Building a Dangerous Dog – the indicators

When I see reactive dogs with growling, barking, pulling on the leash, my first thought is, “How is that poor creature being socialized?”

Nancy Tanner

Sometimes a bark is just a bark, squinty eyes are just squinty eyes, and standing still is just being still.

But sometimes they are not.

Sometimes when a single innocuous behavior appears in a cluster of behaviors, it becomes a sign of something very serious that is underlying, and professional help is needed.

As with all symptoms, sometimes it is something and sometimes it is nothing, and that is on a very large spectrum. It takes keen observation and diagnostic skills to sift through what is really going on.

For example, growling in play is not the same as a hard growl, with tight body posture, tip toeing forward, pilo erect, and hard staring eyes. It is important to always have context and perspective.

Dogs are allowed to have opinions, just like we are. But it is what they choose to do with these opinions that interests me most.

Believe it…

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Comforting the Comfort Dog – The Conundrum

More thoughts to ponder when we’re wondering, “Is that person faking it with that dog?”

Nancy Tanner

If you have been on an airplane in the last couple of years, perhaps a bus, or in a store of any kind, chances are you have seen someone with a dog.

I am not sure that the world has become more dog friendly necessarily, but rather more people are finding a need to have their dog with them.

PUBLIC ACCESS DOGS – The American Disabilities Act has guidelines and definitions for dogs in service for medical, physical, or emotional/mental needs. And in-between these guidelines is a gigantic gray area of interpretation. The only aspect that cannot be misinterpreted is the need for any dog in service to be a public access dog, meaning that the dog will not cause harm to people, places, events, things, or other animals, while out in public. So a polite, well socialized, stable temperament dog, shouldn’t all dog owners shoot for this criteria!

LEVELS…

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SECRET MISSION TO PRAIRIE DOG TOWN, A/K/A PRAIRIE DU CHIEN.

“Hey, Magic, you updating your blog?”

“Yes, just finished downloading the photos and thinking of a title…”

“What title did you decide on?”

“You know, something about dogs on a prairie, I was thinking of a colony of Border collies controlling fur trapping and trading along the Mississippi River in the 17th century…”

“No, wait a minute, we talked about this…Prairie du Chien was named by the French fur trappers who named the town after the Fox native American chief, Dog.  It meant Prairie of Dog, and Dog, the chief, lived on the prairie at that location…”

“Wouldn’t it be more interesting if Border collies had settled the prairie, or, maybe, it was a prairie full of prairie dogs…”

“Prairie dogs are NOT dogs!  They are burrowing rodents, like squirrels or chipmunks.”

“Mmm, OK, I’ll stick to the Border collies controlling activities around Prairie du Chien, we’re pretty good at running the show, controlling things, keeping creatures in line.  Why don’t you make a salad?  And thanks for dinner.  I’ll finish up here.  Wow, My Dad forgets whose is writing the blog…”

Yes, yesterday morning we were up and on the road by 6:00 am.  It was still dark when I jumped into the back of the Scion xB.  My Dad said we had a (secret) mission to Wisconsin, about a 4 1/2 hour drive from our home.  With a bathroom stop for each of us in Dodgeville, WI, we drove across Wisconsin on U.S. 18 and pulled into downtown Prairie du Chien about 10:40 am.  My Dad soon discovered that the “target” of the investigation was not working until tomorrow.  So, instead of completing our assignment and driving right back to Chicago, we would have to spend the night in Prairie du Chien.

We found a Country Inn located just north of the Cabela’s headquarters.  My Dad introduced me to the staff and I walked around checking everything out – the breakfast room, the maid’s closet, some garbage cans, the back office.  I, too, have a bit of investigator in me.

My Dad said we were going to the Yellow River State Park, just north of Marquette, Iowa.

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On the backpacking trail along the Paint Creek, Yellow River State Park, Iowa

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I stole My Dad’s right glove…I get pretty clownish after I steal his glove.

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Getting a drink of water after our walk on the trail.

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The view from the highest point in Marquette, IA, a dead-end street.  U.S. 18 is the blue-arched bridge.  We also met the Mayor of Marquette,  Larry Breuer.  Larry said that if anyone has any problems that they want to call him about, his phone number is…JUST KIDDING, LARRY!

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Running along the west shore of the Mississippi River is a single track managed by the Canadian-Pacific RR.  This image is just outside their crew building in Marquette.  The train in the background was awaiting a crew change.  Stretching off to the north was it’s load, at least 100 flat-black tanker cars carrying oil from North Dakota.

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On our return trip today, we stopped in Dodgeville, WI, named for Colonel Henry Dodge who made a pact with the Winnebago Indians, and formed the town with 40 miners who built a smelter and mined lead.  I bet they wouldn’t be allowed to open a lead smelter now days….just sayin’.

