions, lures and “nose-teases”, and I practice them regularly under a manageable level of distraction. I try to set up my dog for success by choosing challenges I can “win”.
  2. Stop scratching door?

    Could you give him a five minute time-out in a crate or pen placed in a quiet, shady corner of the yard whenever he bangs on the door? This might teach him that that the behaviour will no longer bring the expected reward.
  3. I believe the use of prong collars and e-collars reflects bad training methods or poor temperament. I have been training dogs - including German Shepherds - and competing successfully in obedience for over 40 years, without ever using either. My parents were German Shepherd breeders and highly successful obedience trainers; one of my mother’s German shepherds gained his obedience champion title at two years and one week old. They would have been disgusted by the current fashion of using prong collars and e-collars.
  4. What sort of dog should i get?

    Dalmations, pointers and German shorthaired pointers may be worth considering. With GSDs - or any breed - you’ll need to consider the suitability of bloodlines, in terms of conformation, health (hip and elbow scores) and temperament. Running with a reactive dog would not be much fun! if you get a puppy, you’ll need to wait a year or two before you can take it running.
  5. Wild dogs and dingos

    I’ve read some old newspaper articles about particularly troublesome wild dogs. One appeared to be mostly husky, and another one looked like a border-collie cross. However, that’s just a couple of examples, and most wild dogs don’t look like any particular breed. Herding and hunting breeds that are more likely to be worked in the bush, and high energy breeds that are frequently exercised near the bush would be at greater risk of getting lost in the bush. I suspect many of those die a lonely, miserable death, poor things. Chance may be a big factor determining which ones survive long enough to add to the feral gene pool.
  6. Wild dogs and dingos

    Thanks for posting this. They’re amazingly healthy-looking, although the rescued puppy looks like the runt of the litter (or possibly a different litter or different sire). He looks as if he might have prick ears as an adult dog. I wonder if the puppies all have the same sire and if the sire(s) are dogs from the feral group or domestic dogs.
  7. Amstaff x mastiff Puppy issues

    What a lovely puppy! Don’t compare what he eats with your previous dog - every dog is unique. I have one border collie who stays fat on the amount of food my miniature poodle used to eat, and another border collie who eats more than my German shepherds did, and still stays a bit too lean. Feel his condition as you pat him; you should be able to feel his ribs, but he should have a thin layer of fat over them, and over his chest and hip bones. It’s difficult to judge from the photo, but to my eye he looks too thin. His chest is concave, which might be because he’s entering the adolescent lanky stage, but you can also see the definition of the bones and sinews in his hind legs, and you should never see that, because it hints that he’s not getting enough food for proper muscular development. If he was my puppy, I’d add another meal before bed. Do take care to protect his joints by not over-exercising him; the consequences could be expensive for you as well as painful for him.
  8. Terrible trouble teaching 'fetch'

    I teach my puppies to retrieve from 8 weeks, using a soft toy or rolled sock and teaching it as a game. Some puppies will happily bring the toy to me, but most are disinclined to share, so I train in a corridor or corner where I can reach the puppy. Each puppy is different, so I pay attention to what the puppy likes. Some puppies like tug games after they retrieve, but others don’t. Some puppies like to be stroked on the head as a reward for retrieving, but others react as if you’re stealing the toy. If you rush to take the toy away, some puppies will think they’re not allowed to pick up the toy. I’ve found that many puppies switch off from retrieving between four and eight months. I’m not sure whether this is a consequence of the adolescent “don’t-wanna-not-gonna” mindset, or because teething makes their mouths sensitive, but they do tend to become keen retrievers again as they mature. Food can be a tricky reward in retrieving training, because dogs will spit out the toy/ball/dumbbell to get the food, so I prefer to use play and harness the chasing instinct. However, my current dog switched off retrieving at around six months and she does not have a strong chasing instinct so I used a clicker and food to re-train her. The never-say-never-greyhounds blogspot has a nice set of videos on teaching a reluctant dog to retrieve. http://neversaynevergreyhounds.blogspot.com.au/2010/12/totally-fetching-part-1.html
  9. What Not To Do - dogs off-leash , ABC news story

    Thanks for the link, Persephone. The video at the end is well worth watching - a cautionary tale for all dog owners.
  10. How Do You know If The Time Is Right For Another Dog?

