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mseaver's Achievements


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  1. "they NEVER bark except when I am really leaving for work." If the remark above still infers spousal affection coupled with departure, try decoupling the affection from the departure. Express your love & well wishes for the day to your wife a bit earlier. Upon departure, have everything in readiness and just leave succinctly without fanfare. Regarding the latter situation. One thought that comes to mind is whether who the initiator is makes any difference? Although the behavior did not manifest in the specific manner you describe, my Aussie clearly thought its role in life included intervening in perceived disputes. Other dogs, people, even politicians in televised debates - the Aussie was very sensitive to body language and tone. My present BC is not as much of an interventionist, but still exhibits similar behavior. If the dogs are primarily w/ your wife, perhaps they are being protective of her. If she initiates and takes the lead, maybe they behave differently ? An alternate scenario is one where it happens that it is mainly YOU who plays with, grooms and otherwise interacts w/ the dogs. In such a situation, focusing your attention on your wife could stimulate jealousy in the pups, prompting "Hey, now. Look here. What about us." reactions aimed at drawing your attention away from your wife. Whatever the case, your description suggests that Shadow is the one taking issue, while Dustie is more likely being triggered by Shadow's behavior, rather than that of you and your spouse. If this is correct, then solving Shadow's problem with your intimacy is where I think your focus should be. It would be interesting to have Shadow visit a relative for a day to see how Dustie perceives matters without undue influence.
  2. Just to be clear, "Tartar Shield" chews have a shape and consistency that is a lot like "Piroulines", DeBeukelaer's rolled sweet wafer biscuits for people. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirouline They are not at all like the petrified sheets of leather one usually thinks of when Raw Hide chews are discussed
  3. Hook & Loop Closures (aka Velcro) on pet and human apparel become less effective over time. Hair and fibres get bound in amongst the hooks and loops, preventing these from interlocking with each other as well as they used to when new. To many people, clearing the build-up is a difficult task and results are seldom satisfactory. A quick search today brings up methods like using a lint roller, applying duct tape, grooming with a comb, grooming with a tooled intended for working with safety pins called a "Snappi". A different approach that I have used for decades is to reach for a common, inexpensive dressmaker's tool known as a "Seam Ripper". An image of the seam ripper's tip is shown here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seam_ripper The tip of the tool is easily worked under the matted hair, fibres and lint caught in the hooks & loops. Use care to avoid pulling out threads attaching the backing to the apparel. Work with decent lighting, a cloth on your lap and a trash can near by while you watch videos or visit with companions to help pass the time and reduce the inevitable tedium. The OCD amongst you can keep at this task until every speck of debris has been extricated. The rest of you will be able to see meaningful results from less dedicated efforts and get by adequately with periodic touch-ups. I notice that seam rippers have gained fancy features with commensurate price increases since I bought my bog standard tool years ago. IMO, there is no need for anything more than the basic version, but suit yourself.
  4. Such a cutie. Keep taking photos, they grow so fast ...
  5. If "Greenies Dental Treats" by Mars Petcare US / Mars Canada are a product that can be found in your community, is this something you might consider adding to your pantry? Said to be formulated to AAFCO Dog Food Profiles for adult dog maintenance. Ingredients and nutritional info below: https://www.greenies.ca/dog-treats/dental-treats/greenies-original-petite-dog-dental-treats For my 48lb BC, I purchase the "Petite" (15-25lb) size instead of "Regular" (25-50lb). Partly for economy and partly because the larger chews become apparent in stools. Consistency of the chews is dense enough that breaking or cutting larger versions into sections is inconvenient. Chew time is perhaps 3-5 min. I do not hover over him while he chews it, but I remain in earshot - alert for unusual sounds. I offer one chew every two-three days. The petite size has 56kcal/serving. I provide Greenies to supplement the Royal Canin Dental (Medium) kibble that forms a part of the selection of dry foods provided daily. For my Aussie, I used to alternate between Greenies and another chew called "Tartar Shield Soft Rawhide Chews for Dogs" that I sourced from my Vet at the time. Tartar Shield are a hollow tubular dry substance, perhaps 1/2" OD x 10" long. They came in Small and Large. I bought the Large size, broke the sticks in two and served a half pc at a time. https://tartarshield.com/ My BC has not had Tartar Shield because I no longer deal with that Vet and I have not seen the chews in my subsequent travels. If I came across them, I would have no concerns about serving these chews to the BC.
