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Michael Parkey

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  1. When we introduced 8 month old Levi to 8 year old Buddy, it went pretty smoothly considering that at that time Buddy was unsocial with other dogs. Buddy did some growling and forbade Levi from getting in Buddy's favorite bed, but that was the worst of it. Over time, Levi insisted that Buddy play with him and eventually Buddy did! Following Levi's example, Buddy became more outgoing and willing to meet strange dogs and humans. Three years later, they are good friends. To clarify, Levi is an intact male border collie and Buddy is an early-neuter male Australian shepherd mix.
  2. The fetch boogeyman has returned. Levi loves fetch, and we often play "adventure fetch" with him. We are lucky to have a very natural greenbelt nearby, with woods, meadows, and a clean creek. Levi must negotiate varied terrain, sometimes swimming to find the ball. It is fascinating to watch him track the ball, first with sight and sound when the ball is moving. If the ball stops out of direct sight, he switches to nose work, sniffing out the ball in some very obscure places. One throw will sometimes occupy him for 10 or 15 minutes as he slowly and methodically searches a likely area. I have learned so much about how dogs perceive the world from watching him do this. This game engages all his abilities. We can use herding type commands to direct him if he if he needs a little help. The game also keeps his attention focused on us so that off-leash distractions are not so tempting. Levi is now 3 1/2, and this game developed slowly over several years starting when he was 8 months old. You might start Bernie with simple fetch without emphasizing the "chase and catch " part, instead focusing on the "find the toy" part.
  3. Levi has a lidless toy box, and sometimes he will return toys to it when he's finished.
  4. Thank you! How often did your vet check George's prostate? Our vet suggested a check up in three months.
  5. Levi went to the veterinarian earlier this week for annual vaccinations. Since he is intact, our vet did a digital rectal exam and found a "slightly" or "somewhat" enlarged prostate gland. Levi is asymptomatic and otherwise very healthy. We decided to do another exam in 3 months to determine if there is any change. Of course the normal treatment for intact dogs with enlarged prostate glands is castration. Levi is not registered and we never intend to breed him. We did not castrate him because of concerns about health effects of early neutering, but he is beyond that now. We have had many intact dogs, none of them ever developed the much exaggerated behavior problems predicted for intact males. On the other hand, some of our castrated dogs have had problems with obesity if their diet was not carefully controlled. So we have two courses of action. One, castrate him soon. Two, wait and see if the enlargement worsens and/or he develops any of the possible symptoms or secondary problems. I do not want to castrate him because I want to avoid the risk and pain of surgery if possible. But the big reason is, I really do not want his behavior and disposition to change. Levi's personality is a perfect match for us: friendly, confident, affectionate, curious, athletic, and smart. He is calm when he needs to be and full of energy when the situation calls for it. So, my questions are: 1. What medical experiences have you had with enlarged prostate in intact dogs? 2. If you have castrated a dog of this age, did you see any changes in behavior or disposition? We have some time to make the decision, and the second exam may make it for us. But I would like to have input from experienced BC people. Thank you!
  6. Wonderful! She looks like a different dog, much younger than in the first photo. We went through a similar experience with our Aussie mix Buddy. Now, 10 years later, it was so worth the effort. Congratulations to you both.
  7. All dogs are individuals, and disposition varies greatly even within the same breed. Under good circumstances, most dogs quickly bond with a suitable human. I suggest taking your daughter to a well organized adoption event and the let the dog and the girl choose each other.
  8. The original post is very interesting and made a lot of sense to me. But since I have almost no experience with working sheepdogs I am curious what experienced people think. The only working dogs I've seen in their home environment were Australian shepherds, and they were treated much as alligande describes. This was a working sheep and cattle farm that also bred Aussies and was a venue for training and trials. At a large multi-breed trial held there, the owner's dogs were loose but under command. They were calm, except when told to do their job, which was to clear the arena of tried stock after each run and bring fresh stock in. Their quick, efficient, and gentle stock work was a joy to watch, and made the biggest impression on me of anything I saw at the trial. Thanks to all for an interesting discussion!
  9. She looks great for 13, or really any age. Which genetic testing company did you use? We have 11 year old who "looks like" an English shepherd, but we've always wondered.
  10. I'm surprised no one has commented yet. I have NO experience with this, but the usual advice is to keep the dog or puppy on a long line all the time until she ignores the animal in question all the time. You may be working against instinct here, in which case the long line will be necessary whenever livestock are present.
  11. I am a moderator on another forum which recently changed/updated its format. Suddenly I became a "Super Moderator"! I asked the tech people what my new superpowers are. Turns out they are exactly the same as when I was just a moderator. I think this is called title inflation.
  12. For a fairly balanced discussion of this topic, go to Moose Nuggets. People who are concerned about health effects of early neutering usually recommend waiting until 1.5 or 2 years old so that the bone growth plates have closed. There are alternatives to castration and ovariohysterectomy: vasectomy and tubal ligation. But I've never found a vet who could do either.
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