    It’s so hard to know. A younger dog around the house might even help to calm Tempeh. Years ago we had a very social border collie and an introverted German shepherd. The German shepherd was becoming paralysed and we were worried that the border collie might fret when she was gone. So we got a puppy, accepting that we might need to keep her separated from the German shepherd. Contrary to expectations, the border collie hated the puppy but the German shepherd loved her and treated her like an apprentice. We even came out one day to find the German shepherd propped up against the clothes hoist as she showed the puppy how to dig holes. The question to consider is whrether you have a fall-back plan in case it’s not smooth sailing.
  11. Labrador Retreiver breeder recomendations

    Have you looked at the Dogzonline Labrador Retriever breeders page? https://www.dogzonline.com.au/breeds/puppies/labrador-retriever.asp?state=NSW There are several breeders in NSW with current and future litters. I clicked on the links to a few of their websites, and I am impressed by some of the breeding programs, particularly with respect to improving hip structure. Remember, efforts to improve bloodlines - by importing breeding stock, for example - are expensive. I’d be prepared to pay extra for a puppy from a breeder who provided evidence of good hip and elbow scores in dogs from previous litters (as at least one Breeder does), because this might save on vet bills (and grief) later.
  12. Going after chickens

    Incidentally, I trained for and competed in herding with my last border collie; he attained his Herding Started A and Herding Started B titles with no disqualifications and was two points off high-in-trial in his first Herding Started B competition. I lost him to snake-bite when I was training him for the higher levels of competition. Based on my experience and observations, if you can get close enough during Herding training to apply aversives, then either you’re a very, VERY fast runner or your dog does not have much natural balance. (For people who are not Herding competitors, balance refers to the sheepdog’s instinct to place himself on the opposite side off the stock from the handler. This instinct, combined with the instinct to stop the movement of the stock, determines the talented sheepdog’s position - usually well away from the handler.) Also, I’ve never heard farmers refer to nipping sheep as a good thing; a strong sheepdog uses eye to stop the sheep. l’ve also never seen a farmer use pool noodles in training. Australian farmers usually start their youngsters on a large mob, steadied by an older dog. Faced with a large, slow moving mob, sheepdog pups are less likely to become over excited. I don’t think every talented sheepdog is well-suited to three sheep competition. My current border collie is talented; when he was thee months old, I took him out while my older border collie and I brought in the goats. I lost my grip on him and he raced out to place himself at the head of the mob, stopping them in their tracks. When Herding instructors saw him working, they were impressed by his ability. But he lacks a natural bubble - the instinct to stay wide from livestock. Although he would be a good dog for working with a large mob, he is not calm enough for three-sheep work. A harsh trainer might be able to suppress his instincts enough to force him into a calmer style of work, but that’s not the sort of trainer I want to be.
  13. Going after chickens

    I don’t know how he/she uses the longline, but I use the longline as a control, not as an aversive, by attaching it to a harness and applying gentle pressure as the dog moves away from me. I can control the dog’s pace to teach the command “steady”, and I intermittently call the dog back to me (and food rewards), without applying pressure on the long-line. Off-lead recalls from free-running are practised in a smaller area (up to a two acre paddock). i am now at the stage with my 14 month old Brittany where I can let her run free in larger acreages and call her off a rabbit warren or away from the trail of a rabbit. I would not attempt to call her back from chasing a rabbit in full flight, at least at this stage in her training. (Note: I try to avoid this by leashing her if there are rabbits out, but on rare occasions a rabbit has startled from under-foot.) I can also keep her within the zone of greatest control by using the command “steady”, when I don’t want her to free run. Here is an excellent article written by a professional gundog trainer and hunter. He doesn’t talk about the quadrants - his approach is more experienced-based than theoretical, I think, but his training methods are not aversive. Instead, they are positive and focused on developing a hunter-and-dog team. https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/thebrittanyforum/recall-t3699.html
  14. Tell me about Cancer

    I’m not a vet or a doctor, but I actually wouldn’t be as pessimistic as some posters. The fact that she has had the tumour for 18 months without significant symptoms suggests that it is not a horribly aggressive cancer. Doctors sometimes opt to simply manage slow-growing tumours in their human patients, because they can live with the cancer for the rest of their natural life span. My husky had a tumour removed from the back of her palate when she was about nine years old. She lived for another three years without symptoms - a happy, lively dog. Her final decline may have been due to the cancer but I’m not sure because the initial collapse was misdiagnosed by the vet, who told me she had pulled a muscle in her leg. (I was adamant that that wasn’t the case, but the vet wouldn’t listen.) When she became comatose five days later, we opted for euthanasia. A lot of the health issues you describe are those I have seen in my older dogs. In my experience, old dogs tend to look thin in the hindquarters because they lose muscle tone in old age. It’s called sarcopenia and it’s caused partially by reduced activity and partially by an natural die-off in the nerves sending messages to the muscle fibres. Obviously, 17 is a very old dog, but small dogs do occasionally live into their twenties . If she’s alert and happy, then your vet should be able to help you to make her comfortable and pain-free, and give her a good quality of life. Once that’s not possible, it will be time for euthanasia. Good luck, and all my best wishes.
  15. http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/item/9cd86293-ad16-4319-af2b-e1662ec73112 ‘Real life rescue dogs sorted into the four Hogwarts houses, with an important Potter-worthy message to boot.”