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Everything posted by Hooper

  1. Ooooh! Oooooh! Call on me, teacher; I have data! Several years ago I had a group of students approach me about doing a study on the effect of coat color on body temperature in dogs for their freshman biology lab project. Since I was the (crazy?) dog lady in the department, they enlisted my assistance in gathering together enough dogs for them to do their project. I knew a member of our dog training club who bred Lassie-type show collies, and between her and several other members of the local (foo foo) collie club we gathered together a bunch of rough coated and smooth coated tri-color, sable, and merle collies. This was a cool day in February (I'm thinking it was maybe 50 degrees or so), so to simulate a hot day, each dog spent 15 minutes in a small run with a heat lamp before taking measurements. The students had a heat sensor that would measure the surface temperature, so they measured the temperature of the top of the coat on the rump, and then parted the hair and measured the temperature of the surface of the skin. A high point of my 30 year teaching career was then demonstrating to them how to take the dogs' rectal temperature, and watching each student then take their turns doing this. The dogs were incredibly sweet and tolerant of this whole process by the way. And, drum roll, the results were.... .... not at all surprisingly, the outer surface of the black coats was consistently two or three degrees warmer than the coats of the sable and merle coats. Of course, one doesn't really need a fancy surface temperature sensor do determine this. The difference is easily detectable to the touch. But, the skin temperature underneath all that hair was actually statistically lower in the black coated dogs. And there was no difference in rectal temperature. So, of course there are a zillion caveats to this. The sample size was pretty small. I think it was five of each color for the rough coated dogs, but despite the small sample size the difference was significantly different. There weren't enough smooth coated dogs of each color to do any statistical comparison for them, but the general trend of cooler skin in the darker dogs held, and there was no consistent difference in skin temperature of the rough vs smooth coated dogs. And, again, this was done on a cool day using a heat lamp for 15 minutes as a substitute for full sunlight on a hot day. And, as several posts have pointed out, of course there is way way more involved in heat tolerance than just skin temperature. So, no, we didn't send these results off to Nature to be published. Still. I think this little project did a pretty good job of showing that just because the outer surface of a black coat is warmer than the outer surface of a lighter coat, that doesn't mean that extra heat gets transmitted through the coat to the dog's body. And, although I no longer have a copy of the report, so I don't have the citations handy, the students did find two or three peer-reviewed studies that showed the same thing. One that I sort of remember, and that sparked their interest in this project in the first place was a study on polar bears. Of course the big advantage of that white fur in polar bears is that it's great camouflage against a snowy background. But the researchers also presented evidence that their white coat actually transmits more, not less, heat to the body than a darker hairs do. While it's true that white reflects more radiation than black, it's also true that more of the remaining radiation that isn't reflected, is transmitted through the coat and warms the skin. So, that nice white camouflage coat actually helps the bears absorb more heat from sunlight than a black coat would. The more you know...
  2. I keep reading the title of this thread as "Training a border collie for birth control work", and think, well, just allow it to sleep on the bed with you, duh!
  3. A month in a puppy's life is roughly equivalent to a year (I'd say more like a year and a half) in a human's life. So when you say that Sutter is a different dog now than he was even 3 1/2 months ago, that's like saying a 6-9 year old child is very different than he was when he was 2 1/2 years old. He's approaching the same level of maturity as that at which human children begin to practice all sorts of new and often undesirable behavior. With some luck and guidance adolescents come out the other end of this phase as productive well-adjusted young adults. But they are never going to be like they were as cute adorable toddlers again. Honestly, I think you are at the point where you need to work with someone who can actually watch Sutter and you and how the two of you interact. There's only so much advice that anyone can give you over the internet when they can't see you or your dog and observe body language and the larger environment in which the two of you are interacting. The only advice I can give you without actually seeing your and what all is going on around him when he becomes defensive is to stop putting him in situations where he feels he has to defend himself. You can't keep him in a bubble his entire life, so you do need to work through his defensiveness/reactivity/possibly resource guarding, but this has to be a much more gradual process than you seem to realize. You clearly want to do what is right for this dog. I hope you get some good guidance from your puppy classes, but if those don't help, please do consider some follow-up one on one training.
