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Lucy Goosey

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About Lucy Goosey

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  1. I believe that there *are* collars that simply vibrate and do not stimulate muscle contractions (what "shock" or "e-collars" do). They use them on deaf dogs, as I understand it. Maybe someone else knows about that? Ah, but there is the eternal question. One of my favorite quotes is "To a man with a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.". This is why I think that if you're new at the dog training thing, it's better to start with more benign training aids and techniques, so as to reduce your risk of making the kinds of mistakes that will cause more harm than good. For a beginner, I like clicker training because it teaches you a lot about timing and reinforcement theory, and I like the lure and reward method because it teaches a lot about using motivational methods to induce the behavior that you want.
  2. My Abby is severely thunder and firework phobic, and at 9 years of age, I doubt there is much I can do to allay her fears. She's not just afraid, she literally panicks. I had seen the anxiety wrap previously, but didn't want to shell out the $$ on something that I didn't know would work; perhaps it works for dogs with mild fear, but the degree of Abby's fear is so intense that I'm really skeptical that something like that would help. I have considered trying a tight t-shirt or swaddling her with a blanket though, because one of her behaviors when she's panicking is to wedge herself into a tight space. Perhaps something about the sensation of being in a tight space is soothing to her. In the meantime we have discarded the use of Ace for the same reasons already cited, and have been using Valium for some time now. It doesn't reduce her fear as noticeably as I would like, but it does take the edge off enough to help. If I am home when the dreaded event occurs, I can give her a "chill pill" or two and put her in her crate in the bedroom with the fan turned on, the radio turned up loud, and a big juicy marrow bone. Normally if she's in her crate and hears thunder or a firework, she will try so hard to escape that she bloodies herself (so during the month of July, she is basically never crated when home alone), but with the help of the valium, the fan, the loud music, and the bone, she can stay calmly in her crate. I don't normally advocate crating a panicking dog (unless the dog likes their crate during times of stress; Abby does not), but I need to be able to crate Abby because she cannot be around Lucy without attacking her (Abby is my little nut case), and it's not fair to Lucy to have to spend the entire week before July 4th or the entire thunder storm season in her crate because Abby is a freak. The multi pronged approach allows me to manage Abby during these times so that both her and Lucy's needs can be met. I wouldn't spend the $$ on the Anxiety Wrap without first trying a tight t-shirt or something to see if it helps, and I wouldn't bank on that one thing being the cure, but rather, would continue to employ a combination of things that seem to help. That's just my experience.
  3. Oh my God! I'm so sorry. Run free, Kippy.
  4. Miztiki, I've been thinking about your incident for a couple of days now, and something that is apparent to me is that sometimes when people are working very hard at changing behaviors in their dogs, they can tend to overanalyze things a bit. For instance, you say that Boyden "knows" that Fynne would never take his food; that Boyden "knows" that you would never do this or that. Obviously, Boyden "knows" no such thing, or he would not have behaved the way he did. There is also a tendency to take it as a personal betrayal when the dog makes a threat display at the very human that loves that dog and is working so hard to help them. In my opinion, dogs are capable of love, but certain social protocols within canine society are within the bounds of fairness, even with the ones you love. That Boyden threatened you does not reflect whether he loves you or not, but rather, that he felt that his possession of a valued resource was being threatened, and he was within his rights to defend his possession of it. As others have mentioned, this is not a dominance issue, but one of survival. Even the lowest ranking pack members can and will defend their possession of a valued resource. Just looking at the facts and events in this incident, I would say that you pushed Boyden beyond his threshold of what he is able to deal with without feeling threatened. While I think that you handled it correctly by getting yourself to safety, I also think that this "victory" for Boyden probably served as a powerful reinforcement for the behavior. It worked for him. There are a couple of routes you could go with this. One is to simply use preventive management and feed the dogs in their crates. If Boyden is on NILIF (which it sounds like he should be), simply have Boyden follow a few commands to earn his meal, then put him in his crate with it and leave him in peace. By not ever being bothered or pestered while he eats, he will be able to relax around mealtime, whereas now, it seems that mealtime is somewhat of a production where his instincts are being toyed with on a regular basis (I don't mean that in a derogatory way; I understand your need to work with him and your dedication to doing so, and I think it is admirable). Another option is to actively work to change his resource guarding behavior (which is what it sounds like you've been doing). I'm curious what resources you have used thus far to help you design your treatment protocol for Boyden? What books, trainers, videos, etc. have you used to help you gain insight and plan the best ways to help Boyden relax around feeding time? Do you belong to the Agbeh list? Or, are you just flying by the seat of your pants? An additional thought is that it's possible that he begins to get emotionally aroused before he even has food in his possession, making your efforts to change his behavior less likely to be successful because he is already in an aroused state to begin with. Dogs have a keen sense of smell, which is directly linked to the hypothalamus and can trigger emotional reactions; if he's already catching a whiff of that pork shoulder the moment you walk in the door, he's very likely already