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    Labradors, dog behaviour, health, genetics

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  1. Silly article More dogs = more attacks Should be normalized by population.
  2. The ultimate prevention is engaged citizens who make problems know to elected officials and vote out officials who don't listen. Online winges don't fix problems.
  3. As an oldie, I think of littermate syndrome as a recently invented worry fad, seldom mentioned before the internet became popular. Personally I wouldn't worry about it. Sure, with any two intact males, especially in a feisty breed, you have to be alert to conflict, and prepared to head it off at earliest sign. I'm not convinced that separating them before adolescence is helpful.
  4. I've dealt with epilepsy a few times, both as a dog owner and caring for dogs in a boarding kennel. All I can say is it's highly variable. I've seen dogs get better or lead a normal, but medicated, life, and I've seen dogs get worse and go down. I presume the vet did various tests and nothing conclusive showed up, so it became idiopathic epilepsy. Mood change doesn't sound good. You can try specialists and go for further testing, eg, to rule out brain tumors... expensive and not highly likely, but possible. Stabbing with miracle cures from the internet probably won't work. Different meds with careful monitoring may be your best hope.
  5. The research justification comes from wanting to understand obesity in humans. Labs seem a good potential model. I don't think they have the full story yet. They found 2/3 of flatcoats have the gene, and I don't associate flatties with obesity...but I've only know a couple of them.
  6. In my experience well over 25% of Labbies are gutsers. I've seen other studies finding the same gene in flatties. My hunch is the ancestral working dogs for Labs, who swam for fish that slipped the hook in the Bay of Fundy (brrr!) needed blubber much as marine mammals do.
  7. Bitches vary in whelping behavior, especially with the first pup. I had one Labbie girl who showed little nesting behavior on the first litter. When the first pup came out she seemed to think she was pooping... went to the place for it. She was terrified of the pup. I eventually got her settled and got the pup sucking. After that she pumped out 8 more with no trouble and was a model mum. A neighbor had a bitch who hated pups and would eat them if she got a chance. Fortunately this is rare. I've never found temperature a good predictor. In short, you can't always read behavior. As others have said, the day of the tie isn't necessarily the day eggs were fertilized, so the day count is not always reliable. If possible find a vet who has reproduction experience. Sometimes an experienced breeder is more help than the vet. Many go through vet school without ever seeing a normal whelping. But if a Cesar is needed, or diagnostic x-rays, yes, the vet is the only option.
  8. A Vicious Dog Attack Upends an Elite Westchester Farm At a farm tied to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, where a meal costs around $400, two dogs killed a poodle and seriously injured its owner. Now the dogs face a possible death sentence. Two large white dogs lay among bushes in a lush green forest behind a small wire fence with a sign that reads: “Guardian dogs on duty please stay back.” Luna and Owyn, the guardian dogs for Stone Barns Center, in a photograph from 2021.Credit...Charlotte Steiner Christopher MaagDaniel E. Slotnik By Christopher Maag and Daniel E. Slotnik April 19, 2024 On a cool, windy day in February, two big white dogs escaped from a well-known nonprofit farm in Westchester County and ended up on a public footpath deep in a New York State park. They encountered a 10-pound miniature poodle on a leash. The larger dogs attacked, killing the poodle and then severely injuring its owner. Acting on the recommendations of state law, a local judge ordered the dogs to be euthanized. The disturbing encounter’s aftermath has been considerable. The farm, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, which is connected to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Pocantico Hills, filed an appeal on Thursday to stay the dogs’ euthanization. A lawyer for the miniature poodle’s owner, Yong Ging Qian, said she was considering a lawsuit against the farm connected to what she said in a hearing in Mount Pleasant Justice Court were her substantial injuries: a mangled hand, several broken ribs, brain hemorrhaging and a mild heart attack. The dogs — Luna, a Great Pyrenees, and Owyn, an Akbash — were guardian dogs, bred and trained to protect livestock. They had escaped on Feb. 6 from the farm in Westchester County, 15 miles north of New York City. The restaurant, where a meal costs in the range of $400 per person, has earned two Michelin stars for its innovations in farm-to-table cuisine as well as a Michelin green star, awarded to restaurants “at the forefront” of sustainable practices. The attack has focused attention on Stone Barns and Blue Hill, as former farm employees, breeders and nearby farmers questioned whether it engaged in practices that created a dangerous situation, an accusation that the farm denies. “That two of our dogs had a first-of-its-kind incident after 20 years does not reflect on the broader safety of our guardian dog and livestock program,” a spokesman for Stone Barns said in an email. “To the contrary, it shows how safe the dogs we put into service are.” How the guardian dogs were able to encounter BaoBao, the poodle, remains in dispute. It seems likely, experts said, that their escape stems from inadequate fencing and the farm’s failure to maintain control of its dogs. According to Bill Costanzo, who leads the livestock guardian dog program at Texas A&M University’s Agrilife Research and Extension Center, livestock guardian dogs naturally roam vast territories. The low fences at Stone Barns aren’t much of a deterrent against that instinct. “It’s a disaster waiting to happen,” Mr. Costanzo said. The Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, a massive and elegant structure behind an open gate, where a dozen or so students