This Labor Day weekend feels like the last of the glory days of summer for 2015. Even though the temperatures are in the 80’s and 90’s and the humidity is sky-high, the sunlit nights are waning and soon Fall will be here.
I don’t know why, but this video just feels like the last hurrah to summer. Without a doubt, the musical background adds to the ambiance, but it is the most adorable April I love to watch. She is a Border Collie who appears to be much-loved.
I hope you will enjoy this fun, but somewhat nostalgic, video selection this week. If nothing else, it will leave you with a smile and a nice tune rolling around in your head. :)
Happy Friday everyone!
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a two-day workshop on dog interactions, dog behavior, aggression and behavior management. One session focused on behaviors often seen at dog parks and doggy daycares. It was eye-opening, mind-expanding and thought-provoking.
One of the key learnings I took away from the seminar had to do with what we often like to think of as “playing” at the dog park. (Hint: Most of what we see at the dog park is not playing.)
When we think of dogs playing, what do we often see them doing? Chasing? Wrestling? Playing tug? Probably all of those right? But what are we missing?
If you’ve watched any of Sue Sternberg‘s dog park videos, probably a lot. Dogs are always communicating with one another, whether it be before, during or after their interactions with one another. What we consider “play” at the dog park is often not play, but something else, something frightening and dangerous – dog-on-dog aggression.
Sue calls out five “Red Alert” behaviors that we dog owners should be watching for when we take our dogs to the dog park. We should be intervening immediately when we see them. These behaviors include:
- Risky chasing behaviors almost always include out of control and high arousal chasing that may include one of more of the following: group chase, hard physical contact, pinning, high tail carriage, neck or throat fixation and the chasee hiding, or trying to get away.
- Mobbing is a group of individual dogs approaching, harassing, controlling or attacking a single dog. This can be with or without bloodshed.
- Targeting is one dog following or pursuing another dog relentlessly, exclusively, obsessively. It’s relentless engagement that may or may not include many of the behaviors displayed in Risky Chasing.
- Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior through the use of physical overpowering, hard contact, body slamming, hip-checking, shoulder-checking, relentless engagement, chase or ganging up to affect an individual dog.
- Hunting is when a dog moves around the dog park going from dog to dog, looking for something to jab, chase, poke, pounce on, roll. This is not looking for a playmate, but forcing himself on other dogs.
I have seen many of these behaviors at my own dog park and have intervened as often as possible, but it takes everyone in the dog park watching for them to ensure dogs stay safe. And, if you are the owner of a dog who is hiding, has a tucked tail, is cowering or running away or the recipient of any of the five Red Alert behaviors, remove him from the park immediately. Not only is he not having fun, but he could be injured.
Worried you won’t remember any of these behaviors? Or, worried your own dog is practicing these “bad” behaviors in your dog park? I highly recommend you get Sue’s Dog Park Assistant app for your phone. It only costs 99 cents, but it will pay for itself in the long run.
The app provides you with not only descriptions of Red Alert behaviors, but also videos showing what each looks like. It also shows you other common dog behaviors at lower threat levels. You can input your own dog’s profile and set it to remind you to intervene while you are at the dog park or review some dog park tips, best practices and find external resources to help you.
I know many of you will say “This is why I never go to the dog park.”, but as Sue said in the seminar, they exist for a reason and they are here to stay. With more of us living in cities where green space is difficult to find, and where more and more homes are becoming two-dog households, dog parks serve a purpose. Dogs need to run and in some cities, dog parks are the only place available for them to do that. But, if they are to be safe, we all need to take a part in keeping it that way.
Here’s an example of Bullying, one of the five Red Alert behaviors.
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We’re in the midst of the last days of summer. Days are getting shorter. We no longer wake up to the sun in the morning. There is a chill in the air that has not been there since spring. You can tell fall is just around the corner.
That’s why the dogs and I are trying to make the most of these last few nice days. We’re spending more time outside, either at the dog park or playing ball in the yard. Jasper is happiest when he has a ball to chase.
I think that’s why this video resonated with me this week. It has that end of summer feel to it. Jasper can relate to this Golden’s love of tennis balls.
For me, Hurricane Katrina and my late dog Indy will be indelibly linked in my mind forever. While it was a disaster of epic proportions for the United States, and a deadly and devastating hurricane for the people of Louisiana and Mississippi, it was also the beginning of the end of life for my dog Indy.
Evacuations were going on in New Orleans. It was all over the news. Like everyone else, I was glued to the news, watching the city and state leaders plead for people to leave the city and shorelines.
I was also focused on getting my dog Indy into the vet. It was not a particularly memorable day that day I brought her in. I think it might have been beautiful and sunny, but I am not completely sure. I brought her in, she got her rabies, distemper and bordatella vaccinations. I bought her a treat and we went home. That’s it.
It was the next day that when it began. Indy had a seizure. I rushed her to the vet, where she had another one. They recommended we rush her to the emergency vet clinic to be assessed, because of course, it was a Sunday and the vet closed after noon. My mother came with me to the emergency vet. We sat in the waiting room for hours as they assessed Indy and treated other patients. The television was on CNN in the waiting room, where coverage of Katrina evacuations were in full swing. We watched the flow of vehicles leaving the city using all lanes of the highway to get out. It was something we had never seen before.
Indy ended up spending the night, but when she came home, the seizures continued, at first once a month, then once every couple of weeks, then once a week. Throughout it all, was the horror of what happened in New Orleans, on the nightly news. It was an epic tragedy playing out on our television screens, but a very real traumatic event for those living there. We might’ve been going through our own tragedy at home, but what the people of New Orleans (an their pets and children) suffered was so much greater. I cannot forget it.
In April of 2006, disaster recovery was in full swing. The devastation left behind by hurricane Katrina was undeniable then, the population of New Orleans had been cut in half, whole parishes were destroyed,and we said goodbye to Indy, who by then was having seizures every few days.
It’s hard to believe it has been 10 years since all that happened. Time has a way of healing all wounds, but also etching moments and events in your mind forever, like Hurricane Katrina and Indy.
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