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Everything posted by simba

  1. It is possibly a risk factor for bloat, but unless your dog's at high risk (say, gorges food, very big, eats from raised bowls etc) I wouldn't say it's a huge issue. There are so many other things that could happen, you have to draw the line about worrying somewhere.
  2. Farms are quiet? I remember as a small kid visiting a sheep farm, being terrified by all the noise- sheep, people shouting, birds, chickens, machinery, loud mysterious banging noises. And everything moving in every direction. It wasn't like that all the time, of course, but it certainly had some seriously loud moments.
  3. With kids and chickens we had 'the chair'. You sit in 'the chair', you get a rooster to pet. Instead of children running at the flock, everyone scattering, kids getting scared by the flapping and the 'bad chickens' etc you get 5 minutes of gentle patting time and child goes off running to tell their parents. Not sure how to implement this with adults, though. Maybe tell 'em the dog instantly befriends people who sit in a particular chair? You have to have some pseudorational explanation for it though, like he was abused by people but only when they stood up. So he's fine with people so long as they sit in the chair. And make no noise. And look at the sky. The abuser stared, and talked, you see. Or the first person he met sat in the chair, so he loves people who do that? The really funny thing is when a kid gets scared of an animal (over absolutely nothing, or over something which was the child's fault) and the parent agrees with them and goes "Oh, wasn't that a bad chicken/dog/hamster/rabbit!" And then (in one instance) brings the child over, smiling at how cute this is, to give the dog a 'smack'. Okay, they're holding the child's hand, they won't hurt the animal, but now the kid's giving a death-glare to the evil monster and has learned absolutely nothing except Animals Are Bad. The dog, meanwhile, knows full well that was intended as a 'smack' (the death-glare and "bold!" could be a clue), and is wondering what the hell is going on. I wonder if pit bull or greyhound owners have these problems?
  4. We had chickens and dogs loose together, including chicks. Sometimes unsupervised. Teaching them not to focus on the chicks, rewarding them for being relaxed around them, and scolding them for chasing or obsessing works pretty well. One of the dog still kills wild chicken-sized birds, but she can be left alone with hens without a problem. The big difficulty is keeping it safe for the chickens while the dog's learning, and making sure it's generalised to new hens. Leash first of all, and then be in a position to block the dog or grab it, once you start working off-leash. Most of the time 'no' worked but I wouldn't do those early stages without being able to intercept the dog. Not a dog trainer, I know nothing about this kind of stuff. If I can do it, you're seriously overqualified for the task.
  5. Really? Honestly? Do they not allow the dog up on the couch, either? After all, it could catch a nail or sprain something jumping up.
  6. Anyone have recommendations for very good books on dog training? Any good websites? It'd be nice to have a list to turn to of information which is up to a basic standard and readable. I've heard Control Unleashed recommended.
  7. Long quote, but I couldn't figure out which were the best bits. It's all the 'best bits'. I love as well: clumber spaniel owner saying that she's taking her toys and leaving. Look at the dog's eyes.
  8. Agree with Smalahundr (despite being raised on holistic treatments), but more because of a history of medicine and science background. I'm a big fan of herbal or herbal-origin remedies, but I like them standardised for the active ingredient (not the plant itself), in a stable form, and with solid research behind them (like taxol, aspirin, opiates etc) so you know what you're getting. I would be more familiar with wound healing in humans, where you want high-protein, and adequate b vitamins and vitamin c (which should preferably be from the diet rather than from supplements, so you get all the concomitant good stuff from eating good food). Vitamin K + A are important too, but deficiency is unlikely. Basically, all stuff you get from fresh meat anyway. I've heard it recommended to use non-ground meat and poach it lightly, so that you kill the bacteria on the outside but it isn't actually cooked. It depends on where you get your meat, too: a good, hygenic enough source, and good storage, would mean it had less bacteria. Think steak tartare. Grass-fed meat would also have lots of omegas, or you could add a bit of fish as well (which might also help tempt him to eat, if the pleading stares I get whenever I open a tin of tuna are anything to go by.) Chondritin and glucosamine have little or no evidence behind them as of yet, but are unlikely to do harm. The better-designed the study, the less likely it is to show any effect of glucosamine on pain, which usually means it has none. Watch out for supplements- even with human supplements, there isn't a whole lot of regulation on whether they do what they claim to, whether they contain what they say, how safe they are etc. One can only imagine the situation for animal supplements...
