Meet Maggie

Happy Maggie

Yup, Redstart Farm has a new member of the family. Maggie, a 15-month old female Border Collie from Idaho, has stolen the hearts of us all, Willie especially. He is gobsmacked. In love. Head over heels. Watching the two of them play has become one of my greatest joys in life. Those of you who have been following the farm for awhile know that finding the right dog for Willie hasn't been easy. He started life as a puppy pathologically afraid of unfamiliar dogs. He grew into an adolescent torn between fear and the desire to control everything, the kind of dog I call an "alpha wanna be." He has always loved to play with dogs who also loved to run together outside, but became tense and a tad crazy if they came into the house. Remember Jack Nicholson's face in the movie The Shining? Read More

USDA Internet Sale Regulations

shae portrait

Mea culpa. Awhile back I hastily posted a Here Here! on Facebook about the new USDA regulations targeting internet sales of dogs. The regulations narrow the definition of "retail pet stores" in order to regulate the sales of animals sold "sight unseen," an increasingly common situation given the vast reach of the internet, and the increase in the number of puppies purchased by buyers who have no idea how they were raised. The responses to my FB post came in fast and furious and can be summarized by the following examples: "Oh, Trisha, it makes me so sad that you think that is what they have done. Please educate yourself further. This is not a step forward for the reputable breeding community." "Yes and by doing so, they are requiring everyone with 4 intact females to raise their Read More

Ralphie’s Adventure at Summer Camp

ralphie

This week, it's all about the farm: (Next week I'll write a full report of the talks at the Animal Behavior Society 2013 Meeting in Boulder. It was great, lots to tell you about!) [I should mention here that I just changed that last sentence on 8-8, after a call from Jim who noticed I had actually written "I was great..." instead of "It was great". He pointed out that that didn't sound like something I would say, and he was right. I meant the latter, not the former. Argh, how embarrassing.] First, although it was lovely to be on Vancouver Island and invigorating to be at ABS in Boulder, it is heaven to be home.  Willie is doing well, I'm even giving him a little time off leash, and Tootsie is as adorable as ever. They both seemed awfully glad to see me, but they couldn't possibly have Read More

Can Dogs Tell Stories: The Answer

Willie at Clinic 10-12

Recently I asked the question, "Can Dogs Tell Stories?" I didn't mean stories in the sense of fictions we tell children to help them go to sleep at night, or novels about sexy spies, but stories as internal narratives that describe the "who, what and where" of an event in the past. In other words, can a dog have thoughts like "The last time I came to this dog park a big, dark dog ran up to me and play bowed and we had so much fun running around together." Readers, as usual, had some truly thoughtful answers to the question, and if you haven't read them I encourage you to do so. It turns out that many others have been pondering this question for quite a while, and I thought you'd be interested in what they have to say. Not surprisingly, given the complexity of this issue, there is not Read More

Favorite “Non-Traditional Cues,” Part II

Polly in Tree 10-12

Wow. You all are amazing. So far there have been 165 answers to the question posed two weeks ago, "What's Your Favorite Non-Traditional Cue?" I've read through every one of them with great interest (and often amusement). My plan was to go through all the comments, list every cue mentioned with it definition (some people included as many as 7 or 8), and see if I could  find some patterns. Several hours later, and less than a fifth through all the cues mentioned, I suspected that a smart person might want to modify the plan. So that's what I've done, whether either out of laziness or wisdom, I couldn't tell you. I'm using the list I've generated so far as a sample, and have re-read all the rest of the comments that have been so thoughtfully provided. Here's what I'm seeing so far: Read More