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Messages - mixedupdog

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Introduce Yourself to the Forum / Re: New newf in CO
« on: May 15, 2006, 08:43:06 pm »
I'm in Colorado, too- in Lakewood. Are we close enough to get together sometime this summer? Send me a PM if it sounds good.
That pup is absolutely beautiful!

General Board for Big Dogs with Big Paws / Re: Snake pics...
« on: May 15, 2006, 10:51:48 am »
I had a big python when I lived in Florida, we fed him a big rabbit (retired breeders from a meat farm) once a week or so. Every now and then we'd have someone who was interested enough to come watch the snake eat, it was kind of rewarding to help educate people.  I had carnivorous lizards, too- watching a snake eat is like ballet, watching a lizard is more like a prize fight. 
Great pics!

Actually, on the board where I got the pics people were calling this "child endangerment" because of the 2nd and 3rd pics, they think the dog is "squashing" the baby, and that "those parents are lucky the baby's neck isn't broken"
There were comments like "I'll bet it bites that child before it turns 2".
I think in pic 2 it's more like a play bow, I don't think there's really any weight on the baby. I didn't let my big paws "play" with my baby until he was a little bigger, but by the time he was toddling our Great Dane Stanley was the babysitter, he used to pick my son up by the straps on the back of the boy's overalls, and turn him around to keep him from walking out of the yard.

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

Neither of mine cared at all, but I play all kinds of weird "music" and sound effects all the time- they learned to ignore the coyote howls a long time ago.  That puppy crying really sounded like a pup crying, most dogs would instinctively protect a youngster, that's not really the noise I'm talking about, it's that fear/hurt squealing that seems to trigger the problem. Not really a fair test, your dogs are in the house, not packed up running outside, and there's no actual animal for things like posture, etc. to set them off.
If you read my post again, I tried to say it was an INDIVIDUAL apparently prey driven response that only SOME INDIVIDUAL dogs display, with it POSSIBLY being more prevalent in dogs that were bred to run things down.
I love Danes, they're my breed of choice. I've had quite a few, and rescued/fostered many more. I wasn't trying to trash the breed, I was trying to have a civil, educational discussion about a little known aspect of pack behavior, sorry you took offense- I wasn't implying that anyone's dogs here would react like that.

I discussed this with a few of my trainer/behaviorist friends, and we all agree that yes, it does occur, and that it's related to prey drive- so your friend wasn't wrong, just a little anthropomorphi c, and mistaken to apply it to just Danes, it's an individual high prey drive/pack thing more than anything else. Since that drive has been bred out of a lot of lines it would probably be more accurate to say that breeds bred for hunting by running the prey down MAY be more likely to exhibit this phenomenon.
Oh, and not to be argumentative, but boar DO scream, they're pigs and they squeal like pigs- I've been on boar hunts with pit bulls and that noise certainly makes the dogs "ramp up". 

I've seen this a time or two, but it seems to be more related to prey drive than anything else. Most recently it happened at a get together we had last year, mostly Labs, some Goldens, and my two, a Lab/Dane cross and a Mastiff/St. Bernard cross.  The lady that owned the park where we had the picnic came to see how we were doing with her two Jack Russells, a couple of Labs bowled them over and her female started screaming. Several of the Labs and my Mastiff X ran over and were definitely not "concerned", if no one had been supervising I don't think the JRT would have survived. Some of the dogs ignored it, my dog and a few others got a strange kind of murderous excitement. My Dane X couldn't care less.
Another friend had an old terrier that had seizures, she saw her Dane kill it during a seizure- she couldn't get across the yard in time. The Dane seemed to get very agitated by the terriers unusual behavior- and it was definitely not an accident, her dog grabbed the terrier and shook it like a rabbit.
 I've seen it at the dog park too, again, if no one had been supervising the little dog would have been killed.  But it's not on a breed basis, it's an individual dog thing- I think aggravated by the pack dynamic of a large get-together. Almost like a mob mentality.
I think it may be related to the kind of excitement a pack gets when hunting, the urge to be in on the kill can be very strong in some dogs, and once the prey is wounded, the instinct to compete for the kill may override training/domestication. The screaming turns the little dog from buddy to "injured prey" in the dog's mind. Sort of the way some dogs are fine unless you run, and then the chase instinct takes over and they may pull or knock you down- running triggers an instinctive switch that overrides their normal behavior, some individuals have stronger instinctive drives than others, or in different areas.