  4. You probably don't need to invest in a muzzle for Sutter if you use a piece of equipment you already own - a crate - appropriately. I appreciate that you want your dog to be your buddy who is gets to go on excursions with you, but first he has to be given a chance to grow up and develop confidence in a safe environment. Someone up thread stated that Sutter will bite your step-father, and my only disagreement with that is that it's a race to see whether he bites your step-father or your niece first. Either way, once that happens the only excursion Sutter will be going on with you is a one-way trip that will end very very sadly. So, keep him feeling safe and secure now, so that he gets the chance to grow up to be the companion you want him to be. Sutter is not barking and snapping because he's aggressive. He may or may not be resource guarding, but mainly he's just plain scared, and he's learning from your step-father that his fear is justified, and he's learning from his encounters with both your step-father and your niece that he's on his own to protect himself because he can't depend on you to protect him. Putting a muzzle on him so he now loses his last line of self defense is only going to make the fundamental underlying problem worse. EVERY time your niece is around, Sutter needs to be safely crated, preferably in a separate room behind a closed door. Your niece is three. Being unpredictable and scary to sensitive dogs is part of a three year old's job description, and she's fulfilling her job wonderfully by screaming and waving her arms and otherwise making a fuss when she's within sight of Sutter. Sutter is trying his best to avoid the situation, but if he's tied up, or only separated by a flimsy barrier, he can't get away from her, so his only option is to try to scare her away by barking, snapping, growling, whatever he can. This of course frightens your niece who then does her best to protect herself (scream and run), and the situation only escalates. Every time there is an interaction, Sutter and your niece are both having their fear and distrust reinforced, and that's not good for either one of them. So, prevent them from interacting. Period. No excuses. Put on your Nikes and just do it. And everything I said above goes a thousand times over for preventing interactions with your step-father. Given the opportunity, your step-father will continue to provoke Sutter until Sutter bites him, and then he will make sure, one way or another, that Sutter is executed. It's not fair, but there's no point in worrying about fairness here. You can't control your step-father's behavior, so your only recourse is to keep Sutter away from him at all times. When your step father comes to your house, Sutter goes in a crate, in another room, behind a closed (and ideally locked) door. And Sutter should no more be going to your step-father's house for a nice little visit than a child should be going to visit a pedophile. I'm sorry if my post sounds harsh. I don't mean to blame you or your niece for this situation. You clearly want to do what is best for your dog, and your niece is just being a three year old. But you seem to keep thinking there is something that you need to fix about Sutter. He does have issues that need to be worked on, but really, from what you've said, he sounds like he's just a fairly typical 6 month old dog who is somewhat lacking in trust, and is unfortunately rapidly learning that his distrust is well placed. The first thing that needs to be fixed is that he needs to be able to depend absolutely on you to provided a safe environment (safe from his point of view, which means no scary unpredictable small creatures running around screaming and waving arms and hovering over him while he's confined with no way to escape) so that his fears aren't reinforced. He'll survive, and even benefit from, chilling out in a crate with something nice and safe to chew on. He won't survive defensively biting someone who frightens him. You said that you have Sutter enrolled in puppy classes, and so hopefully those will be starting very soon. Hopefully these are classes taught by someone with lots of experience with positive approaches to helping young dogs develop quiet confidence. Let your instructor know ahead of time that you are having these issues. It's hard over the internet to explain how to desensitize dogs to scary stimuli. An experienced person who can observe you and your dog, and set up some training situations for you, and show you what to look for is worth a thousand posts from people who aren't there to say - "There, see that? That's what you need to watch for, and here's what you need to do." And be prepared for the possibility that training classes may be too overwhelming for Sutter. They may or may not be. But if they are, ask about options for one-on-one training. Everything you've written about Sutter so far sounds to me like he just needs a little help gaining confidence and trust. But you need guidance on how to best provide that for him, and investing some time and money in that now will save you from a much more intractable and potentially heart breaking problem later.
