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Topics - mixedupdog

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Great Dane Pictures / REAL bones!
« on: July 29, 2006, 02:23:37 pm »
I'm lucky enough to have a real butcher shop just a few doors down from where I work. I give them to Earnest frozen solid, by the time it thaws out he's got all the messy stuff picked clean. He knows he's not allowed to have fresh ones anywhere but on his bed or on the rug in my room. His reminder is "too messy". He'll come stand in the door of the living room with one of these hanging out of his mouth, if I say "too messy" he'll heave a big sigh and go back in the bedroom. Sometimes he'll leave the bone and come back out, other times he'll chose the bone over TV with me.

This has got to be the most ridiculous dog park experience yet. Most of you know how much I just LOVE the dog park
The boys haven't gotten out much lately, every now and then I get a stupid attack of guilt and think they need to, which is dumb, because they'd both rather stay home and lay in front of the fan, or romp with each other in the play yard.
So, when I got off work unexpectedly early Monday, I took them to the nice dog park near the reservoir, which is pretty much empty mid-day. They just kind of wandered around, the pointer that doesn't like Earnest was there, but that's fine, I stay on one side of the park, he stays on the other.
This is a BIG open park, we were down toward the back and off to the west, keeping our distance from the pointer. There's a metal bench I make "home base" with my water and collapsible dishes, and my poop bags- I bring extra and fill the receptacles. A lady with a young? (year, maybe a little more) Lab arrived. She didn't have a lead on the dog, and it was being goofy, running back to the car, and then to the lady as she tried to open the gate. She held the first gate open and the dog finally ran in.
Meanwhile, Earnest walks away from the bench where I'm sitting and Phyfe is laying in the shade, and dumps a huge load of Great Dane cow pie. So I grab a bag and head to clean up. Earnest is watching the lady and the new dog, I send him back to down stay by Phfye until I can assess the new arrival. As soon as the woman gets the second gate open her dog takes off like a shot. She is leisurely walking behind, there is no way she will keep up. I'm standing by the pile of poo, but haven't picked it up because I don't want to get caught off guard, I'm watching the pointer as well as keeping an eye on my dogs. I'm thinking Earnest will get a good run out of this, Phyfe really doesn't like to play the kind of games Labs play. This dog runs right up, through the poo with all fours and then LAUNCHES at me, pooey feet all over my shirt. I say "OFF" with a push, and the dog gets down, bounces in the poo some more, and comes up for another jump. I grab him by the elbows on his front legs and overbalance him so he falls, - and yes, sometimes God smiles  he falls right in the POO! About this time the lady finally catches up, and the dog runs to her, she puts her hand down and rubs it along the dog to see if it's hurt, and gets ....(you see it coming, don't you?) a big smear on her hand. By now I'm cracking up, and I don't care about poo on me (after all it's an occupational hazard) and it's WORTH IT to see this. The lady starts yelling, Phyfe starts barking, and Earnest is up with his tail wagging, just waiting to "break" and join in the fun. So far the lady hasn't said anything, because she was catching her breath from chasing the dog. I say "please hold your dog while I get mine, so this doesn't get worse" and I'm still laughing. She starts something about "hurting her dog and it's only a puppy and doesn't understand, and has a problem with jumping and" ....... but she's hanging on for dear life, so I go leash up the boys and head out - on the way I meet the Pointer and his owner, and HE'S cracking up, too (I like this man, our dogs just don't get along so well) so he says "bye" through a fit of giggles, I hang back so he can get out, then I go out. I load the boys in the back of the car, then am walking around to unlock the front when the goofy dog comes running up again-in the parking lot- the lady hasn't finished with me. Phyfe goes nuts because he's territorial, he noisily protects the car. Earnest starts his annoying high pitched want to play bark because it's a Lab, and they're fun. The lady again wants to argue about me "manhandling" (isn't it "doghandling?") her dog, then make nasty remarks about "aggressive" dogs not belonging. The Pointer guy pulls alongside in his SUV and says "I saw the whole thing- if it was me you'd be paying for a new shirt- I suggest you take your dog to obedience school before you come back here." This gives me time to hop in the car and go. NO MORE stupid park for us, I've been too lazy- it's back to hiking the off lead, no bicycle trails- I need the excersize anyway. Of course, I might go again... if I need a good story!
______________ ____

Don't know whose dog or baby this is, somebody is sending it around in an e-mail.