Saint Bernard General Discussions / Re: I hate irresponsible owners
« on: May 07, 2006, 11:20:25 am »
Honestly, I wasn't critcizing, I'm glad you saved the dog. I just wanted anyone who reads this and similar threads to do their homework-- like you did-- before taking drastic action.  If the lady who stole Stanley had just called Animal Control she would have found out that I was a former officer involved in rescue, and my son would have been able to grow up with his big friend and protector by his side.

Saint Bernard General Discussions / Re: I hate irresponsible owners
« on: May 06, 2006, 10:48:02 pm »
Please just make sure you know the story first.  I had my son's best friend, Stanley (a black Dane) stolen out of our yard because we had a skin and bones dog aggressive rescue confined in a pen in the back of our yard during the day  (he went in the barn at night)  The rescue couldn't be in the house with Stanley, they tried to kill each other. All we were doing was getting the rescue's medical issues under control so he could move on to someone who could better work on his behavior problems. I was a vet tech, I was considered the best foster while we made him well enough to move on. Well, someone who worked in an office next to our property assumed that we were "abusing" this rescue and that Stanley would suffer the same fate- so she stole Stanley and rehomed him to someone she didn't know. We never found out what happened to him, the story only came to light later, when a co-worker of hers fed the rescue through the fence, "because he was starving" he bloated and died-- all from "kindness". 

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.

Sounds like you and Mowgli are doing great! Congratulation s.

I found that enclosing a treat in my fist works well to teach the dog to "target" on my hand.  I used either Bil Jac liver treats or small pieces of cheese- soft cat food works good, too. 
Give your command with the treat in your fist, the dog focuses on your hand, and you can combine moving the hand in a signal with the verbal command. You open your hand to dispense the treat. This not only helps with dogs that are over eager for the treat, but I can position my dogs in almost any way I want by holding my hand in the "treat fist" (now even if there's nothing in it). The first few times on a new command the reward has to be immediate to get the point across, but once they have the idea I withold the treat for a few beats, until they are ready to accept it calmly. This helps with transitioning off treats later.
For example, if Earnest wants to go around my office chair and lay on the west side of the room and I want him to cross behind me instead of in front of me, I make a fist and say "this way" while moving my hand in the direction I want him to go. Same if I want him to pass in front of me.
When I did his distraction training I even waved the treat enclosed in my fist under his nose, or let him sniff between my thumb and finger- keeping his attention but not letting him have the treat right away- so he got the idea he had to focus to get the treat. I also use it for where he stands, I hold my fist in front of me if I want him to stop facing me, to one side or the other if I want him in the "heel" position (since I have two I've taught them to heel on either side).

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've had people ask me to keep Earnest from playing with their dog, he's gentle, but they're afraid because he's big.
That's ok, but that's why I object to people "training" at the dog park- if their dog doesn't have a reliable recall, how do I keep Earnest away when the dog keeps running up to him? I don't think it's fair to correct him when he's not doing anything wrong, how is he supposed to understand he can't play with a dog that keeps coming up to him?
Phyfe really isn't into playing, he likes to go visit the people and lean on them, get pets, and then come lay down by me. He'll jump up and roar if he gets stepped on, or if he thinks Earnest is in trouble, but he wouldn't hurt a fly.
Earnest had a problem with a pointer a few weeks ago, they just didn't hit it off. It was fine, I called Earnest and we stayed in the west end of the park, the owner of the pointer kept his dog toward the east. If one headed toward the other we called them back- THAT'S the way it should work at the park, both dogs under control, the humans controlling their interaction.
As far as protecting your dog, I usually call them to me and leave if there's a problem dog, it's just not worth staying.
I keep an extra lead with me, a thin 8ft nylon, and if a dog is really a problem, like won't back off even when I call the boys to me, then I put the clip through the handle to make a slip, catch the dog and lead the dog back to its owner. If I can't figure out who the owner is I clip the clip to the fence and wait. I've had people get really mad at me, that's ok, I point at Earnest and Phyfe, who are always the biggest there, and say "your dog was (playing too rough, challenging, humping, whatever) my dogs, and I just want you to hold him so I can leave, I'm afraid he'll push them too far and get killed."  We still can't stay, but I had two really obnoxious owners get the hint, they didn't train their dogs, but when we show up they leave!

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?

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