  5. A couple things: You've gotten some good advice about dealing with food guarding, but consider the possibility that food possessiveness may not be the only thing that's triggering the snapping. You didn't see the first incident, but you describe the second incident as a couple 3 year olds "hovering over" your pup. Lots of dogs don't feel comfortable with being hovered over. And lots of pups start to assert their likes and dislikes as they enter adolescence, which your pup is. On the one hand, I want my dogs to be pretty bomb proof around kids. On the other hand, I wouldn't be crazy about someone two or three times my height looming over me, so I'm willing to accept that my dogs may not like it either, and do my best to protect them from that situation. It certainly won't hurt to work on teaching your dog to accept you and others approaching him when he is eating. That's always a good thing. But that may not be the real reason your dog is snapping at your niece. To the extent that she's willing to interact with your pup, teach your niece to get down on the dog's level, to keep her hands down low, and to not run away from him. And you need to recognize that 3 year olds are 3 year olds, and that she's not going to behave perfectly. So you need to supervise all interactions, and safely confine your pup when you can't supervise. Which brings me to point number two. You say that your pup is now not allowed outside unsupervised unless he is kenneled or on a tie out. This needs to continue. Forever. Besides dangers like your dog wandering off and being hit by a car or shot by a neighbor who thinks (perhaps correctly) that your dog is a threat to their animals, recall that what you think triggered the first snap at your niece was that you pup was over at your brother's "eating some grease or something". The next time that something might be some antifreeze that got spilled. Or a chocolate bar that got dropped. Or some glass shards mixed in with the jar of jam that got dropped. Or some Round-Up that your brother sprayed on some pesky weeds. It's hard enough for dog owners to remain ever mindful of what kinds of things that end up on the ground might be harmful to our own pets. Your brother isn't going to being thinking about your dog's well being every time something lands on the ground on his property. So your dog stays on your property unless you are supervising. Always and forever. It certainly sounds like you are trying your best to have a safe well-behaved dog, and that you are open to seeking advice from others. Keep us posted on your progress, and let us know what you learn when your puppy class starts. Assuming you have a good instructor, being able to directly observe your dog will enable her to give you more specific insight and advice.
  6. I had a spayed bitch once that would develop UTI's about every 6 - 9 months. It got so I could tell a week or two before she showed any other visible symptoms because both my intact and my neutered male would suddenly be acting exactly the way you describe Tyrael acting around Kasha. Coupled with the fact that she is incontinent if not on medication makes me think that a trip to the vet for a urinalysis is in order. No guarantee that that's the problem, but if it is, Kasha shouldn't have to put up with being pestered, and Tyrael shouldn't have to deal with the frustration of being around what he thinks is a receptive bitch if a dose of Clavamox will fix the problem. Incidentally, if that is the problem, someone eventually suggested to me that I give my UTI-prone bitch a cranberry pill every day, and once I started doing that she never had another UTI, after many years of having them pretty much as regularly as intact bitches coming into season. There's no question that the boarding facility should have called you about Tyrael's injuries. But, I don't think you can be certain he didn't initiate the fight, regardless of how submissive he is in most circumstances. As your first post indicates, he is willing to get in your older dog's face and completely disregard her warnings to back off. In a group of strange dogs, he may have gotten too pushy with somebody, disregarded a warning, and without you around decided he needed to respond defensively to the warning instead of submissively. Or not. I have no idea, but neither do you. I certainly have seen a few well socialized, normally placid, easy going dogs decide today was the day they were mad as hell and not going to take it anymore, and lash out at another dog for what seemed to me like no good reason. Regardless of who the actual aggressor was, the kennel owner should have separated your dog the instant there appeared to be issues, and should have contacted you about injuries. You might have a better chance of recouping at least some boarding costs if you argue your case on that basis rather than that you can't believe your dog could ever initiate a fight. Without any witnesses, you can't prove that, but the first two points are valid regardless of how the fight started.
  7. How old is Effie, and has she been spayed? Demodex mainly occurs in young dogs. It is often precipitated by stress, which can be lots of things, but coming into season and spay surgery are two things that will commonly push a susceptible dog into having an outbreak. If she is less than a year old, and if the spots are small (like the size of a quarter or so) and if there is only a spot or two, I wouldn't do anything unless there is a sign that there is a secondary infection. It's annoying, but generally harmless as long as it stays localized to a couple small patches. As long as it is the localized type of demodex most dogs outgrow it by the time they are a year to a year and a half old. If it shows signs of spreading or if the patches are larger, or if she starts itching at it or it looks inflamed then a trip to the vet is definitely warranted. The more generalized form of mange does need to be treated, although again most (but unfortunately, not all) dogs will eventually outgrow it.
