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Posts posted by NorthfieldNick

  1. Late last week, Friday maybe, I couldn't access the boards. Now that I can, the little Border Collie silhouettes in front of the board titles that are black when there's a new post are always grey. The icons within the subject boards are missing entirely. I tried signing out & back in since the board looks like it does when you visit as a guest, but that didn't help. I'm on a Mac, using Safari, never had any trouble before.



  2. You weren't by chance at the Ballard Seafood fest on Sunday, were you? I was there, and met a Border Collie pup about the age of yours who had that funny spot on the side of his muzzle. Don't know the pup's name- I honestly didn't ask- was too overwhelmed by the cute!


    Also, my old dog, who is now nearly 16, has a tongue that hangs out. It REALLY stuck out when he was working. Now it just makes him look like a senile old man, which is pretty accurate. It only caused a problem a time or two when he'd bite his tongue while working.

  3. My dogs know:


    Don't stick your face in the kitty! (ie, quit pestering the ancient old cat)

    Don't harass the chickens!



    I regularly work both my dogs together, and if I attach a name to command, only that dog will take it (usually...), whereas if I just say, for example, "come bye", both dogs will flank. It's pretty handy when moving 100 ewes in tall grass to have two dogs behind them!

  4. Thanks, everyone.


    We basically don't have fleas here. No ticks, either. (Or skunks, or possums. Living on an island has a few perks). I don't know anyone locally who treats for fleas; even our barn cats never seem to pick them up.


    Sue, we already use no-dye, no-perfume detergent. We're on a touchy septic system...


    Hoot seems to be doing a bit better after a bath. I have some medicated shampoo around somewhere, which I think probably has the ketoconazole in it- it was prescribed for our old Lab who grows more yeast than a bread factory.

  5. Most of the corvids (crows, jays, ravens) have been shown to pass down "culture" to their offspring. For a great deal of fascinating reading on ravens, especially, that is very accessible even to non-science minds, check out Mind of the Raven and Ravens in Winter by Bernd Henirich. Many of his other books also contain observations of the corvids. Be warned, though, you may find yourself seeking out more of his books- he's an absolutely fascinating naturalist and incredible writer.


    While I believe animals have a far more conscious & cognitive understanding of the world than we give them credit for, "animal communication" with humans can often be explained by our own empathy. A person who was not an "animal person" would have shooed the noisy jay away, or ignored the duck. They probably wouldn't even have noticed a change in the duck's behaviour.


    While part of what made domestication of certain species (like dogs) possible was humans' learning to read animal body language & behaviour, another part was animals learning to read ours. Wild animals survive by observing their surroundings, and altering their behaviours to suit. It is no stretch at all to think that wild animals observe our behaviour and how it affects them, and alter their decision-making processes to get the most benefits from our behaviours.


    Inter-species communication in nature is also well-documented. Ravens, for example, who can not open a frozen carcass will raise a ruckus to attract a larger scavenger (wolves, bears, wolverines) to open the carcass so they can feed. Conversely, ravens will follow large predators so they can take advantage of the other animal's kills. Nearly all prey animals have a very well-developed ability to read their predators' body language. Many songbirds, especially in winter, travel in mixed flocks where they learn to "understand" each other's calls. Small mammals & birds on the American prairies who live in the vicinity of prairie dog towns learn the dogs' different calls for different predators & react accordingly.


    Can you tell I have a degree in animal behaviour? :) I love this stuff, totally fascinating.

  6. Hoot, my slightly neurotic, bananas crazy, almost 4-yr-old has, for the first time, developed what appear to be allergies. He's been itching like crazy, he's licked patches on his hind feet & front legs nearly bald. His ears have been filthy, and both ears & feet smell very yeasty. I've been cleaning his ears & feet with a solution we have for the old Lab who gets infected ears every year (it's labeled for skin & ears; vet okay'ed use on Hoot).


    He's been on fish oil for years, and I started him on coconut oil recently. I tried giving him benadryl, and it made it him more tweaky & reactive than normal.


    On the list for toady is a bath with medicated shampoo.


    It's haying season here, and the grass is very tall with seed heads everywhere. Keeping Hoot out of the grass isn't really possible- he's a working dog, and we move sheep almost every day.


    To compound things, It's July 4th, and Hoot's reaction to the fireworks seems to be to stress lick.


    After this week, I'm taking him back to the vet, but in the meantime, does anyone have any solutions/ideas/magic fixes?


    This has been the solution thus far, but it only works when I'm awake & can keep him from tearing the socks off. (Really. He waits until we're asleep to pull the socks off, and leaves them neatly next to his bed.)



  7. Nick was quite grey as a pup. I've been told that blue dogs often have very fine, dense coats, which is definitely true in Nick's case. His coat is very soft- I could probably spin his undercoat into some pretty nice yarn. It also mats like crazy. The absurdly fluffy butt is an inherited trait, apparently- his father & brothers have it, too.


    Here are a couple of photos I could find quickly, plus one of Hoot for comparison.




    Nick, looking handsome.




    Nick, looking like a dork.




    Hoot (barely-there tri), looking like he always does: crazy.


