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Everything posted by SoloRiver

  1. Nick is definitely blue, and he is gorgeous!
  2. Poor Nell! That's a bummer of a tooth to lose, too, as a dog's mandible is relatively delicate and the lower canine forms a lot of the structural support of that "corner" of the jaw. I am curious what they have planned. Will they extract it and then pack the hole with some sort of bone replacement?
  3. This may be another one of those cultural markers (maybe not in the case of your elderly neighbor) as the only people I've heard using the term "chocolate" to refer to red Border Collies are show dog folks, to whom "red" means "yellow" or Golden Retriever color. The other term often used for yellow in Border Collies is "Australian red," betraying the origins of most conformation dogs.
  4. Mine only wear collars when we go out -- I leave the collars (which are all the plastic spring-buckle type, Solo's is hemp, the others are nylon) attached to their leashes. They've gone naked in the house ever since I've had multiple dogs for the reasons described in the first post, and because jingling tags bother me. It's a holdover from apartment living, during which they would have had to negotiate at least three sets of doors to escape the building (thereby making escapes highly unlikely) and I feel safe about it now because none of them are door darters. Actually, if any of them did dart out the door they'd be most likely to just stand there on the front porch and stare at me waiting for me to come out too. I know, never say never, but I feel the risks of being at large without ID are pretty low compared to the risks of possible collar accidents in the house. All three are microchipped.
  5. The idea behind using medication is that it ameliorates the problem enough so that training has a chance to take hold (gets a foot in the door, as it were). My Solo had severe separation anxiety, with vocalization being his main reaction; he was neither destructive nor did he soil the house. He is an anxious dog in general, and it was clear that he was panicked at being left alone (drooling, dilated pupils, other frantic behaviors) and not just enjoying the sound of his own voice. He has been on a combination of amitryptyline (generic Elavil) and fluoxetine (generic Prozac) for years now. Some dogs can be weaned off meds, others can't, Solo is one of the latter. His quality of life is excellent and he is behaviorally normal in most situations -- he is unremarkable to most people who see him. We practiced extensive behavior modification exercises as well as the stuff you've probably been doing (leaving/returning over and over again, ignoring upon your return, etc.). His separation anxiety has been basically cured for years. He'll counter surf if left alone for long enough, but it's more of a boredom thing now than a panicky thing, and back when he had SA he was too petrified when alone to do anything like that. In my experience, "natural" remedies are often useless because their mechanism of action is either unknown or the dosages are not controlled. In addition, if "natural" remedies work, the fact of the matter is that they are drugs. They are simply chemicals, just like something that came out of a lab, except that they have all sorts of other unknown or uncontrolled crap in them. I would personally rather know exactly what is going into my dog than waste time dicking around with "natural" remedies which yes, I did try and yes, were largely useless. (The exception was DAP, which is not "natural" in the sense that it is a synthetic version of a natural pheromone, but it is not something that you administer to the dog but rather use in his environment). I also believe in cases of SA that it makes more sense to medicate sooner than later -- why let the condition progress to the point that it is going to be very difficult to treat before treating it? That makes about as much sense as letting the tumor grow before removing it. Dogs with SA are usually under quite a bit of distress and to me the more humane thing is to nip the condition in the bud, especially since it almost always gets worse over time, not better. If SA is your dog's only problem then it is quite likely he will be on the meds for a short time, be weaned off, and be OK thereafter. If he is generally anxious, like Solo is, then he may benefit from being on meds for life, but only a veterinary behaviorist will be able to help you determine this.
  6. What good news. Fingers still crossed for Dally's safe return.
  7. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dog-Show-Fas...57611619?ref=nf
  8. I don't know if you ever feed any grain-free kibble, but Solo and Fly are eating EVO reduced fat right now (I switch around between kibbles and also feed some raw) and it's made a noticeable difference. Fly's thick old lady middle is going away and Solo is positively svelte.
