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Everything posted by mbc1963

  1. Not to make light, because I know things can get serious, but... My brother bought a dalmation for his kids. The dog ate many things. My brother had to pull them out the... er... other end. He got a box of latex gloves for Christmas. Among the items he pulled through were the dog's leash, a plastic grocery bag, and a complete mitten. The dog was healthy and well until it finally died after getting hit by a car for the second time. His newer dog was sick for several days, and later had surgery done to remove a giant acorn from the intestine. My brother kept it - they call it the $3000 acorn. Who can tell! Mary
  2. It was cool. I'm not sure Buddy was particularly impressed with Patricia McConnell - he was more excited that he was being allowed to go INTO a store where there were people and everything. Which in itself was wonderful, considering that when I got him, he freaked out at being anyplace crowded or people-filled. Alas, also Ms. McConnell seemed very tired at the end of a long day, and was quite sweet and polite but didn't seem to notice how EXCEPTIONAL Buddy is. Mary
  3. Whew! Bad day! But remember, that's all it is. You can't control the variables (mastiffs) you run into, so you just have to deal with them the best way you can at the moment. A lot of times I second-guess my reactions after they've happened, but it's easy to judge yourself in the cool, calm space of your living room. Making the right decision in a heated encounter is a lot harder. Go easy on yourself! HrrGrr looks like he's well on his way. It interests me that in all the pictures, he's facing away from you. I couldn't get my dog to look me in the face long enough for a decent picture for a LONG time! Similar reactions. Mary
  4. She was doing a reading and book signing at my local bookstore tonight, and when I got there, I realized they'd let you bring your dog in, since it was "a dog night." So Buddy went in - had to leave when some other dogs got whiny/barky and he got overstressed - but then got to meet Patricia for the signing part. Now he has "For the Love of a Dog" dedicated with her signature. She's one of my heroes. Mary
  5. I second border collie through and through! My dog has the same tri-color markings as a Bernese... but so do a lot of beagles I've met. From the neck back, your dog looks a lot like mine. http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb99/mb...olets51207C.jpg Mary
  6. FWIW, my dog used to be freaked out by toddlers and/or babies. Seeing them carried around in backpacks and stuff, I honestly think Buddy thought these were 2-headed humans he was looking at. Then, at the local park, we started passing lots of kids in strollers, and frequently they liked "doggy" and were happy to pass Buddy a treat. In short order, Buddy began to see strollers as rolling treat dispensers, and now he's happy to see toddlers. I still watch very carefully, simply because I don't trust the motions kid would make or my dog's reaction to them... but the treat dispenser system helped a lot. I don't personally have any small kids in my life, but was able to casually bond with a few moms at the park. They like seeing their kid exposed to a safe dog as much as I like seeing my dog exposed to safely contained kids. Good luck. Mary
  7. Congratulations! I know the feeling of victory when your reactive dog suddenly doesn't react! I wonder if your sister's similarity to you helped calm the dog? My dog has never been nearly as reactive with my sisters as he is with generic strangers - I think our smell and body motions must be pretty similar. Keep up the good work! Mary
  8. Wow! Horrible experience for you, and I'm very sorry that this very bad trainer is the "best" in your area. Sounds like a really bad match for your dog. I wish I had good advice - but mine would be the same as others' - find as many dogs as you can and work with them. I luckily stumbled on a group of people who walk dogs at an unused college campus nearby, and they were wonderful about letting me be near them without actually being WITH them while Buddy got desensitized. Good luck! Mary
  9. So... my dog likes to roll in particular kinds of poop. Deer poop and fox or coyote poop, from what I can deduce. I understand the theories about why he does this, but what makes me curious is that after he rolls, he becomes absolutely, positively INSANE! If he were a human, I'd say he was drunk or high. I mean, this is a 4ish-year-old dog who has moved largely past the goofy play stage, and who rarely gets "silly." But after rolling in poop, he spins circles like a loon - 8 or 10 times - then runs and starts picking up horse poop, which he never does, and charges at me with his old crazy "chase me! chase me!" look. Honestly, it's like he regresses to his first few weeks with me, when he'd been in shelters or kennels for months, and hadn't been able to run free or act crazy. Any theories on what's going on there? I understand that he might be happy from having accomplished a good, stinky roll - but absolutely ecstatically giddy? Fun to watch, anyway! Mary
  10. My dog was really bad about people approaching when I first got him - but horrible about bikes. The first one we saw almost gave him a meltdown. He didn't chase and bark, but as they passed, he made it clear that he wanted to KILL THEM. For a long time, I kept him on leash everyplace I might see a bike. I would have him go off trail and do a "sit" as the bikes passed, then treat him for not reacting. Eventually, the bikes could be closer and closer - and to my surprised and my sister's, Buddy started walking himself off trail and doing a "sit" anytime he saw a bike! He seems to think that the "sit" protects him. He's OK with bikes now... rarely barks, and will even approach a known friend who's riding one. I know they say you should get bikers to toss her treats, but it's tough to find people who will do that! Good luck with this. It's a really tough thing when your dog is fearful and reactive. Mary