  6. If I read your reply correctly, there is both a town and a rural property. The dog is accustomed to autonomy at both locations and does not cross the perimeters of either. By inference, he seldom experiences other environments, people or animals. Earlier remarks about the dog's relationships with your wife and yourself suggest that circumstances are such that you are not in the presence of the dog as often as your wife is. A.) To speak first to the matter of adding a Lab puppy to a household where a skittish 5 yo (neutered?) male BC is currently sovereign. My opinion is that parachuting a young Lab into the setting as a "done deal" might work, but I rate this as an outcome with low probability. Some reasons include general breed differences; characteristics of your particular BC, age differences, and so on. If introducing ANY second dog, much less a Lab puppy, is at all feasible then everything you can do to help your BC be on board with the change will help improve the odds of success. A few properties away to one side of me, neighbors have a 10-11? mo female Lab. A few properties away in the other direction, different neighbors have a perhaps now 7-8 mo male. The female arrived late last spring, the male appeared in Aug? The female's family hasn't been out & about with the dog as much as the owners of the male. A few properties further away there is an 100lb+ Anatolian Shepherd "puppy" that I think must be close to 12 mo old now. My fit 48lb male BC was 2-1/2 last Aug. Despite a rough patch in life before we adopted him from a shelter at 1-1/2, he is confident and self-assured, great with family & strangers alike. (One oddity is mild food guarding behavior whenever my wife arrives on the floor where the food dishes are!) We walk mostly off-leash in the streets and alleys of a suburban environment frequently daily and every couple of days we visit one of three dog parks in the area, weather permitting. This BC greets new dogs with friendly interest: he is polite and considerate with smaller dogs; if he senses dogs his own size and especially larger ones are game, he engages in mock challenges in hopes that they respond in kind - when they do, spirited play ensues. Both Lab puppies do what puppies (especially Labs) do. They PULLED their owners, trying to get close enough to my BC to interact. When they were really young and smaller than they are now, the Labs were pressing and persistent enough that my BC began to engage with them physically with escalating playful aggression, despite their small young statures. We didn't see the female often in the summer/autumn and then only for brief periods while it remained (straining) on leash. Before the weather grew cold, there was more interaction with the male while it was still quite small - much of this was off-leash. My BC engaged w/ the male to what seemed at times like approaching the point of inappropriateness. The neighbor (1st time dog owner) and I stood overtop of them. Usually I intervened early enough when warranted. Occasionally, the younger dog let out a squeak. Sometimes, he fled the mayhem to scamper under a nearby tree - only to immediately run back and reengage w/ the BC. We didn't encounter either dog much during our frequent outings through the dead of winter. Now that conditions are improving, there has been a bit more contact. The Labs are still puppy-like, but they have grown and put on significant weight, closing in on my BC and probably likely to surpass him. While my BC still enjoys wrestling with the younger male, looking for him has we pass the property, he is showing signs of intolerance toward the larger female as it is on-leash dragging the owner around and trying to nuzzle/paw my off-leash BC. All of which is to say that over a period of 6 mo of periodic encounters on neutral ground, my BC has been generally good-natured with the Lab puppies. However, I am pretty confident that outcomes would be less favorable in circumstances where the BC was in enforced proximity to the full-on exuberance of the Labs 24/7. Not to mention that I anticipate that there would be issues at the food bowls. Since your dog is older and appears to be more introverted than mine, I came to the somewhat pessimistic conclusion offered earlier in this post. B.) Regarding your dog's sensitivity to his surroundings and relationship with you vis-a-vis your wife, I'll offer that small steps taken with a view to easing his nervousness in the presence of the new/unknown and relaxing with/trusting you more are