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’.

 

 

 

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

 

MISSION TO DOWNTOWN and PUDDLES OF VOMIT

“I’m taking the train downtown this morning, will you be alright for about three hours?”

“Mmmm…not really…why don’t you bring me with?”

“Traffic will be a pain, taking the train downtown will be more relaxing, I will be back by 12:30.”

“Hah!  That is not three hours, that is more like four hours and 34 minutes.  OK, I will entertain myself, can you leave your gloves on the table, or a hat?”

“Blackmailed by a Border collie…is that how it’s going to be?  My gloves and my hats are already displaying Border collie damage…divots, gouges, nicks, pieces of fabric missing, fingers missing…”

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My Dad taught me how to remove his hat from his head…some unfortunate damages have occurred as a direct result of my quick learning abilities.

“Oh, c’mon…we’ll drive together…we can go for a walk downtown…I know you love to show me off…right?”

Easy stuff for a determined Border collie…pushing My Dad around, manipulating him, he is so ruminant-like, at times.  Yes, we are going bye-bye in the Scion xB to downtown Chicago on a “mission.”  And the traffic on the Kennedy Expressway was just fine – I love sticking my head out the window at a leisurely 17 miles per hour…sometimes 2 miles per hour.

After My Dad had successfully completed his mission, serving a court summons on a very cooperative Registered Agent, he returned to the Scion xB on the 7th floor of the parking structure.  I am still getting comfortable with elevators.  While I will no longer hesitate to board an elevator, once I am inside, I have a tendency to spread my legs and drop into a crouch – I feel a bit more steady on my feet this way.

My Dad told me that the prior weekend, the City of Chicago had dyed the Chicago River GREEN (as if it was not green enough) for St. Patrick’s day (My Dad’s birthday) and this event coupled with the Saint Patrick’s Day parade encourages a lot of humans to drink a lot of alcohol…and this results in numerous puddles of VOMIT – EVERYWHERE.  While these puddles were interesting for a Border collie, especially the pink puddles and orange puddles, My Dad kept telling “NO” in his very calm voice, and I listen VERY well!

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Wacker Drive with a view to the east…and no puddles of yucchy stuff to be seen!

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The Marina Towers “corncob,” and the curved glass of the Trump Tower in the background.  No, those people behind me were not throwing-up.

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Jumping into a raised flower bed is very easy for a Border collie.

By the way, I have a large number of canine friends who visit frequently.  I am not food-aggressive, so when my canine friends visit, I will watch them have a meal at my place.

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Brandy (a/k/a Demonic Schizoid) after enjoying MY breakfast…I just watch, why cause an argument?

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Coco and Loli visited last night.  Their Mom was out of town.  Coco is a Border collie wannabe, she runs next to me outside and barks whenever I bark.  They are official members of the Magic Fan Club.

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And, meet LOLA (Lo-Lo-Lo-Lo-Lo-La, from the song by the Kinks), she is an eight month old Shiba-Inu, who has just joined the Magic Fan Club.  Nice ears, YOU BABY!

THE ELEGANCE OF HERDING DOGS and THE GRIM REAPER VISITS SQUIRREL-TOWN

“We are leaving in the car in an hour, will you be ready?”

“Remember Maisie, that Border collie you saw in National Geographic Your Shot?  She sent me some pictures.  I’m writing about the handsomeness and beauty of herding dogs…yes, I will be done here within the hour…maybe we can visit Maisie…”

“You better include your buddy Patrick on this post, and don’t refer to him as the Cattle Collie, anymore…he did not like that.  And as long as I’m thinking about it, don’t forget to mention your sudden success with squirrels…the corpses are starting to add up.”

“Mmmmm…good point about Patrick…I’ll start with him…”

My good friend Patrick lives in Shannondale, and I refer to him as Patrick of Shannondale.  IT’S A JOKE, PATRICK!  My Dad thinks you are very handsome and I’ve got to tell you, I owe you an apology.  Your Mom sent me a picture of your sister (I’d like to know her a little better) and your Mom sitting together in the Sheriff’s Prison Transport (just kidding) and without a doubt, your mom is an Australian Cattle Dog, and quite beautiful, too.