getting anxious about it way before it's even in his mouth; think about separation anxiety and how so many dogs pick up cues that their human is about to leave LONG before the person walks out the door, and how the cycle of anxiety begins long before the actual leaving. One of the keys to behavior modification is to keep the dog in a relaxed and happy emotional state before, during, and after behavior mod exercises. This means that you start with very low value resources (pork shoulder is obviously of very high value to Boyden) and work your way slowly up the ladder to the more high value resources at a snail's pace. Changing Boyden's behavior may take literally years, and success may be quite limited. He may reach a plateau beyond which progress will not occur, because he has limitations. You may find that you can get him to happily munch on a baby carrot with Fynne six inches from his face, but that expecting him to relax with Fynne anywhere nearby while he has a hunk of raw oxtail is a bit too much to ask. Now to my suggestions; I would recommend feeding all meals in crates. Don't feed them at different times; they both get meals at the same time as one another every day. Have them "kennel up" before you prepare the food, waiting in their crates for you to bring it. It's really important to establish a PREDICTABLE routine so that Boyden always knows what to expect. Keep their crates out of sight of one another. Give Fynne her food, close the door, then have Boyden come out of his crate and follow a few FUN commands (commands that perk him up, that he likes to follow; this will do two things; it will keep him deferring to you in order to earn access to his meals and it will make him feel happy with food around), then put him in his crate with his food and walk away. When mealtime is over, go to Fynne's crate first, remove the empty dish, then give her the verbal release to come out. Make sure she leaves the room, then go over to Boyden's crate, remove the empty dish, then give him the verbal okay to come out. If you ever give Fynne anything to chew on or enjoy in her crate, close the door to that room so that Boyden CANNOT go in there and menace her, and vice versa; if you give Boyden something to enjoy in his crate, close the door to the room so that Fynne cannot go in there and pester Boyden. Their crates should be a safe haven where they can relax and do not have to deal with each other pestering or menacing one another. In the meantime, make a list of different resources that Boyden values, starting with the most low value and working up to the most high value. Start with the most low value and work with that for a while; a few weeks at least, before moving up the list. Instead of sitting between the dogs and taking away what Boyden has, have the dogs in a downstay across the room from one another. If you are concerned about safety, use tiedowns to prevent them from being able to leave their position. Hold the low value food in your hands (or the food cut up into bite sized pieces in a container of some sort), and walk between the dogs, first going to Fynne and saying her name, then giving her a piece of the food. Then immediately walk over to Boyden and say his name, and give him a piece of food (make sure he is in a down before giving it to him). Go back and forth between them in this manner about four to six times. Play this game a couple of times per day, keeping them in downstays across the room from one another. Make sure not to drop any crumbs and to use up all the food in your hands, so that when you release them from their downstays there is nothing to fight over. Only decrease the distance between the dogs when Boyden can remain in a RELAXED downstay before, during, and after the exercise. When you decrease the distance, only do so in a teeny tiny increment, like two inches. When the dogs can remain in relaxed downstays within four feet of one another (there is no hard staring, tense body, etc., but rather, they are relaxed and happy with soft eyes, loose tails, etc.), go ahead and move up the list to the next resource, but go back to your original distance of across the room and work back up to being closer together. The object of this game is to teach Boyden that when Fynne gets something good, it means good things are coming to him too. He will see you going over to Fynne and be able to predict that you are about to come over to him next. Since you're not taking anything away from him, he's not apprehensive about being relieved of his valued resource, but rather, is looking forward to recieving something good from you, so his emotional state will be relaxed and happy rather than guarded and suspicious. And, this will be in the presence of Fynne, which will help set up a positive association with her presence when food is also involved. Other than this time when you are doing this exercise, keep them separated when food is involved, PERIOD. The only time he has to be around Fynne when food is involved should be during this exercise, and no other time. I would strongly caution you that if you do this exercise, do not push things too fast. It's so important that Boyden be relaxed; you seem to have a very good grasp of canine body language that you should be able to tell when he is relaxed and when he might be getting a bit aroused. Never EVER increase the difficulty of the exercise if there is ANY indication that Boyden is not totally relaxed. That is the hard part, is that behavior modification is a very slow process that relies on working at the dog's pace, and many humans become impatient and want to work at their pace instead, which usually results in the dog backsliding into the unwanted behavior because they have been pushed too far too fast. I would also highly recommend looking into Dr. Karen Overall's protocol for relaxation and working with Boyden on this, without Fynne present at first, then gradually adding her in but at a very low level to start. Here's a link to a great website that has a lot of resources that could help you out: http://www.k9aggression.com/ Of course, I'm glad you're looking at the medical angle on this as well. It's hard to work with a dog on behavioral issues when medical problems may be exacerbating the behavior. I'd find it difficult to want to deal with another dog in my face or my human taking away my food if I wasn't feeling well. Good luck. I'm curious to hear what the behaviorist has to say.