  9. Oh, for Chrissakes, Julie -- it wasn't a value judgment and I certainly didn't expect anyone to comment on it. The point was that dog names are personal, and that my dogs are named for ME, according to my own interests and sense of humor (such as it is), and certainly not the dog fancy. Unless you consider yourself a member of the dog fancy, which know you are not, there is no reason to be offended. This is one seriously counterproductive conversation if it can make people who actually KNOW each other (like you and me) get this pissed off about something this pointless. I don't know about you, but I'm done.
  10. Hi Donald, If names matter, and are meant to connote respect, and you're going to insist on titles in our dialogue, then mine is Dr., not Ms. -- however, I'd rather remain on a first name basis if that's OK with you. We've met on a number of occasions, so I was assuming that "Donald" was OK. I don't consider it disrespectful to anyone that I choose not to name my dogs traditional names. (One of them does have a traditional name, but I didn't name her, and it's a name I personally like.) I am no more a Scottish shepherd than I am a dog show dragon lady, and names are personal, so why should I be expected to name my dogs traditional names? By giving my dogs names that mean something to ME I am expressing their value to me and my love for them, and to me, that is respectful of the tradition that made them. Aping someone else's culture isn't the only way to express respect. You've explained why you chose the names you gave to characters in Jacob's Ladder. I am an evolutionary biologist, and have historical (prehistoric, actually) reasons for naming my favorite dog after two fossil sites. If names constitute a hidden "code" that is understood only by in-group members then this might suggest that I was naming him for the benefit of other evolutionary biologists, and it's true that they're the only ones who "get" his name (just like Ben was the only one here who apparently "got" my ex-Papillon's name). I have yet to meet any dog fancier who knew that Ashfall is a site with zillions of fosslized three-toed horsies or that the Solo River is where Eugene Dubois found the first Homo erectus fossils, much less that Anopheles is the genus name of the malaria mosquito. It is quite a stretch to suggest that the names I gave my dogs were for the dog fancy's benefit. I have no personal, historical, or indeed, biological connections to British culture, other than the fact that I am American and that the United States owes Britain a number of cultural debts. My heart does not swell at the sound of bagpipes. As to your other example, I grew up in the South (I am from Virginia too, but the part that the rest of Virginia considers "the fake Virginia" so maybe that doesn't count to you) and oh yes, do I know that family names mean a lot down there, but unlike you, I don't necessarily consider that a positive thing. (I don't have the same fond affection for the South that you might, maybe because I grew up hearing people ask me "So, yer not from around here, are yuh?" even though, actually, I was. But I digress.) The names I give my dogs mean something to ME. And, well, I just don't like the name Moss. Sorry.
  11. Hi Eileen, It might be because you wrote this: If that's not what you meant to say, then perhaps you may wish to clarify what you actually meant to say. Honestly, I'm also responding to Donald's original post. While I see what he's getting at, part of me really wants to say, who gives a flying frak what people name their dogs? Of all the things to get upset about when it comes to what's happening to this breed, focusing on something as minor as naming conventions seems slightly perverse, especially since names are so personal.
  12. Yeah, but that's not the same thing as signing your soul over to the devil. I'm a lot more concerned with what people actually DO with their dogs than what they name them, and I know you don't spend your weekends chalking up your dogs and trotting them around in a ring wearing sensible shoes (you, not the dog). If we're really going to get nit-picky, there are an awful lot of working dog practices and traditions from the "homeland" of these dogs that working dog people in America no longer follow. I suppose that would be a subject for a new thread. Then we can all argue about which changes are bad and which ones are "innovations." I personally have no cultural connection to the traditions of rural Britain, so the names that some folk find so evocative mean basically nothing to me, other than if I name my dog one of those names it is a guarantee that at least 25% of the other dogs at the sheepdog trial will have the same name. Anyway, like I said the "fancy names" are just for me, something that I enjoy because I like words. I would never enter a dog in a trial under her "full name," but that's mostly because I don't want to inconvenience the person with the whiteboard and marker putting the scoreboard together by making them write all that crap out.