encouraged. After my previous post, I had wondered whether there were factors about the surrounding that humans take for granted but which might cause anxiety for the dog. Things like seismic activity, fracking, low level industrial noise, gun ranges, flight paths ... But I can imagine how traffic and esp school yards of shrieking young children could be unsettling for a country-bred BC. I had an Australian Shepherd in the past that would intermittently STOP in its path and refuse to proceed. This behavior led to me being largely the only one in the family that regularly walked the dog, because others didn't or wouldn't work with the dog and in time, the dog wouldn't go beyond the property line with them. We share the neighborhood with coyotes and initially, I thought that their scent is what was affecting the Aussie. However, there is a wildlife facility in the area that features big cats and an elephant. I will never know with certainty, but I came to believe that on occasion we were downwind from the facility and the unusual smells, if not the sounds, are what the Aussie was reacting to. A couple of suggestions to start with include introducing the dog to new non-threatening environments - similar to those he is comfortable in, just different - and slowly, incrementally upping the challenges. Look around for resources offering help with building confidence and desensitization. If he takes to this and grows emotionally, that will be beneficial for all concerned IMO. But if there is no progress, then consider just accepting his sensitivities and making accommodations for these in recognition that they are a part of his unique personality - you have already indicated that your pup is a great dog in many ways. In addition to the suggestions made by others earlier in the thread with a view to strengthening the dog's bond w/ you, consider hanging some of your unlaundered clothes nearby (but out of reach) where the dog relaxes in the home. Good grief - what a long winded post.
  7. a) Introduce your BC to other people's puppies, Lab and otherwise, in controlled settings for limited periods first. If that goes well, extend duration and introduce favored resources (toys, feed bowls, people) to gauge how protective the dog is of what is HIS. b) Accompany your wife several times as SHE walks the BC on leash and exchange the leash back and forth as you walk together. If the dog is bonded to her, only intermittently "accepts" food & affection from you and largely enjoys run of the property unleashed, then I think that going walk-about on leash out of the blue solo with you is bound to be a strained experience at best. Start with a long leash: 15 ft or even 30 ft. I can elaborate w/ some anecdotes if desired You've had the BC for four years - how old is it now ? Is there anything about the surroundings that warrant his sensitivity and nervousness? What does "all the stimulus a [leashed] walk would give him" refer to at a property he loves running around unleashed?
  8. OP, do you provide What is the overall profile of the environment, with respect to simulating influences? Illumination Noise Vibration (nearby furnace motor?) Drafts Scents How successfully could you lose yourself in meditative thought if you sat cross-legged on the floor beside the crate for 15 min? If this would not work well for you, what measures could you take to reduce stressors? When you allow the dog to move about in the home, does it show a tendency to settle in some location of its own choosing? If so, is it at all feasible to make THAT its home base? I am not suggesting that the dog be permitted up on the couch or on top of your bed, but it has become apparent to me that dogs recognize/respond to some form of canine Feng Shui. Consequently, if the dog seems happy in THAT spot over there, and provided there is no significant reason to deny him, then THAT is where his bed gets situated in my household. This has repeatedly proven to be a win-win approach for dog and family. Provision of background sound is another practice I have come to espouse. I had firsthand success with the calming effects of Stingray Music's Cool Jazz channel on an Australian that suffered life-long sensitivity to and extreme fear of electrical storms. When my present BC first came home at 1-1/2 yo, the all-music format of a french language channel served as a form of white noise, masking late night sounds in the home, the thump of the paperwoman's car door at 04:30 and the voices of two neighbors that walk by each morning at 06:00.
