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Riley-dog's Achievements


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  1. Thank you for the suggestions. I've been reading Click To Calm today. It's very well written and I think it will be very applicable to our situation. I was happy to see that it was available as an ebook. I also ordered Mine. Riley responds very well to hubby when I'm not around or if he is not approaching one of his trigger zones that I mentioned... my office or bedroom while I'm in it. He will respond to his commands and show him a great deal of affection. Hubby already performs about half of the feeding and care. I think a training method that incorporates having hubby ask for a specific response and having Riley respond for a treat will be the best approach. Very much what is advocated in Click to Calm. Redirect him to an appropriate behavior at or before the first sign of aggression... the hard stare. I'm realizing that I've really neglected Riley's training. I was on top of it when he was a pup and had so much to learn and then at some point I just expected the good, consistent behavior as status quo and stopped putting in so much effort. Less positive training and more correction. Time to get back to work training back in the good behaviors and consistency.
  2. We came to the agreement last night that we would hold off on having children until the dogs passed on of old age. I will have several years to convince him that our children should not be dog-less even after their toddler years are over. At that point I'll have backup as well. I would still appreciate any references to good behaviorists in the central Maryland, Northern VA area and any other good books or websites about preventing the resource guarding of people. The last few days I've been successful by avoiding the situations that I know really set him off, namely being in my office or laying in bed when my husband approaches. Riley is either kenneled or outside at those times. Most of the articles I'm finding seem to suggest that the resource guarding is based on the idea that the dog values your attention and does not want to share... just like guarding a bone. I notice that Riley's guarding behavior escalates the more distracted or vulnerable I am. For instance, if I'm folding laundry in the bedroom he only looks hard at my husband when he enters. If I am sleeping, or laying down, he will growl. Likewise if I am in a happy or conversational mood when husband comes home, he is only mildly agitated when he enters my office. If I am engrossed in work and should not be disturbed, Riley is much more demonstrative. Other than controlling where he is when hubby enters and making him the "treat man" does anyone have other training suggestions? No amount of correction from me has made a difference in the behavior.
  3. I am definitely female... I don't remember ever seeing a place to select gender so it must have been the default. Thank you all for the kind posts and support. You've reminded me of the person I thought I was and would like to be and lent strength to my convictions. My husband has shown no ill will towards Riley these past few days and even seemed to be bonding with him tonight when the fireworks frightened Riley into cowering on his lap. He has not growled at him in several days. He's been remarking at how good he has been. I'm hoping that letting some more time pass will soften him and when the conversation arises again I will propose that we simply wait to have children if he feels so strongly that we not have the dogs then. I am 29, he is 27 so we have some time and I feel that is a fair compromise. My first post here was in the midst of a long night of screaming, tears and anger. I felt pressured to react and decide immediately. I needed help. We've revisited the conversation a few times but nerves are still frayed. I had not thought of the possibility that I would resent him for making me give up Riley but I feel that would be the case. This marriage thing is hard.
  4. I deserve all the beratings you can dish out about allowing Riley to be put in that situation. It was irresponsible. It was a mistake. In 9 years I've never allowed him to be around any but the most dog savvy kids who he responded well to. He was responding very well to Greyson before the party started and things were quiet. Even when he was zooming around with his truck toys, Riley was relaxed. The tragedy was my failure. All the dogs had been outside most of the afternoon and were let in to warm up and greet everyone before being kenneled up. I should have been more vigilant. I should have insisted that he be left outside or taken directly to his crate. Yes, I made a huge mistake and now my friend is paying the price. Yes I'd like to throttle whoever gave the toddler a giant piece of meat on the floor in the midst of 4 large dogs but the responsibility still rests on me. I am the dog owner. I don't remember much of my own dog bite, but my family does. My face was torn open from one side to the other, completely through my cheeks. I can feel the ridges of the scars with my tongue. I was 23 months old. I had a phenomenal surgeon and the marks are just faint lines now. Most people don't even notice them since the worst one hides in the "laugh line" along my cheek. My grandmother almost