  9. # Spay/neuter- I'd say ask the owners to tell you when a bitch goes into heat, if it's intact. I wouldn't walk a bitch in heat, selfish as that sounds, because of the extra responsibility and potential for acccidents. I'm super pro-rescue but I'm iffy on spay/neuter, I think it's advisable but there are circumstances under which I wouldn't do it (plus irrational emotional reasons of course).
  10. So glad I started this topic now. The original post was mundane; the responses have been wonderful.
  11. I came across an adjustable leash recently. http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/dogs/dog_collars_dog_leads/leather_leads/single_coloured/98173 I can see how it would be useful to have a leash that can be used for two dogs on short notice, and I've heard one person rave about this type, but I am totally unfamiliar with these things. Anyone have one? Are they any good? What's the purpose, or how do you use them?
  12. Put away the pitchforks for a minute, but I never saw collies (sorry, border collies) as particularly beautiful dogs. Just, I don't know, dog-shaped black-and-white dogs, never bred to look impressive. I'd never seen a bc I'd class as a 'pretty' dog. The ones bred for work were ordinary. The ones bred for looks were positively ugly. I didn't mean it in a bad way, 'twas just my subjective opinion; it's not like looks are particularly important in a dog anyway. Now I've changed my mind. I saw a lost young collie today (out the window of a bus so I couldn't do anything about it). He looked both ways before crossing the very busy road and, a little uneasy, loped away gracefully along the path. He had unusually pointed pricked ears, and he was the most beautiful dog I've ever seen. The way he ran! The way you could see him thinking! It was nothing to do with his coat or conformation, and if I'd seen a photo I would have thought he was nothing special. But when you really saw him, he was gorgeous. So why do they judge the aesthetics of the border collie, without seeing them run or think? Sorry for devoting a topic to such a trivial subject, I just wanted to share the 'lightbulb' moment and didn't see a thread which would suit it.
  13. I always figure a novice who's willing to learn is the ideal situation. Since everyone's a novice at some stage, really, what's the alternative? A novice unwilling to learn, who'll have to do so once set in their ways (if they ever learn at all)? Start as you mean to go on. Tus maith leath na h-oibre (good start means half the work, apologies for my terrible spelling in Irish).
  14. Body condition's more important than weight, strictly speaking. Here's a good guide: http://www.pet-slimmers.com/shape.htm Pictures here: http://www.purina.com/dog/weight-and-exercise/bodycondition.aspx You might find it easier to weigh the food, since it means you can measure more accurately. Exactly how much to feed is difficult because it varies hugely on the dog. I've seen hugely active 30-40lb dogs getting more than a 60lb dog. There are Jack Russels who seem to be bottomless pits. Rule of thumb I've heard for a high-ideal weight range pet is decrease the food by 10% and wait two weeks, see how much if any is lost or gained. If you want her to lose weight, 1-2% weight loss per week is the max safe amount. Feeding once a day has been connected withan increased risk of bloat, possibly because the dog eats faster. Not sure how much of an increase it is though (whether you really need to worry, like).
  15. Was just thinking today- would there be risks from the increase in sedentary time associated with crates? How 'quiet' is a dog in a crate left for the day: do they stand up and turn around a lot?
  16. I've heard of a few rescues/rescue stories like that. One involved an otherwise lovely small animal killer dog being left in a home with small animals because he was happy there, so the finders (who'd been looking for help finding the previous owners, or rehoming him) had to work on their own. Then you get the strange adopters, as have been mentioned already. But criticism of one is not criticism of all: the presence of inadequate or overzealous rescues does not preclude or negate the existence of good ones, and same goes for adopters. We can all discuss appropriate conditions for rescues and adoptors while recognising that a lot, or probably most, people out there are decent people working off often limited information. So how do you reconcile that limited information, the ability of bad or careless people to provide the 'right' answers (and good people to provide the wrong ones), the varying standards of good homes in the first place, and finding places for dogs?
  17. Not LGDs (nearly unknown here), and not running up to strange dogs and making a fuss or petting or anything. Just when you have a half-mile of yard to walk up to visit people, and the dog is out in the yard to keep strangers away and doesn't know you, I like to let them sniff the back of the hand and say a calm word or two to them, and make sure the dog sees you before you're in the yard. I see people trying to get in without the dog noticing, or charging up and ignoring the dog, or trying to outrun the dog to the door, and they make it so far before the dog goes nuts. I don't generally interact with other people's dogs, but in those kind of cases it can be necessary. Most of the time these dogs just sniff, wag their tails, and ignore you or follow you up. It's just basically looking non-threatening, and not making a fuss over anything or doing anything surprising, and being friendly to the dog if the dog initiates it.
