Tail Wags Translated

I love tail wags: they are such an interesting expression of internal affect and indicator of a dog's emotional state. And I know the professional trainers who read this blog know how often they can be mis-interpreted by the general public. "But he was wagging his tail...!!!!" is a phrase heard painfully often, by people who have been bitten, or whose dog just snapped, nipped or bit. Ah, but a tail wag is like a smile: often an indicator of happiness, but not always. For example, we all know what a "phoney" smile looks like. The lips part and the corners of the mouth rise but the eyes never change. I'm remembering one person who smiled at me in a way that caused me to think I was in danger.  There was nothing friendly about this guy's face, because his eyes were cold and hard, and the Read More

The Illustrated African Wild Dog Story

As you know if you've been following the blog, 1/2 the folks who went to Kenya continued on to Botswana. We all knew that seeing Wild Dogs wasn't a guarantee, but we had high hopes because we were going where and when our chances were highest. (And no, in response to one comment, there are no [African] Wild Dogs in the states, we're talking another species here, see photos below.) We stayed at Chitabe Camp in the Okavango Delta, owned and run by Helene Heldring and David Hamman, and very close to the research station of Tico McNutt, who has been studied AWDs for over twenty years. We knew that he had radio collars on most of the packs in the area, and we knew that it was still denning season, meaning that the adults tended to stay put more than usual. Still, as an experienced naturalist Read More