 

 

 

GREAT LAKES BORDER COLLIE RESCUE PICNIC 2017, “DO YOU WANT TO GO?”

“Dad, why up so early…? yaaawwwwnnn…”

“You’re kidding, right, Magic?  The Border Collie Picnic is today, in Kalamazoo.  It’s been on your calendar for the last six weeks, we’re on the road with Mary and Bear at 5:45, c’mon, we gotta go for a walk…UP, UP, UP!”

Yes!  The Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue Picnic!  I get to run FREE with other Border collies.  Road trip!

My Dad’s sister, Mary, and Mr. Bear (aka Honey Bear Deluxe…how silly) were waiting outside their house for us at 5:47 a.m. when My Dad and I pulled up in the Scion xB.  For a three-legged dog, Bear can jump pretty good and he has no problem jumping up into the back of the Scion – into MY “bye-bye in the car” spot.  Bear always wants to look out the window that I am looking out of.  He is an excellent example of a Border collie wanne-be, and while he is VERY fast for a three-legged canine, he has trouble handling my deke-out moves when we are playing chase-me chase-you games.  Bear ALWAYS wants to be the FIRST OUT when the door opens, and he gets pretty bossy with me, but, hey, he has three legs and we are very good buddies.  Like I’ve said in earlier posts, all I have to do with Bear is give him some “eye,” and he knows I am the boss.  Sigh, but I pretend that HE is the boss, most of the time.  Bear really likes My Dad and sometimes during our drive, yesterday, Bear would stand behind My Dad and rest his head on My Dad’s right shoulder.

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This is “Skipper,” a rescue from Texas who was here with his Mom and Dad.  My Dad would not shut-up about how GORGEOUS Skipper was.

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“Dad, why another photo of Skipper?”

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Mr. Bear getting a drink…there is always a film of slime, saliva, and bubbles after Bear gets a drink…he is unable to explain why…

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J.J. was a fun guy to play with.  He liked My Dad’s hat which My Dad kept throwing to HIM!  I had to give My Dad a few two-paw pushes in the backside, “Hey, pay attention TO ME!”

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This is JAKE.  He was VERY concerned that I was sneaking up on him.  My Dad’s Scion is in the background.

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Max, a renowned Therapy Dog, an old soul who really likes people.

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The energetic and biddable, “Captain Hook,” who will be going to a new home in the near future.

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The tiny and shy, Miss Scotia (think Nova Scotia).  She LOVED her Mom.

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A gorgeous “tri” raising a paw.

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Nice ears, YOU BABY!

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Calm, affectionate, and handsome…

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“I’ve been soooo good all morning, can we get a sandwich?”

 

“EVERYBODY RELAX…WE’RE HERE FOR THE COOKIES”

As my loyal and faithful followers know, I go everywhere with My Dad.  Yesterday I was summoned into the Bank, the girls there wanted to meet me.  And I know what the drive-up window at the Bank means…COOKIES!

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“Hey!  It’s me, MAGIC.  What, no envelope of cookies?”

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“One at a time is OK, but I get more than one, RIGHT?

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“Relax…I’m gentle, I got it…”

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“Thanks!  and yummmm…”

 

PLEASANT AND UNPLEASANT SIDES OF WINTER

As my loyal followers and fans are aware, My Dad is a soccer referee and he had been very busy during the Fall season. (He LOVES to officiate soccer and sometimes humans who know My Dad will allow me to sit with them along the touchline) The beautiful November weather here in the Chicago boasted of some days in the upper 60’s (F) and close to 85% sunny skies.

However, all good things must come to an end, or is it, no good deed goes unpunished? (My Dad says that a lot!)    The past two Sunday’s, the change to (real) winter has started and so has My Dad’s complaining.  My Dad tolerates some aspects of winter, especially if the temperatures are close to freezing with no wind.  Our Sunday snowfalls were both very pleasant and I spent a lot of time outside with Kaya – I really like to play in the snow, eat snow, catch snowballs, roll in the snow, relax in the snow.  But, let me clarify – no complaining by My Dad on those past two Sundays.

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Kaya and I playing in the snow.  We did not like when the snowman was being built.

The real complaining started two days ago.  My Dad does not like the wind, especially when the temperatures are single digits Fahrenheit.  I demand five to six walks per day and when I give My Dad the let’s go out stare, I watch him put his cold weather gear on.  Over long-underwear and Nike Combat Gear, he will don:  a U.S. Soccer jacket with a high neck collar, a black North Face fleece with a high neck collar, an Eddie Bauer storm coat with a high neck collar AND a hood, two knit hats, and ski goggles.  EARTH TO LUNAR BASE, DO YOU COPY?  Wait, I forget two pairs of gloves – I am not making this up.