  18. You really see it with a dog who's a bit nervous or suspicious of strangers. Some people the dog will run from because they don't send out the right signals, even people who like and own dogs (particularly if they stare). Others the dog adores from the moment they walk in, because they just know the right thing to do. First rule of thumb when visiting people: befriend the guard dog if at all possible. It impresses non-dog people, but you can see the dogs who are willing to be friends but unsure of your intentions.
  19. In France they sell massive bags of dog pasta, fortified fusilli in sacks. You can either use it to supplement, or you can buy the complete pasta mix with meaty kibble and whatnot mixed through. You feed it dry so they can crunch it. I'd be so tempted to see what it tasted like.
  20. Agreed. Another point could be that some tend to think of a 'correction' as involving a physical act. But anything that brings the dog discomfort, and stops it doing what it's doing, will be a correction. For a sensitive dog a harsh word could be too much. There are plenty of kids and dogs out there who were raised without any need of 'spanking' etc, and it may be true that there are some individuals in some particular situations who will respond to nothing else. But used incorrectly it can do harm. Edit: like everything else.
  21. So did I. Don't get me started on 'Batshit Crazy Things Chickens Do'. Suffice it to say, don't let the hens bully the dog, don't let them know food comes from the house. Do not let them run away with spoons. They eat any and all leftovers (in moderation as a supplement to a normal diet): pasta, ice-cream, peas, potato, meringue... You are going to have such fun. It's like having your own soap opera running outside the kitchen door. I did have a hen who sat on command, as a kid. The days before the x-box, may we never return to them!
  22. Exactly. Edit: I did stop, I went and pulled out a ball for a few minutes. There was a moment of "Hang on, this is a little dog who generally sits down quietly in front of you and turns over so you can do the other side, who tolerates it even though she has no idea why. Sometimes it's a bad day, so she gets stressed and just asks you nicely and repeatedly to stop. Would you do that in her shoes? Or would you bite?" I think dogs are expected to have much more patience than humans. A human who beats their dog once probably won't have to pay for it. A dog who snaps at or bites someone once could end up in very deep trouble (as this one did). Weird considering which one has the bigger brain. But it's one of those funny things you never think about- every dog has the capacity to bite, and most have had once or twice in their life where they had the motivation, and yet so few do. I bet that guy's dog never bit him, and god knows what he'd done to it previously. I was reading a Terry Pratchett book yesterday which reminded me of the chainsaw story: a story of how a fellow cut off the back legs of his dog with an axe for growling at him. People were horrified, but it was the man's dog and what can you do? But the local ruler sent the police out to search his house, because someone who could do that to a dog could do other things. I've been told by a social worker that animal abuse is a huge red flag for abuse to other family members, and that it's very important to report it for that reason. You see the cattle starving outside, but you might not see the elderly mother starving inside.
  23. Definitely. Little Terrier was stressed out anyway, and hates getting her hair cut. It was the last day I'd be able to do that job for about a week, and she needed it done. So I called her and sat her down to cut her hair. She came very reluctantly, and just sat there getting absolutely goggle-eyed while I tried to get it over as quickly as possible. She half-heartedly escaped and went to hide, I called her back and started again. After a few minutes she reached over and put her teeth on my arm, and held them there. No bite, no pain, no bruise, no intention to hurt. But I would swear that it was a little reminder: "I could do this, I could bite you... but I choose not to." I've seen the same as a warning to other dogs, or a loud, scary-looking snarl and snap. Could be the dog did one of those to the kid.
  24. Pullets or older chickens are much easier to keep as a first-time owner than chicks, if that's any help. The older they get the hardier they are. But chickens are pretty hardy in general. Don't worry too much about it. Just pick a breed you like, which suits your situation, and get them from somewhere reputable.
  25. Chickens get sick? I've had more problems with weird chicken behavior than I've had with chicken sickness. If there's a chicken psychology/psychiatry book out there, that would be immensely useful. Mostly it's just about keeping the pens clean, keeping them from beating each other up, feeding them a varied diet, offering grit, and keeping mites away. If you have polish hens, or some other types, they may need assistance to keep clean. Bog standard red hen mixes tend to be both healthy and immensely entertaining. Keep the mild-mannered breeds away from them, though, as they may get scalped. Quarantine's a good idea for newcomers. Injury's a big thing- keep foxes etc well away. http://www.chickenhealth.net/ http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/mites-chicken-pests-how-to-protect-your-chickens-from-mites Sorry, I know this wasn't what you were asking for, and you more than likely have gathered all this already. Hope it helps anyway.
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