MeMe Gets Skunked; Kitten Update

Gingers

Here's an interesting case for you: A good friend has a lab cross, MeMe, who was badly skunked a few nights ago. This appeared to be a direct hit to the eyes, the poor dog was rolling desperately on the ground, gagging repeatedly and batting at her eyes. MeMe got medical care and appears to have recovered, but here's her owner's question: When Debby found her, she cringed and cowered, "belly nearly scraping the ground, eyes averted and tail down." Debby said she looked like she was afraid she was about to be hit, although that has never, ever happened. (Okay, it's not like I live inside the dog's collar, but I know Debby, and believe me, she'd no more hit a dog than I would.) Debby was not scolding MeMe in anyway, but MeMe still had her head and tail down in the positions that people Read More

The Plays The Thing

Here's a video I'm going to show in New Zealand of Willie, Hope and friend Mico, from this summer. I'm not going to say much about it, because I am curious what words you would use to describe what you are seeing. Watch it a couple of times, and then if you are so inspired, describe the behavior of the two younger dogs. (Willie is the adult BC, Hope is the medium sized young BC, and the other black and white guy, the smallest dog, is what looks like a BC/Bully breed cross, but his genetics are unknown.) I'm especially curious how you describe a few of the things that Hope does..... Can't wait to hear your comments! MEANWHILE, back on the farm: Wheeeee... just a few more days before we go! Lots more to do, but we'll make it. Can't wait til the "drive away from the farm with Willie in Read More

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

Final Exams — Puppy Style

My UW students just took their last exam, and along with grading all 150 of them, I'm off with Jim to pick up the pup tomorrow. He'll be nine weeks, a male Border collie of excellent herding lines who are also carefully bred for health and temperament. I've known his dad for years, always considered him a "bomb proof" dog--so much so that he was the first dog that Will was allowed to be in physical contact with after a year of classical and operant conditioning to turn his dog-dog aggression around.) Some background: Two days after Lassie died I was online looking at rescue sites and shelters. I've never done that before, always needing a long time to let the other dog go.  I'm not sure why I did it after Lassie died. Her death was profoundly difficult for me; the loss of her was hard Read More