  8. The kennel where I normally board my dogs a couple times a year does not require the bordatella vaccination and I've never given it before boarding there. In over 20 years of boarding 2 or 3 dogs 2 or 3 times a year, I've never had a dog get kennel cough after being boarded there. On three occasions I had to use a different kennel that does require the bordatella vaccination, and in each case within a week I had a dog with kennel cough. It was the same dog all three times, and the other dogs that I boarded at the same time at the same place didn't get it. Co-inkydink??!! I think not. My guess, and this is purely a guess, is that kennel had some strain of bordatella that particular dog was particularly susceptible to, and the vaccine offered no protection. The other dogs were either naturally resistant to that particular strain, or the vaccine boosted their resistance but the one dog simply failed to respond to the vaccine for some reason. Anyway, I think the vaccine provides some protection in some dogs against some types of kennel cough, but it's far from fail safe.
  9. The study wasn't really about short term memory and long term memory per se, but about a specific type of long term memory called episodic memory. I know nuthin' about memory science, but according to wikipedia, which we all know is an infallible source of information, episodic memory "is the memory of autobiographical events (times, places, associated emotions, and other contextual who, what, when, where, why knowledge) that can be explicitly stated....others named the important aspects of recollection which includes visual imagery, narrative structure, retrieval of semantic information and the feelings of familiarity." And then, amusingly, wikipedia uses a fear of dogs after being bitten by a dog as an example of episodic memory. So, if you are a person that develops a fear of dogs after being bitten, voila, episodic memory! But dogs who also clearly can develop a fear of other dogs after being bitten don't have episodic memory? Sometimes I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm a scientist, but then I assure myself that the above is not science.
  10. I agree with Julie about using electro-netting to make a small pen for the purpose of introducing your dogs to sheep. That could go very badly in a couple ways. But, if you already have a small free standing pen or can easily construct one out of real fencing panels, it might be worth a try. However, I have had two dogs that showed absolutely no interest in stock that were contained within a small pen similar to what was shown in the video, and both turned out to be extremely useful helping manage a flock of about 70 sheep. To be fair, both these dogs had already seen stock up close, and were familiar with stock being contained behind fences, so I think part of their disinterest was because they knew perfectly well that the stock weren't going anywhere. They were plenty interested as soon as they were put in a situation where they could interact with the stock in a meaningful way. And conversely, I think it would be quite possible for a dog to show "interest" in stock confined to a small free standing pen that would resemble herding behavior, but since the dog has no choice except to run around the perimeter, it is pretty hard to separate useful interest from simple prey drive that is being thwarted by a physical barrier. An experienced trainer could likely tell the difference, but it would be easy for a beginner to be misled . I'm not saying don't do it. As long as you have a real pen that the sheep can't jump out of or knock over, and that the dog can't jump/climb/crawl into, it can be an interesting thing to try. But the outcome, taken by itself, will only give you a clue as to your dogs' potential. Don't make any decisions one way or the other based on that test alone. Oh, and I would pick four or five or six of your calmest sheep for this. Flighty sheep who feel trapped while being circled by a predator are likely to do bad things. Ideally you don't want to use sheep that will challenge and stomp at your dogs either, but the last thing you want is an inexperienced dog frantically running circles around panicked sheep desperately trying to escape from a trap. Safety first!
  11. I have no advice for you, only sympathy. Many years ago my senior heart dog went from what I thought was amazingly fit for his age to barely able to walk in a matter of a couple days. We went through a few days of testing, and when I took him home from the vet's office after the last round of testing he was so weak he had to be carried to the car. Unlike others, I try not to wait until my dogs ask me to let them go; I prefer not to let them get to the point where they want to die, but that's just me. So, anyway, by the time I got half way home from the vet's office I was beating myself up for having been too much of a coward to have had him put down when he clearly had no chance of any recovery. But the office was closed by then, the 24 hr vet office was an hour away, and so I convinced myself that I would keep him as comfortable as I could and do the right thing first thing the next morning. By next morning, he had rallied enough that I convinced myself we could have a few more hours together. A few more hours became a few more days, and by that point he was wobbly and weary, but interested enough in life to follow me out to the barn to do morning chores. He spied one of my semi-feral barn cats, made an unsteady attempt to chase it, and bless his feline soul the cat feigned terror and ran away. My old friend proudly strutted back to the house as we went back inside for breakfast, and then he curled up in his favorite spot for a nap. When I checked on him a few hours later he was gone, his last moments spent peacefully dreaming that he was still the mighty beast capable of striking terror into the hearts of barn cats. I have no delusions that it was any special wisdom or intuition on my part that allowed my dog's saga to end as well as any loved dog's saga can. It was just stupid dumb luck. But sometimes we get lucky, and wish all the best for you.