  5. My reaction to your question is that once it gets to the point of nipping/biting, it's already gone too far. You should have reacted to change the situation long before it got to that point, and you should not be putting enough stress on your dog that a bite is likely to occur. Sometimes things happen very quickly though, and it can be hard to pre-empt every possible scenario. For that reason, it may be a good idea to practice likely situations ahead of time; for instance, imagine a small child is running up to pet the doggy. What would you do? Actually practice the physical motions with your dog right there on leash, so that if it does happen, you've already practiced what you need to do. Practice stepping in front of your dog with your hand extended in the "universal stop signal", and say "STOP!" in a commanding and assertive tone of voice. People might think you're crazy if you practice this on the street while walking your dog, but it's better to be thought insane than to have your dog bite a "well meaning if not ignorant about dog behavior" human. Then practice your talk on how it's not a good idea to approach dogs that you don't know, and that you should always ask the dog's owner for permission before ever petting a dog you don't know. At the moment of a bite or a nip, my reaction would be to get the dog the heck out of that situation first and foremost. Either put the dog in the car if you've driven to the location, in the house if you're near home, in the other room if you're at home, or if you're away from home and have no place to put the dog, just back the dog off to a safe distance. Next, if anyone was bitten or nipped, make contact with them and find out the extent of any damage, apologize profusely, and offer to pay for medical treatment.
  6. Quote: "I would *definitely* suggest desensitizing him, like Lisa suggested! Have your whole family wear hats, masks, umbrellas, and other strange apparel in a controlled environment in your home. Give him lots of treats and praise when he doesn't react to the item of clothing. After he's gotten used to you wearing it, have your neighbors wear a hat or mask and have him on a leash with the neighbors offering him treats. Gradually take him out in public, leashed, where a lot of people wear hats, glasses, and strange clothing. He NEEDS to get used to it - people wear strange clothes everywhere.". _________________________ Erica, I hope you don't think I'm picking on you, but I would NOT recommend starting desensitization this way. The dog needs to be aware of these strange things at a distance from them that he is NOT going to have a negative reaction. The point is to PREVENT any negative emotional reactions to the stimulus by controlling the intensity of the stimulus, while creating a positive association. By allowing for the option of the dog having a negative reaction (a lot of people seem to think that desensitization is simply exposing the dog to the scary thing, and when the dog doesn't "act aggressive" you reward him; this is not exactly accurate and can lead to a lot of problems), you're setting him up for failure, and the problem could actually escalate. It's really important that while you are working on desensitization, you eliminate your dog's exposure to things that he finds frightening, as much as possible. That means that he should be able to be around people he knows and trusts, but if you have any question about how he might react to someone, better to not have contact. It might be tempting to "test" him to see if your efforts are working; do not do this. If he has a negative reaction, it can set your efforts back light years. Also, I would absolutely NOT recommend having neighbors or strangers wear strange things and encourage the dog to approach for food. What happens when the dog approaches a strange looking person thinking that they will have food, but they do not? Then the dog is in close enough proximity to the person that if he does become frightened, he can easily land a bite. Since you already know that he will approach and bite someone that he is afraid of, it might be better to teach him not to approach scary people. A safer starting point would be to pinpoint one particular item of attire that he finds frightening. Determine the distance from the person wearing that attire that he can be without being afraid. Is it ten feet away? Fifty feet? Does the person need to be a dot on the horizon in order for him to not be frightened? That's where you start, under a controlled environment, on leash, with the dog feeling *zero* threat, period. Determining whether he is frightened is not simply evidenced by a lack of "aggressive behavior". A dog can be very stressed but not growling, barking, lunging, or snapping. This can easily be seen by the dog's other nonverbal behaviors, such as posture, ear carriage, facial expression, etc. An open mouth, relaxed ears, soft eyes, loose tail, etc., are all pretty good indicators that the dog is relaxed. Also check if the dog's pupils are dilated. Dilated pupils indicate sympathetic nervous system activation, which is basically "fight or flight" reflex in response to a percieved threat. Also, can the dog take treats? If the dog won't take treats, won't follow known commands, won't