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Patrick’s gorgeous mother is on the right and his sister is on the left.  (Photo courtesy of State Prisoner Transport System)

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And, as all of my loyal readers are aware, this is my good friend and play-fighter, Patrick of Shannondale.  He certainly looks like his sister…compliment Patrick!  (Photo courtesy of Home for Deranged Cattle Dogs)

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This is my mentor and renowned Therapy Dog, Cody of Lenox (RIP 01-08-2015).  Cody was well known for his fabulous ticking, split-face, and endearing disposition.

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And, speaking of ticking, GORGEOUS ticking, this is the beautiful Maisie, recently observed in National Geographic Your Shot.  Photo used with permission of Maisie’s Mom, Tiehrra Alexander.  I’m hoping to get a play-date with Maisie!

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Maisie smiling…look at those golden eyes!

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And…Maisie after running through the mud…

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This is Maisie’s house-mate, Porter.  Porter is 7 months old.  Nice ears, YOU BABY!

“We’ll be leaving soon, wrap it up, Magic!  Don’t forget about the squirrels…”

HA!  It has taken me over a year to catch a squirrel…I was always overplaying my moves…too quick, too straight, too reactive.  But, that changed last week…patience, pursuing a bit slower, and not reacting to their little deke-out moves, their trickery, their sense of superiority.  They are actually idiots, they wait too long to make their break for freedom, they get a bit too choosy in which tree to climb, or they choose one tree and just as they get there, they change their mind.  Three squirrels, two last week, and one yesterday (who did not die very pretty).  Pretty simple stuff…grab ’em, puncture ’em, crunch ’em, shake ’em.  Time to go.  Thanks, Maisie, for the great pictures.  I think I’m in love.  -Magic

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

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Did Dr. Preiser make any comments about my handsomeness?

“How did you find out that my birthday is today?”

“Why can’t you just go with the flow…like you usually do..why are you over-thinking this?”

“I’m a rescue, picked up as a stray…right?  What…did you drive down to Quincy, Illinois and find my parents…snoop around the truck stop where I was found?  That would make you a pretty good investigator…”

“We guessed…your birthday was assigned by what Dr. Preiser saw when she examined you…remember, the week after you were adopted, remember being fostered at Kathy’s house? Remember Cody and I picked you up at Kathy’s house”?

“Duh…of course I remember, Border collies remember everything…and my date of birth was determined how?”

“Dr. Preiser said you were 8-10 months old…max…based on your brilliant white teeth, your weight, your demeanor.  Dr. Preiser said you were just a baby.  So, we did a little math and came up with a birthday of February 8th, 2014.  And that makes you TWO years old, today.”

“What did my weight have to do with my age?”

“That is the simple part of the guesswork.  When you were picked up in Quincy you were only 33 pounds.  And Dr. Preiser said you didn’t have much muscle…even Kathy said you needed to build some muscle.  During you weigh-ins at the vet in August, September, and October, your weight was right around 55 pounds.  A couple of weeks ago, you were 61 pounds, I don’t know where you are putting the weight.  I know you been getting a lot of exercise with all of your girlfriends – Kaya, Sophie, Erin, and Olive.”

“Can we go the woods again today, I had a great time yesterday…I like being off-leash in the woods.  What was the name of that park?  I really had fun chasing the Canada geese into the river.”

“White Pines State Park…and you were VERY good with every command I gave you – EVERY TIME – you really pay attention…GOOD BOY!”

“Thanks, but Border collies know how to pay attention.”

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BCBI AND CDBI CONCLUDE HISTORIC TALKS WITH PACT

-COLDSTREAM, SCOTLAND, U.K.