MAGIC, WHAT ARE YOU GIGGLING ABOUT IN THERE?

JUST BLOGGING ABOUT OUR PLEASANT WEATHER.  DID YOU MAKE YOUR DINNER SALAD, YET?  DON’T FORGET ABOUT MY DINNER.

Mmmm….ok, he’s in the kitchen.  But My Dad does look out for me.  He puts on my Therapy Dog jacket to keep me a bit warmer and our walks are limited to about 20 minutes, on snow only…My Dad is worried that the salt slush will freeze my little toes.  And when I go poop, My Dad is VERY complimentary, very happy, because we can head home – to WARMTH.

My Dad takes me INTO O’Hare International Airport when we pick up his sister, Mary.  I know I am supposed to be in a down/stay, but people always come up to pet me.  They always smile at me, talk to me, and pet me.  My Dad is very proud of me.

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United Airlines baggage concourse, near baggage claim #6.  Being a good boy.

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One of those 60F days in November, I needed a drink!

 

THE DE-MUZZLING OF DANTE, SECRET MISSIONS TO DOWNTOWN, and CREEP-O-ZOID IN THE PARKING LOT

Last Sunday, My Dad and I were up at 4:30 am; we had to drive into downtown Chicago on a “secret” mission.  My Dad is quite candid when he describes me as a “lure,” as in fishing lure.  Who would suspect that a handsome 57 pound, very well behaved, Border collie, would be involved in subterfuge, a guise, a ruse?  However, before our departure in the Scion xB, I needed my morning walk which was completed with typical Border collie efficiency.  But after our return, My Dad alerted me to suspicious behavior in our parking lot.  I saw My Dad peering out the bedroom window blinds, so I stepped up to the lower level of the window blinds to see what he was interested in.  A stranger (stranger-danger) had just parked his older Nissan in the lot, exited his car and was looking in cars using a flashlight and pulling on the door handles!  My Dad was soon on his cell phone.  I followed him to our front door and we both watched the stranger skulking among the cars, we could hear door handles pulled.  I gave a deep growl, My Dad quietly said, “good boy…shhh…good boy.”  I love being called a good boy.  The skulking stranger soon left in his car, and several minutes later, the police knocked on our door and talked with My Dad.  The stranger’s car had been pulled over by the police a short distance away.

As the sky to the east lightened, My Dad and I left in the xB and headed downtown.  My Dad said we would be on surveillance – waiting for someone to leave their condominium high-rise near Millenium Park.

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Here I am outside of 400 E. Randolph acting as the “lure.”

As part of the ruse, my disguise, my being a “lure,” I am required to say HI! to a constant stream of people, many with dogs.  As all of my loyal readers know, I am the canine-psychologist, the mentor, the facilitator, the play-with-me specialist.  One of the dogs I encountered Sunday morning was Dante, a retriever-collie mix, and as he approached with his humans they placed a soft, fabric muzzle on his muzzle.  His humans said that Dante sometimes became aggressive with other dogs.  Mmm, obviously Dante hadn’t made my acquaintance, yet.  So, you may not be aware of this, but, dogs can easily communicate by thought-transmission.  Oh, don’t believe it?  Google it…canine thought-transmission…  So the muzzled Dante and I activated our thought-transmission capabilities…easy stuff, really!

why did your humans put that black tube on your mouth?  is that a toy?

mmph…mmm…zzz…le….mmmph…

you seem like a cool dude, you want to play, i won’t hurt you, you’re not going to bite will you…

mmmpph…play with me…can you take this off….mmmum?

ok…looks easy, hold still, i am going to place my mouth over your mouth, won’t hurt you….easy….easy….ha, it’s off…you’re sure this isn’t a toy, i can turn it into a toy?

And then we were playing, instant best friends.  No aggression, no biting, no growling…just dog fun.  Dante’s parent were SHOCKED when I removed the black tube!

The following Thursday, My Dad went back to the same building for additional covert activities, don’t tell anyone.  And can you guess who we ran into?  Yes, Mr. Dante, who is now my BFF.

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Dante with his Mom, Brittany.  She owns the Absolutely Chicago Segway tours which meant she had a constant source of water in a large bowl for us during our play activities!

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Marketing!  Are we cute, or what?!

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This is a dog-hug.  Dante and I trusted each other from the moment we first met.

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Sometimes, Dante wanted to get REAL friendly with me.  But, that does not bother me…a quick word and Dante responded well to subtle corrections.

 

Hangin’ with my Lady friends and Mr. Honey Bear (Deluxe) and The Grim Reaper re-visits Squirrel Town

As my loyal readers (and fans) are very aware, I have a number of Lady friends who enjoy spending time with me.  Last week My Dad and I picked up Kaya and her Mom for a drive to White Pines State Park, about two hours west of where we live in the Chicago area.  Since it was a week day, we did not see any other dogs or people during our three hour hike on the trails.