  12. I'll throw systemic lupus into the mix of possibilities to consider. It's one of those autoimmune conditions with different symptoms in different individuals, all of which overlap with other conditions, so it is hard to diagnose definitively. But, it would be something to think about if your dog isn't improving after a couple courses of different antibiotics. I know you've already spent a lot on blood tests, but the ANA (anti nuclear antibody) test is used as one indication of lupus. I had a dog who was diagnosed with it when he was about 4 years old. He had always been a poor eater with lots of digestive upsets, and then one day he came up lame for no apparent reason. To my shock, he was running a temperature of 104, and continued to bounce between 104 and 105 for about 4 days as the vet tried different antibiotics. Within hours of putting him on prednisone his temp was back to normal and he was up and wagging his tail and wanting to play. He was on a low dose of pred for the rest of his life. But, other than having frequent hot spots for the last year or so of his life he lived a good quality of life for 7 years, and then declined very rapidly just after his 11th birthday. Good luck figuring out what your pup's problem(s) is/are. It's soooo frustrating to watch them feel awful and not know how to help them.
  13. I absolutely agree with what everyone else has been saying about your pet-sitters being absolutely wrong to not respect your directions on what to feed your dogs, and on not allowing them to run loose, especially near a road. You sound like you have a very sensible attitude toward your dogs. But, I'm trying to figure out just what the above quote means. When you say you are "away" do you mean away overnight? I assume a few days is more than two days each week. So are these three (or more) days that you are away each week consecutive? Is this a long term situation or will your periods of being away change in the foreseeable future? I apologize that my questions are pretty nosey, but I'm trying to get a picture of just what the situation is that makes you dependent on clearly unsuitable pet sitters. Whatever the situation, I certainly wish you luck finding someone who will follow your perfectly sensible rules for how to manage your dogs when you are gone.
  14. First of all, I think the graph is misleading. The x-axis is simply labeled "Percent", and shows 25 % of border collies as injured and about 16 % as uninjured. Since this doesn't add up to 100 %, it can't mean that 25 % of the border collies whose owners answered the survey were injured, and 16 % not, because that would leave nearly 60 % of the border collies in some other category besides injured or not injured. I think the graph means that of the total number of reported injured agility dogs 25 % of those were border collies. (If you add all the % of injured dogs for each breed together, that looks like it comes out to 100%. Well duh. Border collies make up a pretty big proportion of the total number of dogs running in agility, so it's hardly earth shattering that they make up a big proportion of the population of injured agility dogs. Overall, the graph looks like a pretty good representation of the proportion of different breeds running in agility - border collies, followed by aussies, shelties, and then a mish-mash of other breeds. So, ok, true (with the caveat that this is not a random sample, so only sorta-true) that border collies make up a bigger proportion of the injured category than they do the uninjured category by about 8 % but without seeing a Chi-square or some such test, I'm not convinced that these data mean much by way of breed comparison. On the other hand, I don't think that acute injuries are the main concern in agility. What I would like to see is some sort of comparison of some measure of arthritis in dogs that never competed in agility to dogs who earned something like an MX or the USDAA or NADAC equivalent, in dogs that are say 8, 10, and 12 years old. This is purely my speculation based on admittedly biased anecdotal observation, but I'd bet that one would see more senior agility dogs with joint issues than their non-agility counterparts. Just my speculation, but it sure seems to me like I see a lot more gimpy retired agility dogs than their comparably aged non-competing counterparts.