    Hm. Guess my dogs have a thing for "sticks", ie, firewood they steal from the woodshed.

  8. My Nick is blue, not merle. He's a black & white dog with two copies of a recessive dilute gene. Essentially, he's a washed out standard-issue black & white dog. He's grayish-brown- people often think he's just extremely dusty :) His father is a tri, mother mostly black. Nick's grandfather sired one blue pup, but other than that, the lines haven't produced others, AFAIK. Nick is nothing but working lines, both his parents were talented trial & farm dogs.


    The dilute gene is what causes bucksin, palomino, cremello, and perlino in horses. It's a color modifier.

  9. These arguments remind of when I was young (and really dumb & stubborn), and argued about how livestock was raised on a vegetarian board. Someone older, and kinder, finally pointed out that, no matter how nicely/humanely, etc I thought an animal was raised, it didn't matter, because the people on that board didn't believe in killing animals for any reason.

  10. Rachel, where in NE Ohio are you?


    I'm a Cleveland native, and will be moving to Cincinnati this fall, with my two stockdogs, to return to school. I'm certainly not a trainer, and I'm not even a very good trial handler, but I've been to & entered a lot of them (glutton for punishment, I guess). My boys are used to working sheep nearly every day, and I hope to continue in some respect in OH (obviously not with my own flock- moving 100 sheep across the country isn't practical). If we're ever at the same trial, I'd be happy to explain things to you, if you still have questions. The stockdog community is really friendly, so don't be afraid to ask your fellow spectators.


    Don't worry about being perfect at your first trial, either. In my first nov/nov run, I ran the sheep over the judge. Literally. I still managed to make it to Open with that dog!

  11. The farm/barn dog we had when I was a kid, a black mutt of unknown heritage, got skunked at least twice a year. He had some sort of vendetta against them- he'd get sprayed, and just keep going after the varmints. He was a semi-feral rescue who panicked indoors, and was not super keen on being handled for a bath. A swim in Lake Erie usually fixed it. Should have put us off from swimming in the lake, but it never did...


    Hopefully, Ness didn't make it inside before you realised she'd been skunked! That's the worst! Skunked dog comes running in the door, THEN the stench hits you. I'm so glad we don't have skunks here...

  12. I'm apparently incapable of owning a dog that hasn't been on an airplane. I've flown dogs across the US, and one internationally, although not overseas. They all did just fine, even my noise-sensitive, weirdo young dog. All my dogs are 100% comfortable in a crate, though.


    My experience flying a dog across the US/Canada border was great. It got me through customs ahead of 300 other people! Just be darn sure to have all your paperwork ready, handy, and UNEXPIRED! My young dog spent just barely long enough in Canada that I had to take him to a vet there to get a new health certificate. I carried extra copies of all the paperwork, etc with me, just in case.

  13. Send her to me :)/> Nick has been a wiggler-licker for almost 9 years, and we love it. He's learned to "air lick" at certain people who don't like the actual contact, although there wasn't any actual teaching. He's a very intuitive dog & picks things like that up all the time.


    Sorry, that's not much help... Nick will at least "go lie down" or "back off" when told.

  14. For those of you who never got to meet Tess, she was a real character. I'm not sure what she loved more: to work, or to eat. At trials, she'd make the rounds, mooching any food from whoever would give it to her. She mastered the poor, neglected dog look :) Everyone locally knew & recognized Tess, luckily, otherwise, I think she would have been a total sausage! She knew she ruled the roost, though, and would steal any tasty bit she wanted from the other dogs.


    Tess wasn't a flashy worker, but she was a good worker. By the time she "retired" just about anyone could have taken her out to do farm work. Tess knew what to do & how to get it done. Woe be on you if you gave her a command she didn't think was right, though. You'd get a look that said, "I know more than you do, sit down, shut up, and let me get this done!" Tess was often the "pro" in a pro-nov team. I was scribing at a trial when, at the beginning of one run, the judge asked in amazement if I knew the dog & handler at the post. I looked up to see Tess doing an "out-walk" (a trademark move of her's) with a novice-ish handler at the post. I laughed & told the judge, "That's Tess. She's certifiably old, but she'll get moving when she gets to the top." Sure enough, Tess marched her sheep around the course.


    Tess was just as happy to run to the house after work to watch TV with Diane's husband, Getty, as she was to work stock. She was truly a special dog, who will always have a special place in Diane & Getty's hearts. Tess has offspring (several generations, at this point) out there carrying on her legacy, as well.

  15. My boys, who work stock pretty much every day, learned that harassing stock on the other side of a fence is not allowed. A quick glance, or a hopeful gaze I'm okay with, but continued fence running, barking, etc results in getting put up. All bets are off with pigs & my young dog, but with the pigs, it's a two-way game. The pigs initiate the running (which they do, too!) if the dog isn't doing it. Young dog is also smart enough to stay away from the fence when a sow has piglets.


    It took some removal/distraction/ correction for my young dog to get that he doesn't work stock unless I ask. My older dog just gets it, but he's perfect :) They can learn the difference between working time & down time.


    I absolutely can not leave one dog loose while I work the other one. I end up working brace. They're fine, if a bit whiny, if tied.

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