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This is me with Kaya after we ran down to the river for exploring and a drink.  Kaya likes to be the boss and I am OK with her being the boss.

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Here is an example of Kaya being the boss.  We are in My Dad’s Scion xB and Kaya is sitting up front – without permission.  I told her, “Kaya, stay in the back with me.”  But she didn’t.

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This Cattle Dog is named Scarlet.  The first time we met, she growled at me – FOR NO REASON!  She has been trying to correct her behavior with me.  She comes right up next to me and just looks at me “what, no second chances?”…and I walk away.  Sorry Scarlet, no second chances, at least for now.

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This is Brandy – remember, THE DEMONIC SCHIZOID???  She visited last week for about an hour.  She really enjoys my attentions…cheek pulling, gripping, rear leg nibbling.  And every so often she goes all Demonic on me and puts me on the ground, just to remind me that she can…whenever she wants to.

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Brandy and me in the Scion xB.  We share the rear windows, but remember that Brandy is THE BOSS, and a lot more bossy than Kaya.

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This is Bear…remember the “open carry” three-legged Shar-Pei from Texas.  My Dad visits him every day so he can take a whizzz.  Bear wants to get “friendly” with me but it can be a a challenge to hold onto a 58 pound Border collie when you have only three legs…but he keeps trying.  Sometimes I have to give Bear some “eye” just to keep him in line.  Surprisingly, he knows what “eye” means and he says, “Sorry.”

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Mid 70’s in Chicago, yesterday, and My Dad took me for an “off-leash” in the Forest Preserve.  I could hear squirrels to my right.  And while we are on the topic of squirrels, I had a catch ‘n kill last week at the dumpster enclosure.  The squirrel thought I was on the north side of the fence and he took a leap to freedom (he thought) from the south side….into the air and right into my mouth.  A mid-air snag as I returned from the north side of the  enclosure.  Gotta pay attention is what I always say…

Further Commentary from the Cleric of Canines

Going bye-bye in the car is one of my favorite…

“Hey, Magic, get to the point!  You told me you were going to write about your experiences with puppies and young dogs…or, are you too tired from running around with Sadie?”

What’s the rush?  You haven’t shaved yet today, why don’t you take care of that, now?

My blog, my blog, my blog.  You have your blog (www.betterinstructors-betterrefs.com) and I have my blog…relax.

Yes.  I am the mentor, the trainer, the wise man, the adviser, the guru, the cleric of canines.  Let us get to know each other at your pace; some chase me-chase you games, some wrestling and play fighting.  I may correct your behavior with a low growl, I may grip your haunches.  When I roll onto my back and show you my speckled tummy, I am anointing you as my friend forever.  So sniff me, approach from the rear, take your time.  I want you to feel comfortable with me.  I will ignore you, pretend you are not there.  I am confident in my Border collie-ness,  I am confident in my abilities inherited over the centuries from the Border collies who came before me.  And when you are ready for me to work my “magic,” we will be best friends.

CASE STUDY:  SASHA – AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG (PUPPY)

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Photo Courtesy of http://www.nibblin cattle dogs.au

Sasha was fearful of me at the initial consult.  I was aware of our size difference and our ages.  Just a puppy, given up by her owners because they had to move out of the continental United States. The excuses humans come up with…sigh.  My “I AM IGNORING YOU” approach worked the best with Sasha.  But Sasha was VERY wary – took a whole 45 minutes to take her from great wariness to pursuit games.  She is still a little dorky puppy, but very cute…wouldn’t you agree?

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“I know you are there, Sasha”

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“Take your time, Sasha.  There is no rush, no schedule.”

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“We are both herding  dogs, although I am a bit more intelligent.  Closer, closer, relax…”

CASE STUDY:  SADIE – BORDER COLLIE (PUPPY)

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No fearfulness here, that is for sure.  Pursuit games, play-fighting, a quick learner.  However, Sadie will give a whimper during pursuit games if she anticipates a “gripping” maneuver coming close to her hindquarter (official Border collie terminology).  And if a gripping is going to be applied by the “chaser/herder,” Sadie will “crash + burn,”  a deliberate rolling onto the turf to avoid the gripping.  But then she is right back up and ready for more games, either as the sheep or the chaser/herder.  She already knows how to cut the angles, and I have been required to “butt-tuck,” too.  She has very good instincts.

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Sadie has been fearless from the start.  I believe my good-looks are partly responsible for her bravery and stoutness.

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“Nice ears, you BABY!”

Now, about to go bye-bye in the car…  Don’t forget to check out THE BORDER COLLIE MUSEUM.  www.bordercolliemuseum.org