  15. I am ridiculously sentimental about my dogs while they are alive. But I've fairly unceremoniously buried the ones I could in the meadow behind my house, and for the ones that died when the ground was frozen solid, I opted for communal cremation and did not keep any ashes. I sort of like thinking that some of the molecules that were once part of my dogs are now part of the grass and flowers behind my house, but I can't say that I have any regrets about not keeping cremains from the dogs I couldn't bury. As the saying goes, the one best place to bury a dog is in your heart.
  16. Some bitches do have very irregular heat cycles, so it is not outside the realm of possibility that she is in season again. But, pyometra is not something to be messed around with. It can become life threatening without showing any obvious outward symptoms. I would take her to the vet if she were my dog, and I'm not one to rush off to the vet for every little ouchie. Also, is there a reason she hasn't been spayed? I'm no where near as militant as some on insisting on spaying/neutering every pet. I especially lean more and more toward keeping males intact, provided the dog is kept confined or is directly supervised at all times. But, as you are discovering, intact bitches are inconvenient. They can come into season without you being aware of it, they drive even neutered males crazy when they are in season, they are messy. And pyometra is not at all rare, and did I mention it is life threatening? I nearly lost a bitch to it, and I know two people who were less fortunate than I was.
  17. I work during the day, and when I come home one of my three dogs greets me with wiggles and requests for butt scratches. The other two look up from the couch, MAYBE flick their tail once or twice, and basically let me know that they'll be happy to join me as soon as dinner is ready. One of my two couch anchors will eventually wander up to me for some good scritches, and will sometimes treat me like a giant walking napkin, rubbing his face all up and down my pants legs. But these displays of affection (at least that's what I think they are) always come on his terms, with his timing. Now if I invite them to actually do something like go for a walk, play fetch out doors, play "find it" in the house, learn a new trick, or best of all, help with the few chores associated with my flocks of poultry, and tiny herd of sheep, all three are more than eager to participate. So, I'm pretty sure they like me just fine even if two of them prefer to maintain their own space when nothing is happening. So, don't take your dog's independence personally. I think some dogs, just like some people, just happen to be introverts who don't care to expend energy interacting with others unless there is a specific reason to. I do wonder what you mean though about her having the chance to "run to her heart's content". Where exactly is she running, and for how long? It's possible she's just "dog tired". Also, this isn't a major point, but don't assume that just because your dog is skittish that she was necessarily abused. Maybe she was, but lots of perfectly well socialized and well treated dogs just aren't fond of being approached, and may be reactive to sudden movements and noises. I always hate to see skittish dogs automatically pegged as having been abused, because I know for a fact that isn't always the case.
  18. You've gotten a lot of good information about corrections, and when they may be fair, and when they aren't. One bit of advice I offer that no one has touched on yet is, don't make training mistakes worse by over-dramatizing them. If you treat a moment of unpleasantness as if it were some big huge deal, then in your dog's mind it becomes a big huge deal.Your dog felt an unpleasant tug, and she probably thought something along the lines of "Yikes, what was that? Sure don't want that to happen again", and cringed. You scooped her up, hugged her tight, probably verbalized your distress, probably released stress pheromones that she detected, and now she's thinking, "Yikes, what was that? And geez louise, look how upset and concerned my person is, so whatever it was must have been really really terrible. I don't ever want to be anywhere near this situation again. It's horrible!" Here's the deal with training dogs: you're gonna make mistakes; you're gonna let your frustration show sometimes, no matter how hard you try to hide it; you're gonna get impatient; you're gonna do stuff you instantly regret. So sincerely apologize to your dog with a cheerful, "oops, sorry, my bad" and move on. I'm not saying you should be callus to your mistakes and ignore your dog's feelings. By all means learn from your mistakes and do better in the future. But, assuming your dog hasn't been subjected to repeated abuse, the sooner you forgive yourself, the sooner your dog will forget about it.