stand before a tour begins. The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture was established by David Rockefeller to pioneer new methods in sustainable agriculture.Credit...Calla Kessler/The New York Times Stone Barns Center is a unique farm. It is bounded by the Rockefeller State Park Preserve, more than 1,700 acres of forest and pastures crossed by carriage trails that attract more than 350,000 runners, hikers and dog walkers a year. The center was created in the early 2000s by David Rockefeller to pioneer new methods in sustainable agriculture. It opened in 2004 in partnership with Blue Hill at Stone Barns, where the chef, Dan Barber, hoped to model a sustainable food network that is healthy for farmers, animals, restaurants and diners. “It’s about seasonality, locality and direct relationships with your farmer,” Mr. Barber wrote in his book “The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food.” The farm keeps herds of cattle, sheep and goats. Using mobile electrified fencing, it often rotates livestock among temporary paddocks set up on different pastures to improve the health of the animals and the grasslands, a spokesman for the center said. Just beyond the fencing, the state park is a habitat for coyotes and foxes. Rather than use lethal methods including traps and hunting to protect its livestock, Stone Barns Center uses livestock guard dogs — which can grow to 150 pounds — to scare predators away. But the farm’s fencing was often ineffective at containing the livestock, according to three former employees. Goats and pigs have escaped, they said, and in 2018, a herd of cattle stampeded away from the farm, according to reporting by Eater; one steer was recovered six weeks later, following a search that involved a New York State Police helicopter. The cows, the farm’s spokesman said, were sent to the farm by mistake and were too large for the farm’s fencing to hold. “Any suggestion by The Times that this incident had anything to do with our program or practices would be false,” he wrote in an email. Former employees say livestock escapes were a regular occurrence at the farm. “I used to get calls from the park staff once a week” about farm animals found in the preserve, said Mike Peterson, who worked as Stone Barns’ livestock director from 2018 until 2021. “These assertions are false — it has never been common for our livestock to leave their enclosures, and it is not common now,” a spokesman for the farm said. But according to workers and the farm’s spokesman, the farm’s livestock dogs have been known to slip past the fences. That’s a problem, Mr. Costanzo said. If they escape even once, he and other experts agreed, the dogs will consider the state park part of their territory. “You can’t just have guardian dogs roaming the countryside,” he said. Opinions from outside experts are irrelevant in this situation, the farm’s management said. “An expert could not credibly opine on what led to this incident without having met our dogs, learned their history, walked our pastures and learned the details about how we operate,” the spokesman said in an email. Employees and guardian dog experts described the center’s movable fencing as a primary means of escape. The netting is no taller than three and a half feet. “That is not high enough to keep a livestock guardian dog from just jumping over it,” Mr. Costanzo said. Like many current and former workers at the Stone Barns Center, Mr. Peterson, the former livestock director, grew close to the dogs, calling them “very sweet.” He said his son had played with them when he was a toddler. Late on Thursday afternoon, Stone Barns Center filed an appeal to the judge’s order, which will stay the order to have the dogs put down pending a decision by an appeals court. If a reprieve is granted, several local breeders and farmers offered to take the dogs in. “These are beautiful dogs,” said Georgia Ranney, a farmer near Stone Barns Center who has offered to rehouse the dogs. Euthanizing them would only add to everyone’s grief she said, adding, “They shouldn’t have been running around loose.”
  9. A Vicious Dog Attack Upends an Elite Westchester Farm https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/19/nyregion/dog-attack-blue-hill-stone-barns.html?smid=nytcore-android-share
  10. My dogs love the postie. May be a breed thing. Labs, then springers. They like almost everyone.
  11. On the subject of letting the dog go.... Years back I was walking my Labs on lead and a neighbour's Shitzu X jumped the fence and attacked. I let go so as to avoid getting tangled in leashes. The bloody neighbour called Animal Control ON ME!!!! Others backed me up and I didn't get fined. But Animal Control did say it's illegal to let go, EVEN if attacked. How's that for ridiculous.
  12. APBT is a small subset of pit bull, defined by pedigree. It's confusing. Definitions of pit bull vary depending on where and who you are. If I remember correctly, staffies and many cross breeds are legally considered pit bulls in parts of California. Wisdom Panel claims they can now identify APBTs from DNA. Presumably that means dogs descended from pedigree APBT lineages.
  13. Like others, I've had much dog exposure with few injuries. I got bitten in the face twice: first by an Irish setter when I was 4 and inadequately supervised (probably pulling all that pretty hair), and 60-some years later in kennels by a grumpy old fellow who REALLY didn't want a bath. Neither needed much treatment other than minor bandaging and antibiotics. Not sure the antibiotics were needed. Of course, puppies have pierced my skin more times than I can count, but that's what puppies do.
  14. It depends. I live small town, rural. We have a few off lead walkers, mostly oldies, occasionally puppies. They're not a problem. But it's so uncrowded here that encounters between dog walkers almost never happen, and so small town that problem behaviour would get called out in a hurry. p.s. I don't walk mine off lead in town. We go to the unmanaged local river where off lead is allowed. They chase cats, hedgehogs and possums, which is applauded in the bush (NZ), but not good in town.
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