  13. What I am responding to is this: I agree with the first sentence, but the second sentence is nonsensical. Traditions don't have to be fossilized for the working Border Collie, and the "core values" associated with it, to persist. There are obviously certain things, like redefining "work" to include "jumping over things in arbitrary patterns to win ribbons," that are anathema to the working Border Collie, but on the list of things that matter I'd have to say naming conventions are pretty damn close to the bottom, and an awfully strange thing to be focusing on. It's one thing to say that names are cultural markers, and quite another to say that by naming your dog a "fancy name" you have cast your lot with the Antichrist, I mean AKC. I will note that my dogs are actually REGISTERED with ISDS and ABCA as "Jett," "Fly," and "Franklin" (the name Solo had before I got him -- I tried to get the name changed on his papers but it didn't go through and I don't care enough to pursue it). That said, I don't think it should mean anything at all if they were registered as "Sir Foofball's Foofiness of Foofington" considering my "track record" as it were, but if folks want to get their panties in a twist about stuff that actually doesn't really matter, I guess that's their prerogative.
  14. Oh, please. I agree that names are a cultural marker, but I don't see how not naming my dogs Moss, Ben or Meg makes me a traitor to the working Border Collie. Now, let's see: (1) I have only run one of my three dogs in agility trials, and with him, earned exactly one "title" (which I put in quotes because it's a "title" that most agility people consider a joke); (2) My second dog was an imported working dog and I spent orders of magnitude more time working with, learning from, and trialing her than I ever did in agility; and (3) When I decided to buy a pup I bought a well-bred pup from a responsible working breeder and excellent parents with the express intention of training her on sheep when she became of age and eventually competing with her in trials if she showed enough aptitude for that. She spent three months with an excellent trainer being started last summer, I spend lots of free time on the Craigslist farm + garden section looking for pasture to rent so I can keep sheep, and I am campaigning to move to a piece of land where we can keep our own sheep, expressly because I want to be able to work my dogs and raise lambs... Oh, and let's see, what else. Oh yeah, I identified the phenotype and sample for a genetic project in dogs (noise phobia) that was explicitly tailored to the inclusion of working (not show, and not sport) Border Collies as the major breed sample, which has now merged with other projects of interest to the working dog community (deafness and epilepsy) -- projects for which, I should note, the blood samples might now be homeless if the UCSF project had not also been looking at working Border Collies, which would not have happened had I not been there. I've counseled dozens of people on where to get a Border Collie from (i.e., not to get a "fake" Border Collie from a show or sport breeder) and gotten into arguments about it with some really good friends, whom I would really rather not have antagonized, which must mean that I actually care quite a bit about this subject. I've wasted (apparently) countless hours writing posts on these very Boards arguing the point that if the word "breed" is to mean anything, then Barbie Collies and Sport Collies must be considered different breeds of dogs from Border Collies. I have not and will not ever either acquire or breed a dog for the purpose of dog sports like agility or flyball, and consider dog shows anathema not only to what Border Collies are, but to what practically all dogs should be. And I've somehow "cast my lot" with the dark side by not wanting to name my dogs the same goddamn names (many of which, I should note, I don't even particularly like) as every other working Border Collie out there? Please. Give me a freaking break.