General Board for Big Dogs with Big Paws / PLEASE HELP US HELP THEM
« on: May 04, 2006, 04:58:37 am »
Hi everyone!

My son Levi and I are participating this Saturday in the Furry Scurry, a fundraiser to help the Denver Dumb Friends League. The DDFL runs a shelter, helps with rescue, has spay and neuter clinics, low cost microchips, and does humane education. They are a wonderful organization that truly makes a difference.
We will walk around Washington Park in downtown Denver. This year we are walking with a group of our Labrador Retriever friends as part of their corporate team.
Please help us show them that Big Paws have Big Hearts, too!
Here's a link to Levi's personal donation page.

I wrote this out to educate some friends elsewhere, thought it might be of interest here, it's an overview (by no means covering all the bases) of how I trained Earnest to be ready for the dog park and other group off lead situations.

At first it was a matter of teaching him to focus on me by having him sit anytime I saw him “alert” (ears up, intense stare, squared off stance) preferably BEFORE his butt got started wagging. I’d hold a treat enclosed in my fist, and wave it under his nose whenever he got distracted. He’d get the treat when the other dog was out of his “excitement zone” (far enough away he wasn’t interested). That went for roller bladers, babies in strollers, skateboarders, squealing children etc. It made him look to me anytime ANYTHING exciting happened. Including his first deer jumping out of the bushes. Timing is the key, if you redirect when the dog's attention first goes to a distraction, you can build in the habit of "look at mom" before things get exciting enough for them to forget.
Once I got him able to pay attention around other dogs passing (like in the on-leash parks), I took him to the dog park and stayed ON LEAD outside the fence. Worked at a distance keeping his attention, then closer, until he could visit through the fence without being an idiot. (he's half Lab, when he was young he got VERY excited). We also worked on recall on the flexi lead in the on leash park, then back to outside the fence at the dog park. I let him visit through the fence at a distance, then called him back, with the flexi to enforce it. Of course, treats and praise when he complied. Once I didn’t have to enforce it, we went inside.
Some dogs are fence aggressive, things can get nasty at the fence. That’s ok, too, you can see how your dog reacts and train accordingly, so you are ALWAYS in control. Earnest knows to head back to me immediately if another dog gets argumentative. A fearful dog might need to learn confidence, so it doesn't get bullied, etc...

We did NOT do "socialization" at the dog park, when he was really little we visited other friend's dogs, if I hadn't had them I probably would have gone to puppy class.

I'm really arguing with a friend. I maintain that you shouldn't bring your dog to the dog park until you are reasonably sure that you have a solid recall. No dog is 100%, but I maintain that the dog park is not the place to take a dog who doesn't listen when excited in order to "practice". Obedience class or outside the fence is the place for that. I contend that it's dangerous not to be able to call your dog out of a potentially volatile situation.
My friend maintains that her dog is better off learning to be polite with other dogs FROM other dogs, so when her dog gets nipped or chased for being a pesty puppy, it's ok. She says that expecting recall at the dog park is "unrealistic" dogs will be dogs, and should be able to "let go."  She also thinks that bringing treats to the dog park is a necessary bribe, and it's ok to bring training treats into the park.
Am I just nuts? Are my years as an Animal Control Officer, where I saw thousands of fights and injuries making me "paranoid" like my friend says?