committed suicide after the incident, blaming herself because it was her dog and I was under her supervision. No one knew how disfigured I'd be. So, I know I am biased, but I know first hand what a good dog can do and I still believe that any dog that aggressively bites a child should be humanely euthanized. Once it is established that the dog is a risk, no family should have to go through what mine has. The point here is that Riley was not acting aggressively and both my mother and brother (Greyson's father) who witnessed the bite said the same thing. Yes I'd like to throttle whoever gave a giant piece of bologna to a toddler in the middle of four dogs but it still remains my responsibility. We had all started out being very careful, always having the dogs put away when Greyson visited. Eventually we started letting down our guard. The whole situation cemented in my husband's mind that no dog is trustworthy around children. Accidents happen. I have told him I have no concerns about Sarah but it is his decision and he does not want the dogs here if we have children of our own. My original post was written in a state of extreme emotional distress. Things have calmed down a bit. My husband is treating Riley very well. I thought the guarding was minor... barking when he arrives home, and we have been working on the growling when entering a room. He is nothing like the cases you see on TV where two people can't even sit on a couch together. It has been a long battle working with this behavior and we have made great progress. Most of it before my husband came into my life. Partly it has been teaching my husband how to behave properly around Riley. Not being so excited and stirring him up when he gets home. Announcing his precense and starting a conversation with me before just barging into a room. Getting him to redirect Riley to a task instead of getting angry with him. I guess I didn't realize what a problem it had become for him until this incident brought everything up. Two years ago it would never have occurred to me that I would ever choose a man over my dog. Anyone who I thought would present me with that ultimatum would not have lasted long in my life. We married quickly, and while there was friction between the two, I did not think it would come to this. My husband understood, or at least I thought he understood, what Riley meant to me. I made a commitment to both. No I don't think his ultimatum is fair at all but I can also understand his reasoning that no animal is worth risking a child's life. And I am not prepared to simply show him the door. I had agreed that if the dogs showed aggression towards our children, they would be re-homed. Now he believes that NO DOG is safe around children and that having the dogs is an unacceptable risk. Once we have children, I could separate them, but even if I was perfectly adept at keeping them apart, what kind of life is that for Riley? My husband and I both work full time. Once we have kids, what time am I going to have that I am not with them? He is a spry and healthy 9 year old who could have 5-8 more years of happiness in the right home. If I thought he'd be miserable without me and wouldn't adapt to another home I wouldn't consider it. But he is outgoing, adaptable, and but for a few manageable quirks (no apartments because of the howling and no kids), he is a great dog. I hope that my husband and I can come to another compromise. I hope he will understand that Riley did not react with aggression. But I don't believe I will be able to change his mind that the dogs need to be gone when we have children. And I'm aware that it's an "if" and not a "when". I believe it would be in Riley's best interest to find a home where he will continue to be loved and adored. Luckily I am in the position right now where I have time. I'm not going to dump him in a shelter or pass him off to the first takers. He would be a great companion for a single person, older couple, or older family. Or even a younger couple that has no plans for children. Things are calming down here and the emotions are settling. My husband is willing to work with me with a behaviorist to address the guarding issues. I have been able to convey what Riley means to me but he is still adamant that we will not be dog owners when we bring our own children home. If anyone can recommend an animal behaviorist in the area to work with I would appreciate it. We are in central Maryland. I know it is easy to pass judgement and I would have been the first person to say send him packing, or call me a terrible person for not having the foresight to see this coming. It's quite another thing when you're the one having to live it and you're trying to do your best to keep your family together.