  19. I've had three dogs who had a bout of localized demodectic mange as youngsters. In total I spent $0.00 treating all three dogs. I do have access to a microscope, and access to a parasitologist, so I did have the advantage of a free skin scraping and a lesson on what the mites look like with the first pup. Virtually all dogs have some demodectic mites. Puppies whose immune system is slow to mature may not be able to keep the mites at bay, and under stress (poor diet, inadequate housing, the hormonal stress of adolescence, e.g.) the mite population may explode in localized patches, leading to small hairless patches, usually on the face, but also sometimes on the legs. Vets generally classify demodectic mange as either localized or generalized. Localize mange is generally limited to five or fewer small patches, each generally smaller than the diameter of a 50 cent piece. As long as the mange is localized, pups generally outgrow it, and there's no evidence that there's any benefit to treating it at all. It will take a while though - with my pups it took at least a month to see signs of improvement, and upwards of three months for the hairless patches to heal over completely. Generalized mange is a more serious matter. I had a friend who had an aussie bitch develop generalized mange just before the onset of her first time coming in season. In that case, the hairless patch exploded from a small spot on the back leg to the entire inside of the thigh breaking out in a matter of less than a week. Not knowing the MDR1 status of her bitch, she had her dipped, which took care of that outbreak. But she was warned that every time the bitch came in season, the hormonal stress would likely trigger another outbreak, and there is at least some genetic component to the condition, so she had the bitch spayed. And, as she was warned, the stress of the spay triggered another outbreak, and it took three dips at 2 week intervals to get it under control. I think she said that she paid something in the neighborhood of $150 per dip, so roughly $600 overall, I guess. The dip is nasty stuff, and I've heard of dogs being lethargic and nauseous for days afterwards sometimes, so if you can safely give your dog ivermectin that's probably preferable. But, unless your dog has the generalized form of mange, there's no reason to treat it at all. I would just keep a very close eye on your dog, check daily to make sure there aren't new spots showing up, and if not, be patient and let your pup's immune system take care of it.
  20. GentleLake and CptJack, you both make very valid points. As I suggested, there are better and worser ways to do this. I chose a much worser way. I just want folks to learn from my naiveté, and not assume that grabbing hind legs of fighting dogs is necessarily a safe thing to do. The distraction factor of the other dog and pushing the dog rather than pulling it off the ground are both important factors. And in the heat of the moment, this isn't necessarily an easy thing to choreograph. Faced with a serious dog fight and no inanimate objects to shove between the dogs, I'd probably grab hind legs again. But a little more carefully.
  21. I hate to burst everyone's bubble about the grabbing by the hind legs thing, but here's my story... One cold snowy evening I exited a movie theater and noticed a small beagle-mix-ish dog running up to various people, looking hopeful for a moment and then backing away. Clearly a lost (or dumped) dog, not much coat, not a lot of body mass, cold night ahead, and oh, did I mention it was Christmas eve? So, of course I had to save the poor dog. After a few attempts to lure him within reach, I went back inside, paid the big bucks for a movie theater hot dog, and went back out. I managed to lure the waif pretty close to my car, but he wouldn't let me touch him, and after an hour and a small fortune worth of movie theater hot dogs (the woman behind the counter got curious about my apparently insatiable hot dog appetite, and gave me a couple freebies when I explained what I was doing), I still couldn't lay a finger on the dog. He would come right up to my car, but he wouldn't hop in through the open door for the hot dog bonanza on the back seat. Finally I had him investigating a hot dog while I was close enough to grab at a hind leg, a supposedly fool-proof method for avoiding being bitten. Perhaps there is a correct way to grab dogs by the hind leg without the possibility of being bitten, but if so, I chose an incorrect way to do it. That dog managed to bit the hand that held, and had very recently fed, it very hard. Very very hard. It was one of the most excruciating moments of my life, and after hanging on for perhaps 15 seconds, I let go, and I never saw the dog again. So, yeah, probably grabbing a fighting dog by the back legs is a better idea than sticking hands between two biting sets of jaws. But it's not a fool-proof method, if only because fools can be so ingenious.