Groans, Gripes, Brags & Boasts / I'm so frustrated!
« on: May 01, 2006, 11:32:49 am »
This is a post from the Lab board I belong to. Now don't get a bad impression from them just from this post. It's a very busy board with something like 3,000 members, so there's all different kinds of people and opinions. Most of them are terriffic people. Even this person is nice, just misinformed. This just happens to be one of the breed-predjudiced people who have very set ideas about certain breeds of dogs, and will not be persuaded otherwise. All Great Danes are sweet, most other Giants are mean. Especially Mastiffs. 
A friend of mine has a black lab, Shelby. She has had her since she was a puppy. She is five years old. She was an only dog until a dirty, big homeless dog followed her hubby home one day. The best we can tell he is a Rottie, German Shep mix - they named him Charlie. He has fit right in his new family. He is a true lover.
When I first met Shelby she acted down right EVIL. Growling and barking at me (certainly not a greeting like my dear lab gives). Charlie on the other hand was a lover. I can't even fathom a growl coming from his mouth.

WELL, last night my friend's DH took the dogs out on a walk. It was pouring the rain. DH didn't put the dogs on a leash. Well, they walked up by the neighbors house (on the sidewalk) and out runs TWO Mastiffs! Shelby (the lab) goes RUNNING in fear. Big Charlie jumped right in front of his Daddy, hair standing up, teeth gnarling to protect him. It is a good thing too. One of the Mastiff's lunged and got Charlie in the neck. The other was trying to get in on it. Finally the owners came out and tried to pull the Mastiff off, but not before another bite wound in Charlie's side. The owners thought it would be safe, "we didn't think anyone would be out". Can you imagine if it had been a CHILD?
Luckily, Charlie is okay, a little sore, but OKAY.
It is so funny because they always thought Shelby would be the one to protect them, if a situation ever arose. Our dogs can surprise us.
Needless to say, Charlie is getting extra treats and extra hugs and kisses now. LOL!

Now the way I read it, this guy came up to these dogs yard, with his dogs unleashed, in the dark, in the pouring rain, and when the Mastiffs tried to warn them away from their yard, his dog challenged them.
How were those dogs (the mastiffs) supposed to read that situation?

General Board for Big Dogs with Big Paws / Weird dogs!
« on: December 18, 2005, 11:41:09 pm »
I am very interested in dog behavior, I am lucky enough to work at a kennel, I walk the dogs during the week and run the playgroups on weekends.  Most of the interaction is pretty predictable, it's after I come home that things get weird.
Phyfe and Earnest are both almost 3, Earnest was neutered really young, Phyfe around a year.  Earnest has his own odd kind of alpha stuff, he won't fight, but he postures, pushes, and occasionally humps to get his point across. Phyfe was raised with horses, and really doesn't understand dogs.  They're ok with each other, Earnest acts like he's the boss, Phyfe will let him mouth him all over, and shove him like a football player on defense, but if he does something too annoying Phyfe backs up and gives him one of his sonic boom barks, and Earnest backs off.  Earnest will play bow and run around, Phyfe might run a bit, but he doesn't know "tag" or "gotcha last" at the dog park he'd rather get humans to pet him.
They got a tug toy for an early Christmas present, I thought they'd love it. Earnest's best friend,  (no, Phyfe is not his best friend, Phyfe is the BOY'S best friend) Calvin,( a BIG yellow lab)  plays tug with Earnest for hours whenever we see him.  Well, we finally got both Phyfe and Earnest clamped on to either end of the toy, they started pulling. I thought finally they'd have something to do together. Earnest started play growling, to him that's a big part of that game. Phyfe dropped his end, barked, and went downstairs to Levi's room with a squeaky thing- which he proceeded to de-squeak.
Earnest doesn't go down there, he stood at the top of the stairs waving the toy forlornly, then dropped it in the hall and got his Gallileo Bone. Now nobody wants to play tug, not even with people. That toy has become "no man's land" and neither one will touch it.
Silly dogs!

Holiday Things / Cool gift idea
« on: December 07, 2005, 07:09:12 pm »
A friend on another board sent me this link :

Or get a phone call from an official agency that they found your dog?
If they ended up in "jail" how long were they in the facility compared to how long they were lost?