  5. Riley needs to find a new home and I am devastated. This past spring I got married. Riley tolerated his change in sleeping arrangements (crate instead of on the bed) and his new roommate (3 year old English Mastiff, Sarah) well but he continued with his habit of guarding me if I was sleeping or lying down in a room by growling at anyone who wants to enter. My husband tolerated his quirks and hyperactivity until a horrible incident this week. We were visiting my family for Christmas and my brother was there with my 20 month old nephew, Greyson. There were 4 dogs there, Riley and Sarah along with Dudley (Dane X Lab) and Lucy a Golden Retriever. There was 13 other people milling about the kitchen. I was very pleased with how well Riley was reacting to Greyson as he had been fearful around other children and I worried that he could be a fear biter if cornered. He ignored the toddler as he moved about and didn't even give him a hairy eyeball. Suddenly, Greyson was screaming and bleeding and I was told that Riley had bitten him. I myself was bitten as a 1 year old child in the face and ended up with 250 stitches and large permanent scars. My family went through hell. Immediately on hearing the news, I knew I'd have to put Riley down. Luckily Greyson had only a very small nick on his lip that quickly stopped bleeding. But still, I knew it would have to be done. When I pulled my mom aside to assure her that I'd do the responsible thing she told me, NO, that Riley had not acted aggressively as all. Greyson had been given a large piece of ring bologna that was half stuffed in his mouth and Riley had only been going for what he thought was an offered treat... or stealing it, I can't be sure. We, of all families, understand that devastation that a "good dog" can inflict on a child. It was a wake up call. We were beyond lucky. If Dudley had lunged for the bologna he might not have been so accurate. It is a simple enough thing to keep Riley away from my nephew who we only see several times a year. It will be another thing when we start our own family, which could be less than a year away. My husband wants the dogs gone for tthe safety of our upcoming children. I love my dog. He has been my best friend and truest companion for the past 8 years. I can't begin to describe the emotional turmoil that has been the past few days. In the end, I understand my husband's concern, and I won't choose a dog over him. I am not worried about finding a good home for Sarah. She is young, sweet, lazy and a desirable/unusual breed. I am worried about Riley. He will turn 9 in January. He is a typical high energy BC. He can be overly protective of "his person". He howls when left alone and will break his teeth or a kennel if locked in one in an empty house. He is thunder-phobic... fine if he has a lap to snuggle up on, but he may try to escape from a house and bolt if left alone. He gets along with most female dogs but few males. Riley could also be the most wonderful companion for the right person. He loves people and will smother strangers in kisses. He's a great traveler and will sleep in the car for days on end for multiday road trips. He's extremely obedient. You can call him back by his name or a whistle even if he's in full squirrel/deer/rabbit chase mode. He's perfectly house broken, respects electric fences and lives well with cats as long as they aren't mean. He's healthy, but doesn't tolerate exertion in high humidity well. He loves swimming and running alongside me on trail rides on my horse or bike. He will play ball or frisbee as long as you are willing to throw it. I need to find him a new home. Does anyone know of someone looking for a dog like Riley? Maybe an older, active couple? A family with older children? What is the best way to go about trying to find the right home for him? A BC rescue? He doesn't have to leave right away. I don't know where to start other than asking folks I know who might be able to take him. I have my hopes up that one of my friend's grandparents will be able to take him... I've stayed with them before and they adore Riley and told me if he even needed a home to call them, but they have found another dog since then. I'm hoping... Pic is of Riley and my friend's mini-Aussie at the Rolex 3 day event.
  6. Is there any reason that no one else uses plain "choke" chain collars? I like that they can be bought large enough that a dog can back out of them if they get hung up but they can't if they're clipped to a leash. Indestructible and quick-drying. Riley spends more time wet than dry in the summer. If he's dry for any period of time for vanity's sake I'll throw on his Weaver lone star concho collar. http://www.kyhorse.com/store/dog/lone_star_legend.htm
  7. I taught Riley to accept the administrations of a tooth scaler. If you have good eyesight it is easy to tell the tartar from the tooth surface and it scrapes away quite easily. I do Riley's teeth twice a year or so and he lays quietly with his head on my leg while I work. He really hates tooth brushing, but will nearly fall asleep while I fuss with the scaler. With some bribery I was even able to get my mom's Lab/Dane cross to let me get the worst of it off of his teeth in one session. Dogs rarely get cavities, but the heavy buildup of tartar near the gumline can cause pain and gingivitis. With just a little downward pressure on the tooth at the gumline towards the tip of the tooth those yellow, brown edged irritating layers of tarter flake right off. The vet I worked for used a type of sonic water scraper under anesthesia which was faster, but a good old scaler will do the job just as well. Oh, did a friend's GSD, too. Most dogs don't seem to mind this very much at all. The worst part for them is accepting the restraint to lie still flat out on their side so you can work properly. And yes, I've done this with the approval of a vet watching when the sonic machine broke down. It works.