pay attention to the handler, etc., that's a pretty good indication that the dog is under a lot of stress. Another thing to look for is if he locks his eyes onto the person and it's difficult to get him to look away. That indicates that he is wary of that person. You want to be able to get him to look at you easily with the scary person around. He shouldn't be snatching treats roughly while staring at the person out of the corner of his eyes, but rather, should be relaxed and able to give you his full focus and take treats as gently as he normally does when he's happy. You might need enough distance to start that you can't really do this in your living room. You may need to start in an empty parking lot where you can get enough space between the dog and the person wearing the scary item that your dog can be relaxed and happy while you stuff him full of treats. One session would consist of the person just standing at that safe distance while you feed your dog treats for thirty seconds, then move the dog further away while stopping all goodies, for about ten to fifteen seconds. When moving the dog away, lure him by holding a treat in your closed fist and say "this way" or "go away" or "let's go" or whatever phrase you like, as you lure him to turn and move away from the scary person (this will come in handy later if he is actually frightened by someone; you can get him to move away rather than approach and bite). Move the dog back closer, but remaining within the safe distance, and repeat. Do this only three or four times per session, once per day or every other day. When that becomes so easy for him that he is totally relaxed and happy as evidenced by his body language and behavior, then decrease the safe distance in a tiny little increment, such as two feet. Again, repeat the exposure at that distance for a few sessions in a row, until he is totally relaxed and happy at that distance. Over time, you can progress until the person is just out of leash range, and your dog remains relaxed and happy because he is getting his face stuffed with treats. Just remember that any time you change a component, whether it be the item of clothing, the person wearing it, the person's behavior while wearing it, your location, etc., you need to start way back at the beginning, at that initial safe distance, and move up from there. Don't just assume that because he is great around your neighbor wearing the hockey mask that he will be great around your child with a big clown wig. They are very different situations, and each situation needs to be broken down into its smallest parts and worked on from there. This is NOT a quick fix, it will take a lot of time and work. Also, a note on treats. These should not be kibble, dry dog biscuits, or even commercially prepared dog treats for that matter. The treats should be things like: roasted pork chop, steak, chicken, liver, etc. Basically real "human" food, cooked and chopped into bean-sized pieces. They should be kept easily accessible in a ziplock bag inside a treat pouch worn on your waist. You can get meat on sale or if you eat meat, just buy a little extra for training whenever you go shopping for your food. That way, it doesn't have to be hard on the pocketbook. The only time he should ever get these goodies is during desensitization training. A note on locations: Use a variety of locations. Don't always train at the same place every time. Find three or four different places that you can train, and rotate. Avoid places where you are likely to encounter a lot of people, dogs, or activity. Parks and school yards should not be used, at least not yet. You'll get there some day, but to start, you really need an environment that you can control a little better, such as a church parking lot in the middle of the week, a bank parking lot after hours, etc. Industrial areas can work well, as there may not be a lot of foot traffic. And lastly, remember that he will behave differently while "on territory" than while off. That means that he might be great about the guy in the big sombrero when you're down at the bank parking lot, but the guy with the big sombrero walking into your yard is a different matter altogether. I personally don't think you should try doing these exercises on territory until you've gotten a good grasp of how it works and how to read your dog and how to set up appropriate exercises while away from home. When starting at home, you'll need to set him up to succeed, and you'll be better able to do that once you get some experience under your belt. This is just for starters. There is a lot more that you can and should do, but this should give you a good place to begin. Good luck!
  7. "You can get a reaction from him by walking oddly, putting on a costume, even donning a hat.". Aside from exercising extreme caution in supervising your dog, I would suggest working on the above quoted issue to reduce his level of reactivity toward those types of things. You may never make him totally comfortable around "odd" things, and you can't cover every single base, but you can at least do some work that might help make him less likely to react negatively in the future. If you're interested in doing this type of thing, PM me and I'd be happy to help with some ideas.