  22. About 2 months ago I noticed an open abscess between the two outer toes on Hooper's hind foot. I took him to the vet, who said it looked like it could have been caused by cheat grass, but she couldn't find any seed or debris at the time. So she treated it with an antibiotic ointment, wrapped it, and told me to leave it wrapped for at least a week unless it started to show signs of infection (smelled bad, became tender or warm). At the end of the week the area appeared to be completely healed except for one tiny red spot about the size of a pin head, so I left it unwrapped and in a couple days it appeared completely healed. Then a few days later Hooper began licking at the spot, it was open and raw again, and this time I noticed what appeared to be (maybe?) an entry hole between his two pads on the bottom of his foot. Back to the vet, this time she put Hooper under to open up the area a bit more and look for any foreign body, and put a drain in, and put him on a 10 day course of antibiotics. She still didn't find any sign of any grass seeds and said the area looked very clean. Wound healed up, no problem for almost a couple weeks, so I was sure we were in the clear. Then today, I took a look , and the area was all puffy, and when I lanced it, puss and blood and guck spurted halfway across the room. So, we are definitely going back to the vet on Monday, but I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas/experience in what to do next. A few other points that may or may not be relevant: - I do have a small amount of both cheat grass and foxtails on my property, but I'm pretty careful to keep the dogs out of it, and when this all began both grasses were just barely starting to produce seed. So, it's possible Hooper picked up a nasty seed, but I'm not entirely sold on that as the most likely possibility. - Through all of this, he's never really favored the foot, and only licks at it briefly after I've messed with it, so I don't think it's particularly tender. - I've been checking his temperature periodically and he never seems to be running any sort of fever, and the foot and leg never seem unusually warm. - He does have one tiny hairless spot near the hock that looks like he may have been chewing at that spot at some point. That could be just that he was fussing at the top of the wrap, or I suppose it could be that a seed is migrating, and irritated that spot at some point. I know puncture wounds, and especially cheatgrass and foxtail seeds can be pernicious. I appreciate any suggestions anyone might have to offer, that I can pass on to my vet.
  23. Well, the rattlesnakes in eastern and central WA apparently don't have the neurotoxins in their venom that make some of the rattlesnakes in the southwest US more dangerous. But they can certainly cause some pretty severe swelling, which can result in muscle and nerve damage, and anaphylaxis is always a possibility. The four hour time frame is probably more or less realistic for an adult human that experiences a single bite in an extremity not too close to a major blood vessel. A thirty pound dog bit in the face or neck could be in pretty serious trouble pretty quickly. I don't have any advice on the value of the vaccine, but I'd be pretty cautious about letting my dog sniff under bushes (and sniffing under bushes is a major part of the job description for being a dog) even if the local snakes are not extraordinarily venomous.
  24. For a typical X-pen that is made up of eight 2-ft wide panels, it is possible to buy just two panels that make a perfect fit for a roof for an x-pen. No need to buy an entire second X-pen. I've kept pups indoors in that set up, and if the "roof" is well clipped to the "walls" it is pretty secure unless you have a really determined escape artist. Pup has a little more room to stand up, roll a kong around, that sort of thing, but is still confined enough to discourage pottying unless desperate.
  25. I have had animal control officers approach me and my illegally off-lead but clearly well controlled and mannerly dog, and do nothing more than wish me a nice day, or perhaps warn me that there is a cluster of less well controlled and mannerly children or dogs nearby, and that I might want to leash my dog for his safety. On the other hand, I have twice been ticketed ( $50 each time) for practicing off lead heeling in an otherwise completely unoccupied public area. Once was at a county park in a rural area that was mainly maintained as a pleasant swimming hole in the summer. Since it was November at the time, no one was there. No cars in the parking lot. Patches of ice on the bike paths. Just me with my brightly colored poop bag conspicuously tied to my belt loop, a leash draped around my neck, and my dog and I practicing heeling and a couple short distance recalls and retrieves. At some point I became aware of the law enforcement vehicle parked at the far end of the lot, but naively assumed that the occupant was merely admiring and appreciating a citizen taking the time to train her dog. Nope. He was writing out the ticket. He did compliment me on what a well trained animal I had as he walked away after handing me the ticket though. The other time was in an unoccupied school yard that was surrounded by a chain link fence except for two openings for ingress/egress. A friend has been ticketed for practicing obedience off lead in a fence-in tennis court during the middle of winter (again poop bag in full view). Like you, I am a firm believer in the many benefits of off lead exercise for dogs, and so I still risk the occasional fine and chalk it up to cost of owning a healthy well behaved dog. But I don't assume that just because others are more strictly law abiding, that it is because their dogs are necessarily ill-mannered or poorly trained. Edited to change off lead healing to off lead heeling. There is a difference.
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