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Wordless Wednesday #205 – Dog Park Hodge-Podge

September 16, 2014 Leave a comment
Doves on a wire

Doves on a wire

Our friend Abby #dogpark

Abby

Mushrooms on a log

Fungi

Bees at work #dogpark

Bees at work

Millie had a little too much fun today. #tiredpuppy

Millie (front) and Bella

Wildflowers at the dog park.

Dog Park weeds

Caught in the middle #dogpark

Stuck in the middle

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Evening walk

Lost Dogs and the Importance of Using Scent Articles

September 14, 2014 4 comments

image

As I read about one more lost Sheltie, one of ours, I could not help but be sad.

One more dog was running scared in a neighborhood she may or may not know. One more owner was suffering the anguishing fears that every lost dog owner feels when their dog goes missing. Fortunately, she was caught in one of our traps overnight, but it is not always this easy to catch a lost dog, especially a shy one.

When a dog is lost one must do what one can to bring their dog back:

  • Pass out flyers far and wide so that every person in that area can keep an eye out for her and call you when he/she get a sighting.
  • Post signs on every possible high-traffic street area so people can be alerted to a lost dog while driving around the area.
  • Post on Craigslist so anyone who should;d happen to find your dog can reunite you both as quickly as possible.
  • Call all vet clinics, shelters and animal-related businesses to give them a heads up that there is a lost dog in the area.
  • Rally the troops – family, friends, rescue groups – and spread the word.
  • Set out clothing and familiar bedding that contains smells the dog is familiar with. Many dogs will return and lie down on them because it comforts them to have something that smells so familiar to them that nearby.

The last item is an important one because it has been successful in bringing back many a lost dog. I still remember the evening I received an urgent phone call from a friend who runs a rescue out east. She asked me if I would be willing to speak to one of her adopters, whose dog had gone missing in a heavily wooded area. The owner suspected that the dog was in the area and may even have been watching them from the woods, but was too scared to come out. I suggested several things to her (same as those listed above), but it was the dog bed she left outside on the front step that did it. The next morning, her dog was found sleeping on the bed. She approached quietly and just sat quietly with her back to her dog and her dog approached her.  It was a happy reunion.

There was a lost Sheltie a few years ago who was also found because scent article was left in an area she had been sighted. She was found sleeping on it early the next morning. Even in the middle of winter a scent article can be used to draw a lost dog home or to a trap.

It appears that someone is sleeping in Daisy's bed.

A dog’s bedding (and crate) have familiar scents that may draw a lost dog back home.

I learned a few things about how to handle scent articles during a couple of nose work classes Daisy, Jasper and I took this summer. Keeping the scent article free of other smells when you need to transport it to another location is important. When we went to class, we were asked to bring all our scent articles (socks, shirt, etc.) in a sealed plastic baggie so as to avoid contamination by other smells.

It turns out that this is not all that new in the search and rescue world. They try to keep scent articles free of other people’s scents too. This prevents the dog from being confused by other smells of other individuals, including those scents of dog handler herself!

You can read more about scent articles and the importance of not contaminating them here, but the most important piece I hope you take from this is this …

If you lose your dog or cat, don’t forget to place their bedding, your bedding, your pajamas, the dog’s blanket, or your blanket, outside. It could be the thing that brings them home. 

Black and White Sunday #97 – Lone Dog Walking

September 13, 2014 7 comments

#Camera360分享#

My thanks to our hosts for this blog hop Dachshund Nola and Sugar The Golden Retriever.

Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow Java script so I can’t provide a direct link to the linky, but you can join here.

Favorite Video Friday – The Pugs of Westeros

September 12, 2014 4 comments

Fall is truly upon us (try 46 degrees!) and so is the new Fall television season.

I bet you can’t guess what I am looking forward to can you? :)

Do you have any TV shows you’re looking forward to watching? Please share!

Happy Friday everyone!

Videotaping yourself interacting with your dog offers new insights

September 10, 2014 4 comments

As much as I know about dog body language, I am constantly amazed at how much I miss in my own dogs’ behaviors when I am interacting with them.  I am so focused on seeing the expected behavior I am requesting that sometimes I completely miss what they are telling me about how they are feeling about it. Ears back, ears forward, tight mouth, raised paw, lip licks… It all happens so fast that it can be easy to miss. If I am not totally focused on what I am really seeing, I completely miss it.

That could not have been more clearly obvious than during a recent session I spent working with Maggie. Despite being able to “watch me” and hand target when asked, Maggie is still pretty uncomfortable with doing it, even when she chooses to do it on her own. I have known this for some time and have tried to give her the choice in how much she wants to participate. But it wasn’t until I snapped some photos as I was working with her that I realized just how pressure sensitive she was and how much I had been missing.

Take a look at some of the pictures I took one evening while working with Maggie. What do you see? 

Lip lick and ears back and leaning back. Nervous Maggie. She was a little tentative with hand targeting tonight, so we did a lot of "watch mes."

I think I prefer another "watch me" thank you.

Maggie gets this close for chicken. #sheltie #puppymilldog

Eating from my hand. #puppymilldog #sheltie

If you said you saw Maggie lip-licking, displaying her ears way back on her head, looking away, and leaning away from me in some of these photos, you would be correct. She is ultra sensitive to body pressure. It makes her nervous to be this close to me. I need to back it up a bit and give her a little space. (As my friend Nancy from Gooddogz dog training said, a target stick, like a wooden spoon with peanut butter on the end of it, might work better for Maggie right now.)

But, I never would have seen this myself if not for the photos. Why? Because I was too busy looking for what I wanted her to do in response to what I said, instead of looking at her actual response (i.e., body language) to what I was asking of her. It’s a good reminder to me, and to anyone else who works with their dog, that videotaping my interactions with my dog can reveal so much more than what I see with my eyes. It might be uncomfortable, and maybe even a little embarrassing to videotape ones self working with their dog, but the information gained is so worth it. I will be changing how I work with Maggie moving forward by taking it down a step to be even less pressure-oriented than it was already.

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My experience with Maggie brought to mind another video I saw last year in which the behavior of the dog described by the trainer did not match what the dog was actually conveying in the video. I don’t share this to pick on the trainer, who sounds like a knowledgeable woman, but merely to point out what we can miss when we are so focused on what we expect to see and not what is really being displayed.

Take a look and tell me what you see. I’ll share my analysis of the video and the dog’s behavior next week.

 

Want to learn more about pressure sensitivity in dogs? Watch this video from Eileen and Dogs.

Wordless Wednesday #204 – A peaceful slumber

September 10, 2014 5 comments

Black and White Sunday #96 – Just Jasper

September 6, 2014 16 comments

Handsome Jasperoo in black and white

Focused Jasperoo in black and white

My thanks to our hosts for this blog hop Dachshund Nola and Sugar The Golden Retriever.

Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow Java script so I can’t provide a direct link to the linky, but you can join here.

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