  8. Also practice calling her to you and rewarding her when she is NOT actively engaged in going after something appealing. What she is saying to you when she looks over her shoulder is "Yeah, I hear you, but this over here is more interesting!". Get her into the habit of thinking of you as the most interesting thing in town. She might also be checking to see that you're still there. Another thing you might try is moving quickly away from her. Call her once, and start moving off rapidly. When I was having troubles with Lucy going after ducks in the pond and turning her ears off, this is what I did. I'd just call her once, then take off down the trail out of sight. She ALWAYS came when she saw that I was leaving. If I just stood there on the bank calling her, she'd just keep going after the duck. After a few reps of calling-once-then-leaving, every time I called her, she started automatically turning back toward shore when I called her name. And of course, whenever she came to me, even if I had to make her think I was leaving to get her to come, I'd reward her like crazy with mostly praise, petting, and a small treat. Then I'd say "OKAY!!!!" and we'd race back down to the pond. As far as food, what have you tried? I've found that most dogs can't resist garlic baked liver.
  9. I remember reading about the toilet thing too, but I've never seen a tick actually crawl back out of the toilet once flushed. I suppose it's possible. As far as leaving them on until Friday, the longer they remain attached, the greater the risk of disease transmission. It really is safer for the dog to remove ticks promptly.
  10. I would just pull them out. It's not that tricky, really. Just grasp as close to the mouthparts as you can with a pair of fine nosed tweezers and pull with firm, steady pressure. They should come out whole (and alive...shudder). I dispose of the bodies by putting them in some toilet paper and flushing them down the toilet. If the head is still in the dog, just clean the area with some hydrogen peroxide and apply some neosporin and keep an eye on it. The head should come out in a few days. It's always possible that there may be more ticks on the dog that have not attached yet, so keep checking on a daily basis and removing them as needed. The most popular tick watering hole seems to be on the top of the head, near the base of the pinnae (ear flaps). Be sure to wash your hands and the tweezers thoroughly with warm water and soap afterward. As far as preventatives, I use Frontline (only during the tick seasons, when it's warm and wet outside; during the rest of the year I don't bother) because it's waterproof, and I live in a rainy climate and Lucy will swim if she gets a chance. Plus if she rolls in something nasty, I'd like to be able to bathe her without having to reapply the pesticides.
  11. My Labrador Retriever had a Tibial Plateu Leveling Osteotomy for his torn ACL in 2002. His recovery went smoothly, and he is able to use that leg as if nothing had ever happened.
  12. I have never had this problem with any of my dogs, but I have known a few people who's dogs are always tearing up their pads. Have you noticed if it's a particular surface that seems to do it? I know they make pad tougheners that you "paint" on the dog's pads, but I have never used them and cannot vouch for their safety or efficacy.
  13. My understanding is that the fuzzy covering on the outside of tennis balls is simply wool felt. Silica (and other materials) is added to the rubber, not the felt. From what I can gather, it is not the glue that holds the felt onto the rubber, or some chemical substance in the felt, but rather, the dirt that is picked up in the felt of the ball, that has a sandpaper-like effect on dogs' teeth.
  14. I think the bringsel alert is actually pretty cool! I've seen it used and it's pretty neat. Here are a couple of interesting sites I found just surfing on the topic of bringsels: http://community-2.webtv.net/Hahn-50thAP-K9/K9History2/ http://www.naavaparran.com/eng/high/b004.htm
  15. Okay, I just wanted to check. I figured in Japan it would probably be disaster work. A good book for wildnerness SAR is "Ready" by Susan Bulanda. I have not done any disaster training at all (we do wilderness), so I don't know of any good books. Here are a few sites I found; I don't know if they will be of any help to you: http://www.fema.gov/usr/srdogt.shtm http://www.montanasearchdogs.com/articles/...er_training.htm http://www.ndsdf.org/pages/story.htm BTW, I didn't train a bark alert on Lucy. I just couldn't get her to bark! Lucy does a jump alert (jumps up on my chest). I probably wouldn't advise that if you're working in rubble piles, though, LOL. Sometimes I even question the wisdom of the jump alert in a wilderness setting, when she comes tearing at me like a speeding bullet and slams into me HARD. I should probably be wearing a mouth guard. Yep, I think you would do better by the bark alert!
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