  15. I don't think anyone here is confused about which side of the divide I'm on, but I LOVE making up fancy name/call name combos for my own amusement. Yes, I know it is not done in working dogs, but my first introduction to "dog people" was among dog "fanciers" (note: I have never owned a show dog, nor for that matter a show-bred representative of any breed), and it's a habit that dies hard, especially if you like words. I admit to being kind of bored -- not disapproving, but bored -- by the practice of naming Border Collies according to a fairly short list of traditional names. That said, all three of my dogs have fairly conventional names: Fly came with her name, Jett's name was her litter name and is only "different" because it has an extra T, and I thought Solo was an original name when I named him (he is named after the original Homo erectus fossil site, which was along the banks of the Solo River in Indonesia) but then when I started working him everyone thought I'd named him after "Ethel Conrad's dog." I subsequently learned that practically every Border Collie ever born as a singleton is named "Solo." (For the record, my Solo was one of nine according to his papers, which also claim that his name is "Franklin." Ugh.) I don't use my dog's "fancy names" officially. They are just for me. Well, I did enter Fly in her first sheepdog trial as "Firefly" to distinguish her from all the other dogs named Fly out there, but I caught so much joshing for it that I gave up on that. If we are still up on the NEBCA novice points page, I think her points are still listed under "Firefly." Solo is Ashfall Solo River (Ashfall is the "kennel name" I attach to rescue dogs, and is the name of a lagerstatte in Nebraska) only on his USDAA and NADAC registrations. Skeeter, my ex-Papillon, was Ashfall Anopheles on his USDAA card. I thought that name was extremely clever. Jett isn't recorded as Steadfast Blackheart anywhere but in my head, but that's OK because I might be the only person who thinks that name is as cool as I think it is. I was very tickled when I thought of it though. When it comes to names being cultural markers -- and I completely agree that they are -- I think that sport names are just as distinctive as foofy show dog names are. My absolute least favorites are the "themes of violence" names like Mayhem, or Havoc, names I cannot imagine naming a dog that I actually like. Actually, names like that get my back up more than "dog fancy" names do, but that's because I think the sport (agility and flyball) dogs are a much bigger threat to the integrity of the breed than the show dogs are.
  16. The number of ancestors is important because it affects how inbred the population is. However, in domestic animals the number of founders may actually overestimate present genetic diversity since certain animals (popular stud dogs) may be bred very often and other animals infrequently or not at all. One modern breed that is probably comparable to the Isle Royale wolves is the Basenji. In the 1980s or 1990s some breeders went back to central Africa to get a handful more dogs (more info on the African Stock Project, which is fascinating, here) and actually succeeded in getting the AKC to register them despite the fact that they had no pedigree information in an effort to diversity the gene pool, but from what I was told (by a Basenji fancier who strongly supports the importation of more African dogs) only a few of them were used and many breeders avoid the "Avongara" lines (as the Africans were called) altogether because they have "poor breed type." The importation of the new African dogs introduced the brindle color to Basenjis, which some breeders consider to be proof of mongrelization. Most Basenjis suffer from Fanconi Syndrome. I traveled to the Portuguese Water Dog national specialty in 2007 to sample dogs for the Canine Behavioral Genetics Project and was surprised to learn during a lecture there that the modern PWD in America is descended from something like only 10 dogs, maybe less. The breed was first imported to the U.S. in 1968 and has increased enormously in popularity since that time. Another very inbred breed, according to someone who has been in that breed long enough to be called a "dinosaur," is the modern (show) Bearded Collie, which in the United States descends from less than a dozen individuals imported as late as the 1960s. The effective population sizes of these and many other breeds are probably shockingly low. Cheetahs are so genetically similar to each other that skin grafts between "unrelated" individuals are not rejected. They are thought to have undergone a relatively recent population bottleneck that was not human-caused (i.e., it happened in antiquity, before there were enough humans to have done it to them) and they're probably undergoing another one now that humans have more to do with. I expect that cheetahs will be extinct in the wild before the end of this century, not only because they are so susceptible to disease and have such low fertility, but because they are outcompeted by pretty much everything else in their environment, including other big cats like leopards (which are much more behaviorally adaptable), lions, and humans. ETA: Here's a blog post tut-tutting the finds of the Isle Royale studies and the interpretations of, among others, our friend Terrierman.