  11. Hmm... Disturbing, but the report says the Canidae in question came in in a ziploc baggie - which is a bizarre way to test any product. Anyone could take any dog food and put it in a baggie with some ground up Tylenol, and it would test positive. Also, there is no proof that it was Canidae - the lab is going on the word of the person who put the dog in a baggie. I won't be switching based on just this report. Mary
  12. I walked my dog with a friend's new 8-month-old rescue dog the other day - and was amazed at how closely the puppy was watching Buddy to see what she should be doing. I was practicing Buddy's "up... walk it" thing (he just likes to be up on things, so I figured I'd train that response), and the puppy kept jumping up on the stone walls when Buddy did - like, "Oh, so is this what we do now? Huh? Huh?" Very cute! Mary
  13. Sounds just like my dog! He is really tense meeting dogs on leash, and sometimes even off leash, especially in the park that we walk in every morning, which I think he believes is HIS. In other, random, foresty parks, Buddy is pretty darn good at meeting - and every time he has a good meet, I mark it with his "Good Dog" high voice and a reward. I did work very hard on the "leave it" command early on - if I even saw a dog coming toward us, I would do the "leave it" command about any stick or prize Buddy had, because he's possessive. He learns that he needs to stop paying attention to whatever it is if I say "leave it," and he does know this means dogs when he's about to aggress, too - not that I always am able to stop it! But his tolerance varies, so I watch him really closely and if I think he's tense or thirsty or too hot, I just avoid the whole thing whenever possible! One thing Patricia McConnell and my trainer both recommended was watching the behavior and doing the "leave it" IMMEDIATELY when I saw Buddy's body language change. ("The Other ENd of the Leash" is really good for showcasing the early signs of aggression - with Buddy it's a stiffening, tense look, a sidelong, cautious stare, and sliding forward of his commisure.) So, as soon as he starts to look like he might aggress, I do a "leave it" and that seems much more effective than doing it after he's already decided to go ahead. I do keep Buddy on leash in tense situations, and have started actually asking people to leave a couple feet between their leashed dog and Buddy, so Buddy can decide whether he wants to approach or not. Sometimes, he pulls forward, tail wagging, and I let him go - other times, he shows no interest, and I trust him and move on. This seems to be working better than my old method - actually walking a curve away from the other dog. (That seemed to be telling Buddy that meeting other dogs was bad... while letting him meet safely, I hope, will help him gain confidence. Time will tell!) It is VERY frustrating when your dog is on leash and tense, and other dogs are off leash and not under control. That's the toughest situation for me! I wish I knew an easy answer to that - keeping Buddy on leash doesn't necessarily prevent a fight, and then Buddy is stuck on a leash with me attached! Yikes! (Just last week, the neighbor's dog got loose and tossed himself at Buddy - and after we got the other dog away, poor Buddy ended up with the leash looped around two of his legs and his stomach, crying pitifully!) Good luck! I know this is a really stressful problem. I'd also like to hear from others who worked on this successfully. Mary
  14. My dog doesn't lik any kind of assistive device, either. Canes, crutches - baseball bats in hand even bug him. I just try to catch people early on and say, "He's scared of that stick, and he's going to bark at you." One good thing: early on, Buddy hated people in wheelchairs or scooters. But after I spent months on the concept of "toddlers approaching in strollers mean you'll get treats if you lie down calmly," Buddy started loving the approach of strollers. This seems to have effortlessly transferred to wheelchairs and scooters, too - Buddy gets all excited when wheelchairs approach, as if he's getting to meet a GIANT toddler who might have GIANT treats! Mary
  15. UGH! I know the feeling. My dog got sprayed at about 5:30 on Sunday morning - I was taking him for a quick walk before heading for the flea market. The skunk ran under my deck, so I couldn't leave Buddy in the yard while I searched for a remedy, so I walked him the 1/2 mile to my sister's house, banged the door till she woke up, used her Internet to search for the skunk remedy, left Buddy in my sister's yard (he got muddy trying to burrow under the fence!), drove to find a 24-hour pharmacy which had baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, drove back to my sister's, walked the dog home, and finally managed to give him the treatment by about 7:00. But when we got to the flea market (roundabout 11:00), everyone swore that they couldn't tell he'd been sprayed, and the smell didn't come back with water, either. I told my neighbor about it, and her dog got sprayed just exactly a week later - luckily, she had bought the stuff and had it on hand. About a week after that, my other neighbor came down to ask me for the kit I'd put together. All dogs scent-free! I guess if you wait too long with any remedy, the smell soaks into the hairs, and then you're done for.