This dog is really, really special. He's staying temporarily at the kennel where I work, I walk him everyday.  He's well mannered, and really smart.  No good with cats, which is why his foster mom is boarding him with us. There's some confusion as to whether or not he's dog aggressive, as far as we can tell he's not, unless the other dog challenges him first, and then Cody says "well bring it on!".  At the foster mom's he was with 5 other "bully-type" dogs and did fine, it was the cats, not the other dogs, that were a problem.

So far most of the people who are interested in him are newbies, they love the way he smiles and wags all over, but the rescue would really rather place him in an experienced dog home where he can get the love and understanding a big, strong guy needs to stay out of trouble.

General Board for Big Dogs with Big Paws / Fire Drill!
« on: September 02, 2005, 05:56:02 pm »
Our smoke alarm in the hall goes off if you take a shower and forget to close the bathroom door afterward- so the steam doesn't come out of the bathroom.  Well, the first time it happened Earnest got excited and kept running to me so I yelled "fire drill" and sent him to the back door.  He caught on right away, now I let the alarm go off on purpose once a week or so, and at the first beep he's down by the back door.
He also goes if I yell "fire drill" even if the alarm's not going off.
Phyfe stays in the basement bedroom with my son, he stands at the door at the top of the steps (which is right next to where Earnest is) and barks. 
I figure ALL our kids, fur and skin, should know what to do just in case.

General Board for Big Dogs with Big Paws / Prong collars
« on: August 31, 2005, 05:55:21 pm »
Ok, here's another one of my "compare the attitude" questions.
How many of you use a prong collar? Plastic or metal? How many think it's an awful device and wouldn't think of it?  If you use it, is it all the time, just for exciting places, or just for training and you'll use something else later? What about Gentle Leaders or Haltis, and if you use one because it's more "humane" does your dog get happy when they see it or do they try to get away? Will you always use it?
Anybody use any other "devices"?

Mixed Breed Discussion / Guarding?
« on: August 23, 2005, 10:17:13 pm »
Ok, here's the deal. Because Earnest is half Lab, I participate on a Lab board and have a lot of friends with Labradors.  They have certain viewpoints on behavior that don't always match mine, but I'm beginning to think it's the difference in breeds that causes the varying ideas.  I'd like to compare their view with the "big dog people".

Here's the scenario, on our camping trip a few weeks ago, it started to rain and we decided to pack up. As we were packing a family came and decided to wait for us so they could have our site.  Both dogs were staked out near the picnic table, and I was loading stuff into bags and packs to be taken to the car. The Dad (a friendly stranger) offered to help us bring things to the car. When I agreed, he first took the two tents, which I handed to him. When he came back he reached for MY big backpack, which contained all the cooking stuff and first aid stuff, as well as my personal stuff and extra boots.
Phyfe, who is Mastiff and St. Bernard, jumped up from where he was laying, gave the guy a big "WOOF" and a throaty growl (no teeth).
When I said "It's ok, I told him he could carry it" Phyfe backed down, but kept an eye on the guy and what he was carrying from then on.

Here's the question- was Phyfe being a bad, aggressive, alpha dog or a good, protective watchdog doing his job?

I've had Great Danes or big mixed breeds all my adult life, most of them had their own twin bed, or an equivalent piece of "people" furniture, like a couch or a futon.  Earnest has his own twin bed (next to mine), and Phyfe has a twin size futon in my son's room. 
One of my first Danes was my mom's "grand dog" and Lady had a twin bed in the guest room at her granma's  house.  She also had a spot on the couch in front of the TV, sitting politely of course.

The other day a friend came over and noticed the bed (with Scooby-Doo sheets-LOL) and asked if my son was sleeping in my room. When I told her it was Earnest's bed and pulled a huge beef bone out of the covers, she was not amused. Now she thinks I'm crazy.

I find a people bed more convienient than a big dog bed. I have several sets of thrift store sheets and two comforters. They're easy to wash- a lot easier than all those odd-shaped mattresses, the dog's joints have plenty of support, and they're up off the floor out of drafts. The dogs themselves stay cleaner, too. 

Is my friend right? Am I nuts?

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