  17. Hi Barb, I assume you are referring to this behaviorist: http://www.animalbehaviorclinic.net/. You are lucky to have a certified veterinary behaviorist so near you. It is my understanding that she is the only one in the entire state of OR. (I am down the road from you in Eugene.) She has been highly recommended to me previously, although I have never consulted with her personally as my dog has not needed to see a behaviorist since he was three years old or thereabouts. $220 sounds like a reasonable fee. If you think of this as a veterinary problem then it will not seem like an excessive fee. Behavioral problems can be lethal (because dogs that bite people get destroyed) and most people have financial plans in place to treat a condition that may kill their dog. That said, the up-front costs are the bulk of the costs involved and follow-up afterwards (like phone or email contact, etc.) with the behaviorist is generally low or no cost. The medications most commonly prescribed are on the $4 prescription lists of every pharmacy that has such a program. I fill my dog's prescriptions at Fred Meyer and a three-month supply costs less than $20. If you get the impression that it is necessary to be wealthy to deal with these types of behavioral problems then I am sorry to have misled you. At the time I adopted my dog I was in graduate school living on a very minimal stipend (think poverty level) -- less money than pretty much, well, everyone I knew then or since -- so it is extremely possible to do this on a budget. The trainers I mention were obedience and agility trainers who happened to be both skilled and understanding with and about dogs with "issues" -- not specialized trainers. I had already intended to train my dog in agility anyway, so this was not an additional expense on top of anything I hadn't already planned on spending. The primary expense to me was time and effort, and that's what's really necessary to put in to make something like this work. My advice to you would be to make an appointment with Dr. Neilson, who will spend a considerable amount of time (even hours) evaluating your dog and will be able to provide you with a comprehensive training program to practice at home and medications if they turn out to be something that may benefit your dog. This isn't an impossible thing to do. There will probably always be a certain amount of management involved -- it's not likely that your dog will ever enjoy cocktail parties -- but as I mentioned my dog is now unremarkable in 85%-90% of situations we find ourselves in. If you love your dog and are dedicated to making your relationship work then it is very likely that you will have a successful outcome -- the owner's attitude is by far the best predictor of success.
  18. I can understand your reluctance, but both of these factors could and probably are partially or even mostly responsible for her behavior. There are often also handling issues but when a dog is this afraid of people and this aggressive it usually isn't because the owner made the dog that way somehow. A dog of sound temperament can take all sorts of inept handling and not wind up being a menace to society. My advice is to seek the advice of a certified veterinary behaviorist who is capable of both diagnosing any underlying biological cause and of providing you with a training and behavior modification protocol that will help you improve your dog's behavior. I have a dog much like yours and with the assistance of excellent trainers, mentors, some behavioral medications, and a highly qualified veterinary behaviorist, he was able to compete in agility, train in stockwork (and sort of run in two trials), and live a full, happy, and essentially normal life. Most people who see him do not think there is anything remarkable about him. He is still fearful of strangers who approach him directly, so I don't make him greet people he does not know. But, we lived in a very urban environment until very, very recently and he was able to ignore everybody, including crowds of people, as long as no one was singling him out and trying to pet him. I am OK with him never being a social butterfly so to me this was a satisfactory outcome. It did take a lot of work, but he is my canine soulmate so it was entirely worth it. I adopted him at the age of 16 months and he will turn 11 years old in May. I would also recommend a couple of books: The Cautious Canine by Patricia McConnell and The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson. Both of these books were extremely helpful to me. It is possible (probable, actually) that your dog will never be "normal," but with some work and love it is entirely possible that she will learn to do a good enough impersonation of normal to suffice for everyday life. Good luck, I know it is not easy.
  19. GORGEOUS photos and I just love Lone's little bearded face. She's a keeper all right. Welcome to the Boards!
  20. I kind of think that if you can't train a Border Collie -- a breed that has been selected for literally centuries to work with humans -- to come when called, especially if it's a dog you've raised from puppyhood, then something is seriously amiss. They seem to be basically hard-wired to both come when called and to stick with you. I look at teaching a reliable recall to, say, a greyhound or a pointer most of the spitz breeds to be a challenge, but Border Collies? Of course, having said that my next dog will probably be totally incorrigible. I've used a variety of methods on Solo, because it is so very critical that his recall be reliable. I have used treats with him quite a bit because with the constant behavior mod I had to do with him I always had them on me anyway. I can't take credit for Fly's recall, as it was installed in Wales before I got her. Jett had a natural recall from the time she came home at 7.5 weeks. The primary reinforcement I've given her for coming when called is permission to run on ahead again, and that seems to work just fine for her. For her treats are an afterthought, and if she's in either work or play mode she generally won't take them. I figure that whatever works for an individual dog is fine with me.