  16. Good question! The chemist who invented this remedy designed it specifically for the chemicals in skunks that make the dog smell, but it might work on other odors, too. Warning, though - this will dye a dog's fur. My dog and his friend both got sprayed last fall. My dog had red highlights on his black ears for at least six months, and the other dog STILL has her highlights. Mary
  17. This one works, almost entirely, if you don't let the smell soak in first. I know a lot of people know it, but what with all the skunks wandering these days, I figured I'd post it up again. Someone's bound to get sprayed in the next few months! From the original inventor's website: http://home.earthlink.net/~skunkremedy/home/sk00001.htm The Skunk Remedy Recipe In a plastic bucket, mix well the following ingredients: 1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide 1/4 cup of baking soda 1 to 2 teaspoons liquid soap For very large pets one quart of tepid tap water may be added to enable complete coverage. Wash pet promptly and thoroughly, work the solution deep into the fur. Let your nose guide you, leave the solution on about 5 minutes or until the odor is gone. Some heavily oiled areas may require a "rinse and repeat" washing. Skunks usually aim for the face, but try to keep the solution out of the eyes - it stings. If you have any cuts on your hands you might want to wear latex gloves for the same reason. After treatment, thoroughly rinse your pet with tepid tap water. Pour the spent solution down the drain with running water. NEVER, ever, store mixed solution in a closed bottle, sprayer,etc. Pressure will build up until the container bursts. This can cause severe injury. Mary
  18. I think it's a horrible story, but... I forget stuff ALL the TIME. Like, my father agrees to pick me up after I drop the car off at the car place, and I forget to bring my car up, and my father is sitting there thinking I've been in an accident, because (in his words), "She's not the kind of person who would forget something like this!" It never used to happen when I was younger - started when I hit around 38. I would like to think I would never leave my kid or dog in the car, mindlessly, thinking he was safe. But I wouldn't put it past myself, either. It's easy to sit in judgment of someone who does something like this, but... "There but for the grace of God go I." All it takes is one memory lapse, one glance away from the road when driving, one single slip-up, and there's a tragedy. As in the case with a kid left in the car - certainly there's nothing worse we can do to this guy than what he's already feeling. Mary
  19. I had my dog about 5 days when he saw a couple deer, and took off after them. I thought that was the last I'd see of him. he did come back to me after about 10 minutes, and now he seems to understand that the deer are too fast for him - he might charge to startle them, but won't take off after them. So... good luck, and maybe they'll work themselves through this phase if they chase and have no success? Mary
  20. Hmm... I doubt marshmallows are poisonous unless the puppy ate enough to swell up in his intestines somehow and cause a blockage. Marshmallows are basically just sugar, corn syrup, egg whites, and gelatin. Internet myths really bug me. One of my students swears that every chocolate bar contains eight cricket legs. He read it on the Internet. There's nothing I, as his science teacher, can do to persuade him that just because he's heard something doesn't mean that it's based on fact. I can't find anything that says normal (not-bitter) almonds are poisonous to dogs. Mary
  21. That's very tricky! My dog will react very strangely to outfits sometimes. We walk EVERY MORNING with a woman who gives him treats. He loves her. But if one of her grown daughters happens to be with her - it's a total melt-down. Barking, growling. And one day, the woman wore the raincoat that belonged to one of her daughters, and you would have thought she was trying to murder me - Buddy would not tolerate her presence! Wish I had good advice, but I can't seem to do much with my own dog's phobias, either. Sunglasses, funny hats, sticks... there seems to be an endless stream of things that tick him off. Mary
  22. Oh! Bad situation! This might be off topic, but we walk in the morning with a nice guy who got a youngish (1 year?) pit bull girl a few months ago. She is the sweetest dog - she would just about pull out of her skin to go say "hi" to the other dogs, and she is incredibly loving to all the humans at the park. I found out this morning that she bit the mother of the guy's fiance - "for no reason at all, completely out of the blue," so they took her back to the shelter. I'm pretty sure she'll be put down now - given that she's a pit bull and a known biter. It's very sad. I don't think I actually believe it when they say that dogs bite for no reason at all... I wonder if the woman was doing long, direct eye contact, taking a toy away... who knows? Poor Logan! So - better to get the pup in a very good home where it will be desensitized to EVERYTHING! Pit bulls can't catch a break. Mary
  23. That's excellent! Early on, my dog was quite nervous when we'd be leash walking out on busy human streets. I'll never forget the thrill I got one night after a few weeks when he looked back at me from his leash and did that "relaxed grin/relaxed ear" thing dogs do when you're walking them - they seem to want to say, "Oh, you're out here, too - I forgot! Cool!" HrrGrr looks like he's just a day or two away from giving you that grinning, happy face. Enjoy it! Mary
  24. I knew a woman who had a cat that would roam the woods behind her house. The cat disappeared one day, never to be seen again - until it showed up THREE YEARS later, moved back in, and was happy as a clam. If only they could talk! Mary
  25. Have hope! My dog has the softest, bunny-like fur, even as an adult. The very top of his back is a bit coarser, but his head, chest, legs, and tail are just delightful! Mary
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