  9. Have you considered adding noise-makers to your tool-kit? NOT an air horn ! Something that is JUST sufficient to carry over the distance in question and be heard by the dog's superior senses. A sound that is non-startling, pleasant and distinctive amongst competing sounds within the environment. Two general types might be in order: a) the "Here I am" version and b) the "Rooster, come NOW" version. Success with the former might negate need for anything for the latter other than your voice/whistle. The purpose of the "Here I am" noisemaker is to provide a point of reference. YOU wear the noise-maker and the dog registers your location subconsciously, ideally aligning its course/progress with yours instinctively. A simple example of the HIA-Nm can be assembled using a small lightweight carabiner of the sort sold for keys at hardware & convenience stores. Add two or three metal washers of different sizes/materials (steel, brass, aluminum) to the carabiner, then clip the carabiner to the laces of one boot. When you walk, you will sound like Cap'n Ahab. Cheap & durable Self-actuating Secure, yet nonpermanent The washers are FAR easier to clean after mud immersion than bells No batteries To overcome the absence of sound from the boot-mounted HIA-Nm while standing still, consider creating a similar device with a grip strap (or some means of attaching to outwear.) Then it is a simple matter to continue broadcasting your location just by idly manipulating the second noisemaker in your hand. (I don't recommend walking w/o a collar in the back country, but I do this in my non-b/c environment. I carry the collar & its tags on the end of a 5m (15ft) leash coiled in my hand, wrist movement shakes the collar links and tags.) As for a "come NOW" noisemaker. Although I am confident that one can be developed through selection of a suitable device and the application of reward-based training, fortunately this hasn't been necessary in my circumstances. (I am pleased not to need to carry additional stuff.) For us, introduction of the passive "Here I am" noisemaker essentially eliminated most of the recurring active communication required previously. My dog began to remain in closer proximity and I was not compelled to call him as often. I believe this relieved us BOTH from "command fatigue." When I DO need to call my BC in closer now, the infrequency of the task assists with putting some vigor into the command, making the command distinctive from my conversational voice and increasing the "Signal" portion of the "Signal-to-Noise" ratio in the dog's auditory environment. For his part, I find my BC is more responsive. As he is complying, I reward with verbal encouragement and physical affection. The net result is that it is rare for me to call more than once. Of course, YMMV.
  10. Are you still there, Erin? If so, can you borrow a soccer ball to offer to your dog for a short time? Long enough to see whether there is any interest, but not so long as to allow the inevitable deconstruction that the teeth and nails of an interested dog will inflict. If your BC shows interest in the soccer ball, then consider purchasing an equivalent expressly designed for pets, such as a Jolly Ball or something similar. I learned about the sport called Treibball when I had my Kelpie. He absolutely LOVED herding the exercise ball commonly used for Treibball, but his aggressive style of play meant that ball life was short. Punctures from teeth/nails occurred in short order. Then I discovered the Jolly Ball. My Kelpie had an 8" Jolly Pets Bounce-n-Play - made from a compressible rubber-like substance with a faint bubble-gum scent. He was insistent to the point of aggression about playing with that ball. My present BC liked the compressible Bounce-n-Play version, but it has raised characters on the circumference that enabled him to pick up and carry the ball, rather than push it around. I thought that was cheating, so I bought him a non-compressible hard 10" Push-N-Play. The hard 10" P-n-P solved the "carry" problem, but I felt there was still something lacking, so I bought the 14" version of the hard Push-N-Play. Wow ! The BC REALLY enjoys moving the 14" hard version around the yard. He displays high possessiveness - when playtime ends, I tell him to "Leave It" rather than just reaching down to take it away. Incidentally. If Erin (OP) or anyone else here decides to purchase a hard ball like the Jolly "Push-N-Play", then please be CAREFUL when interacting with the dog and the ball. The ball is HARD. My dog is determined to defend against foot play aimed at separating the dog from the ball. He was amazingly good at anticipating my efforts to propel the ball past him. I stopped both foot play and efforts to kick past him out of concern for his teeth (and my wallet !) Instead, i play with the 10" hard ball, while he plays with the 14" hard ball. My approaching him with the 10" prompts him to take evasive maneuvers with the 14" ball - all without endangering his teeth.