  8. Wow, I will be following this closely. Riley has suffered dozens of these episodes, but they are unlike the Lab in the video. The first symptom is dragging of the back toes, like Zeke. We'll be trotting along on the pavement and suddenly I hear the slight scrape of his rear toe nails. His tongue will be fully extended and panting hard, then his eyes are unfocused, and he ceases to hear/obey any commands, breaks heel, then the back end starts to stagger. Unlike the Lab, his mental focus is long gone before he starts staggering behind. Also unlike the EIC Lab, his staggering is a full body loss of control, not just from the stifle down. His first episode was at about 6 months, we moved from New Mexico to Pennsylvania. He was very fit for a puppy having spent the summer running free 24/7 with a Dalmatian buddy. We were playing with a frisbee when his hind end started staggering and he fell over. I wet him down and recovery was immediate. One warm night at 18 months he was let out and ran the property quite hard for only 2-3 minutes, after walking upstairs to my room, he staggered and walked straight into a closet door. I picked him up, ran downstairs and jumped into the pool with him. Recovery was immediate. Another severe episode was in 35-40F weather, running after me on my horse... he started slowing down and staggered heavily, became confused and wandered in the wrong direction, could not respond to my voice, I gathered him up, wet him down in a cold creek and recovery was again immediate. As is, completely normal in under 20 seconds. This doesn't seem to fit with the symptoms of heat stoke, the long recovery times and tissue damage. Recovery from his episodes are immediate. He has not had any episodes in dry climates like New Mexico, and Nevada. All were in Missouri, Pennsylvania and Florida. No, I would not say that this is like tying up in horses. Tying up appears as more of a severe muscle cramp/spasms and subsequent lack of control. There does not appear to be any cramping for Riley, more like a nerve and signal issue and then loss of balance and mental faculty. Last summer even walking down 2 flights of steps, relieving himself and walking back up the stairs he would start to stagger and I'd carry him up the steps. This summer, I shaved him to 1 inch and the change has been dramatic. He has not exhibited symptoms unless severely worked hard as in 20mph for over a mile in high heat and humidity where as with a full coat he would not last walking 100 yards. I know this goes against the "dogs coat insulates them from the heat" claims, but the difference is very clear.
  9. I didn't either when I lived in New Mexico or Nevada. Even in 100F, no problems. Back in PA or Missouri in 70F and high humidity and I really have to watch Riley like a hawk for signs of heat stress.
  10. When I was living in New Mexico it was VERY effective to wet down the dog's back. The thick hair there holds water better than the belly and the evaporation creates pretty extreme cold. There's a huge difference when placing your palm on their back dry in the sun. It was burning hot. Then a minute later when it's damp and it's COLD. Not just warm and soggy, but truely ice cold. Riley would go from huge lolling tongue to barely panting in just a few minutes in 90+ degrees. Unfortunately it doesn't work in high humidity (living in Missouri now *grumble, grumble*) and I'm trying to find other ways to deal with his heat sensitivity. I saw many riders using Cool Medic vests very effectively. Once you're wet down it's COLD. The gel crystals slowly release the moisture and the evaporation pulls out the heat. It does not warm up to your body temperature because of the evaporation process. I would think in low humidity this would be really effective on a dog, too. But outside of the arid southwest it won't be half as effective. It's really hard to explain just how well evaporative cooling works unless you've stood underneath a swamp cooler or worn a wet T-shirt in 100F and less than 20% humidity and actually felt cold.
  11. I was thinking metal leash or if you have a choke collar laying around flatten it out and clip the leash to it and clip the other end to her collar so at least the part she can reach to grab is metal.
  12. This is what I'm thinking, too. I have a 250 with running boards as well and I know sometimes it's an effort for Riley to jump just right to get in there. Sometimes he loses his balance a bit and hesitates the next time. I'm thinking maybe she just hurt or scared herself.
  13. I have a diesel truck. If it's hot enough that I'm worried about a dog overheating inside then I don't take the dog anywhere I will have to leave him with the exception of a quick 5-10 minute stop (like grabbing coffee at a gas station on a road trip or milk on my way home from the barn) where I'll leave the truck and AC running and lock it (I have a second key). I've left him WITH me in the truck idleing on a runway in Hobbs, NM in the summer time high temps for over an hour so I'm not worried about it being reliable for a quick run into a store.
  14. You have very little recourse if the medication is wrong with a regular prescription for Heartgard in the US. The internet is littered with horror stories. Most vets in cold regions also don't advocate year round use which in itself violates Heartgard policy. If the animal is going to go into distress after the administration of 136 mcg of ivermectin whether it's HeartGard or generic the result is the same. I choose not to pay $50.00 for the amount of a drug I can buy for $2.00 just to line a company's pockets and fuel their ad campaign. Why spend $10.00 for a 5 pill pack of Claritin when I can buy 150ct bottle of 10mg loratadine for $10.00? Which by the way used to be prescription and now is not. I'm interested to hear how a subsidiary of the largest prescription mail order drug companies in Canada is a "fly by night internet company". Actually if you wanted to completely empty the tube, thoroughly mix the ingredients, computate the volume necessary and exactly extract that amount then by all means buy horse wormer. It just isn't practical when there is a liquid version available and I don't know enough people who could do that accurately enough that I would recommend it on a BB. It's not just about weight, either. You would just have to use a smaller syringe. Obviously the markings on a tube of horse wormer are not going to be very helpful. A solid like a Heartgard chewey doesn't settle and separate like a paste wormer can hence the comparison is not similar.
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