A historic convention between the BORDER COLLIE BEHAVIORAL INSTITUTE (BCBI) and the lesser known CATTLE DOG BEHAVIORAL INSTITUTE (CDBI) has resulted in the settlement of claims that arose from a tongue-in-cheek comment callously made in the blog of a BCBI member in the United States.  The commentary of BCBI member, Magic of Lenox, who authors the codemanbc publication, included unconfirmed and reckless wording that a CDBI member, Patrick of Shannondale, possessed a “character flaw,” a slanderous term that Patrick of Shannondale vehemently denies.  The week long convention set in the rolling, rocky, sheep-filled, hills north of Coldstream resulted in new and revised accords set forth by the dominant members of both Institutes:

  1. There will no changes in the Canine Intelligence Rating as set forth in various International publications.  The Border Collie will continue to be ranked #1 while the Cattle Dog (not to be referred to as the Cattle Collie) will continue to ranked #10.  The CDBI requested a formal vote be taken to move the Cattle Dog from the #10 positionto the #8 position, now occupied by the Papillon breed, but a misspelling on the ballot means that a formal vote will not occur until the next convention in 2017.
  2. The terms “character flaw” and “personality defect” will no longer be permitted by members of the BCBI when referring to members of the CDBI (even if the member of the CDBI does possess such traits, EMPHASIS ADDED).
  3. The CDBI Board of Regents adopted a modification to the frequently altered Official Cattle Dog (ODG) breed standard.  A DNA thread of at least 1.5% AND (emphasis added) possessing any amount of brown, black, gray fur WITH any amount of ticking, is now the MINIMUM standard to be included in the CDBI official membership.
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    Patrick of Shannondale after hearing of the convention’s decisions.  “I have ticking and I wear a tiny dinosaur on my collar ID, what’s the big deal?”

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    Magic of Lenox (left) conferring with an unnamed minion at the convention site in Coldstream.  “He (the petitioner) is such a pretender, I will always call him the Cattle Collie, I mean, Cattle Dog.  Is there a reason I am not called a Border Dog?    Think about it…

     

     

 

BABY SITTING MS. PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE

This is my main girl-friend, Brandy.

This is my main girl-friend, Brandy.

My Dad heard Brandy barking several days ago, it was a weekday, and Brandy’s Mom was at work.  Now Brandy knows when My Dad is taking me for a walk, or going by-by in the Scion xB, or if he is just walking with me.  Brandy loves My Dad, and she know that if she calls to him, he will drop everything to rescue her, to take her for an emergency walk, or to allow her to come over to MY place to play with me.  And when Brandy comes over to MY place, she acts like its HER place…sort of.  She eats MY food, she eats MY chew toys…but she lets me jump on her, play fight, nibble her legs, sniff her ears, play-bite her neck, and play tug of war with my sheep plush toy.

But when I visit Brandy’s house – LOOK OUT – I never know how she is going to greet me…happily or VERY MEAN, like she wants to open my thoracic cavity.  Brandy is very passive when she is off-turf, but when she is ON-TURF, that is, in her house or near her front door, she is a demonic schizoid.  “OBEY MY RULES, DON’T TOUCH MY TOYS, DO NOT LOOK AT MY FOOD, DO NOT KISS MY MOM!!! YOU ARE IN MY DOMAIN…ARRRRRRRGH…

“ok, ms. vader.  i don’t mean to upset you, i won’t look at you, i’ll pretend i am your prisoner, jeeez…take it easy…have you ever thought of a prescription for doggy-xanax, like a 20 year prescription?”

But come over to my place and we’re like…soooooo mellow.  Pick a personality, Brandy.  Love, Magic

Brandy and me at MY place...no arguing, no troubles, because I am a mellow guy!

Brandy and me at MY place…no arguing, no troubles, because I am a mellow guy!

Brandy likes all the attention I give her.

Brandy likes all the attention I give her.

"Yes, hold still, the bully-stick is in there SIDEWAYS!

“Yes, hold still, the bully-stick is in there SIDEWAYS!

Believe it or not...my plush sheep is still in one piece...well, except for the surgically removed squeaker.

Believe it or not…my plush sheep is still in one piece…well, except for the surgically removed squeaker.