  11. I am unfamiliar w/ Arkwrights, but I see there are a number of choices. Are you feeding just one version or offering a selection of their products? My present dog is a fit 3yo 48lb male BC rescue that was adopted at 1-1/2 in a state of emaciation at 35lbs (after being in shelter 3 mo !) My previous pup was a 17yo female Aussie that was adopted at 7 in a somewhat overweight & unfit state. I presently serve a selection of dry foods from Royal Canin's retail series and Acana to the BC. I previously served products from Royal Canin's Veterinary dry & canned series, Orijen dry and Blue Buffalo dry & canned to the Aussie. The BC likes fresh blueberries, but has little interest in raw carrots. The Aussie liked carrots. Both received dry beef liver sparingly and dental chew products periodically. With the exception of becoming uncomfortable about the suitability of Orijen's protein levels as the Aussie aged, I feel all these commercial foods were beneficial for my pets. On occasions when I looked for evaluations, the opinions of others who claimed to be experts were favorable. All of which is a long way of saying, a variety of appropriate foods will be appreciated by your pup. In addition to the indicators suggested in D'Elle`s last paragraph, I will add that the study of fecal matter ought to be a key guide for evaluating the food offered to your dog - it seems I am not alone in referring to this as Poopology. Since the thread is about intake, rather than output, fecal study may seem off topic. However, if you begin to experiment with dietary changes, then I recommend observing (and keeping notations about), err, outcomes. To close, I will finish with questions that perhaps should have been at the beginning. Is the dog prone to seasonal variations in appetite? Has there been a change in the dog's activity level or environment that could explain the reduced appetite? Are there any other signs that might suggest an undiagnosed health issue (teeth, gut, other)?
  12. With some caveats, I second Tegan and Oden's observation about -15°C (+5°F) being a lower limit for bare paws (and draw attention to the units Tegan used - °C, not °F.) I do not have professional or specialized knowledge on the subject. My opinion is simply based on decades of past personal experience with dogs in a cold climate. (As I compose this post at 16:00 on a sunny Feb afternoon, the present temperature is -34°C (-29°F). An overnight low of -41°C (-42°F) was recorded at 07:00 this morning. Mid-January is traditionally when it gets TRULY cold here for 5-8 days in succession.) Caveats: Judge conditions from "Apparent Temperature", not "Ambient Temperature." . Take into account the nature and duration of activity. Work and high intensity off-leash recreation is different for the walkee than plodding along on-leash with periodic stops for socializing & sightseeing by the walker. . Take into account additional factors such as the dog's size, health, age and paw condition when determining whether paw protection should be provided for an outing. A small, senior dog with cracked paws is likely to benefit from paw protection at temperatures ABOVE the lower limit of -15°C (+5°F) suggested earlier. . Where there is a likelihood of encountering of snow-melt products, provide paw protection at temperatures ABOVE the lower limit of -15°C (+5°F) suggested earlier. It might be useful to expound further about the first caveat. Ambient temperature is just what is indicated on the thermometer outside the kitchen window. Apparent Temperature is a term coined by Robert Steadman to represent ambient air temperature + wind speed + relative humidity. To illustrate the difference, consider an ambient temp of -15°C (+5°F) in calm conditions on a sunny hill top. Now consider the same ambient temp in a dark valley along a wind-blown stretch of ice. Same ambient number, very different perception and comfort level. In lieu of Apparent Temperature, weather services use terms such as "Feels Like" and "Wind Chill"to represent ambient temperature values adjusted for additional factors. I merely draw my own conclusions by looking at the outdoor thermometer and glancing around the yard for indications of wind speed - if I see gusts, I attach footwear at a warmer temperature than if conditions appear to be calm.
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