  21. Solo definitely has his favorite patches of mud, along with his favorite patches of grass. We go for walks in the Pioneer Cemetery just off the UO campus in Eugene and he always has to visit Wallace and Mettie Hockaday -- apparently the best grass grows on top of them. I haven't said much about Fly in this thread. Fly is actually almost six months older than Solo (she'll be 12 this December) but other than being a bit thick around the middle and slightly less elastic when she runs she hasn't changed one iota over the eight years I've had her. Fly's behavior is absolutely consistent across all contexts, both situationally and chronologically, and she's just as silly, playful, and ready to go go go as she has ever been. Most people, including experienced dog people, guess her age to be 4 or 5 at the most. Fly is not what anyone would call a deep thinker, and seems like she will remain a puppy at heart her entire life. When Fly slows down it's going to be especially sad; even though I love Solo more he has always seemed older than his years, personality-wise, and getting old suits him better than it will Fly. I mentioned once before that if Fly had a talk bubble above her head, it would always say, "Yay!" and if that ever changes it'll be really, really depressing. I have a hard time imagining that though.
  22. Yep, that's pretty much what he does. Very urgent look. Not anxious, but like he has something really important to tell me. It's gotten really bad lately, but that's probably because I'm teaching this term and spend long periods of time doing class prep and not interacting with him. When he's not staring at me, he lies in the corner and sighs and whines so I know how bored he is. You know, I wondered about this before, and I think you are probably right. There is something very calm, and secure, and normal about his boredom. When we lived in the city he used to crash harder when we were home. Part of it was probably because he was younger and stronger and played harder, but part of it was probably because he perceived the world around him as full of threats and it isn't like that anymore. This may also explain why he has started barking at people on TV (what we call "the magic window") like he is guarding us from them. Solo never paid the slightest attention to the TV before. I am sort of ashamed that Solo does this now because it's like, the one thing he does that does not seem incredibly intelligent (OK, maybe other than eating mud). He especially dislikes newscasters and other "talking head" types who appear really big on screen and look straight into the camera, which means that he threatens Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on a nightly basis, which I usually chide him for because those are the good guys, but I digress. Physically, Solo is doing well. No one would guess his age as more than 5 or 6 if he were just standing still. He's had arthritis for some time now in his hip and back, so when he runs or goes up stairs he looks old. And his muscle tone is not what it used to be. But he is still perfectly happy to chase a ball or jump and will run an agility course with aplomb, although he might knock a couple of bars. I no longer ask him to hop over solid immovable objects like playground balance beams or fallen trees, like I used to for fun, because sometimes he'll hit and trip over them while jumping. After that happens he'll act all like nothing happened, "I'm OK, I'll just walk it off" but I'm afraid he'll really hurt himself. I don't know if it's his joints, lack of muscle, or eyesight that's the problem. Solo is still top dog in the house and always will be if I can help it. Fly is a natural follower and would never think of challenging anyone. Jett on the other hand is a schemer and I know I will have to watch her, although the fact that she's a bitch may mean she never tries to be the boss of Solo. Jett maintains a very healthy respect for Solo and stays carefully out of his way at all times. If this starts changing, she will be put very firmly in her place, by me. Behaviorally I don't want to give the impression that Solo's losing it, because he's totally not. He is just as sharp as ever, with the exception of these occasional fugues, even if he is somewhat more deliberate. It's hard to say really, since he's always sort of acted like an old man, and always been much more serious than the average Border Collie. When I first adopted him he had no idea how to have fun, and he's since learned, but even when he plays he tends to do it in a professional manner. He's been frivolous or silly maybe two or three times in his entire life. He is a deep thinker, and means pretty much everything that he says or does. This is an interesting discussion, thanks guys.
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