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  1. Hooper2

    Stinky Border Collie Puppy

    Definitely consult with a vet about any unusual and recurring odor with your dog. But if there is no obvious medical explanation, I pass this on as just my anecdotal experience. Many years ago I had a dog that developed an overall "body odor" that got gradually worse. The odor would go away for a day or so after a bath and then it would return. I tried several different doggie shampoos, including a couple pretty costly ones - it was a while ago so I don't remember which ones, but I tried quite a variety. Nothing helped. Then I read that the odor is caused by a specific bacterium, and that conventional doggy shampoos will wash most of the bacteria away, but that there will be enough survivors left on the dog's skin that they will quickly repopulate and the odor will recur. The recommended solution? - a bath with human anti-dandruff shampoo. So, I bought a cheap (compared to what I was paying for premium doggy shampoos) bottle of Head and Shoulders, and poof! The odor was gone and never returned. Some disclaimers here: a) I have no idea how reliable my original source of information was. It was just something I read on the internet, and as we all know, anyone can post anything on the internet, b) Most people recommend NOT using human shampoos on dogs. Something about differences in optimum pH in dogs vs humans, c) I'm not a fan AT ALL of the great anti-bacterial fad. But anti-dandruff shampoos aren't anti-bacterial. Anti-dandruff shampoos do contain an ingredient that is anti-fungal, so I kinda sorta suspect that the offending odor producer is a yeast, not a bacterium, d) I'm not a vet, nor do I play one on TV. Reread my first sentence in this post, along with the advice of several other posters. But plain ol' Head ahd Shoulders worked for my dog, it's cheap, and I only had to use it once so it's not like a one-time exposure to human shampoo did any damage to my dog's skin or coat. If you do try this, please let us know what the result was. Oh, and edited to add: I'm a huge fan of ACV as a hair rinse both for my dogs and myself, and it was the first thing I tried with my stinky dog. Didn't help with my dog, but again it's cheap, and can't hurt to try it.
  2. Hooper2

    Fearful Border Collie *UPDATE*

    Thanks for taking the time to give us an update. It always frustrates me when someone new posts here about a problem, people take the time to offer advice and support, and we never hear the outcome. It's great to read about progress and success. And you tossed in a puppy picture as well. You earn a gold star!
  3. Hooper2

    walking backward

    Well "ruin" is a relative term, but I think it's pretty safe to say that it is extremely rare for someone to train their first sheepdog to anywhere near it's full potential if the dog has any real talent. I've heard that it's typically more like your fourth dog before you become fairly proficient at bringing out the best in a talented sheepdog. Of course there are a ton of variables including the natural talent of the trainer, access to sheep, access to a good mentor, time and money available to commit to training.... But, bottom line, yeah most sheepdog trainers feel that they came up way short training their first dog or two or three. But, so what? You gotta start somewhere, and you'll only learn by trying, and it's not like Spillo cares if he becomes the best sheepdog he can possibly be. If you and he enjoy your interactions while training, and the sense of partnership you develop improves your bond with each other, and the sheep you train with are treated fairly and compassionately and you have a serious goal of improving your skills and learning more about using dogs to manage sheep, then do your best and enjoy the challenge. On the other hand, if you (general you, not you personally) are just doing this to collect "titles" after your dog's name, or you have some romantic notion that your dog pines to live up to his heritage, or your dog yearns for the fulfillment of working sheep, or you just consider an occasional session on sheep to be entertainment for your dog, bear in mind that sheep are sentient animals that would rather not participate in providing your dog with a play day no matter how nicely you treat them. Truly, I'm not trying to discourage you from continuing if you have a serious interest in improving your ability to work sheep with your dog, even if just as a hobby. I'm a hobby herder too. And the fact that you initiated this conversation, have taken the advice offered to heart, and have continued the conversation indicates that you are serious about improving. But I feel sort of compelled to remind every newcomer to the sport (I was one myself) that sheep are not dog toys, and if this is just something you (general you) are just doing as an occasional fun day with your dog, nosework is fun too, is way less expensive, can be done in your living room, also uses your dog's innate abilities, offers a s..t ton of letters to place after your dog's name if you choose to compete, and doesn't place stress on any other animals.
  4. Hooper2

    Trazodone for Dogs

    Going to a specialist in veterinary dentistry is a good idea if you have access to one, and can get a prompt appointment. There's a decent chance that once your regular vet actually looks in your dog's mouth that your vet will refer you to a specialist anyway, so if you have the opportunity, go directly to the specialist and skip an intermediate step. But the vet/dentist is still going to have to look in her mouth, and your dog is not likely to be any more cooperative in a new location with a new person than she is someplace where you've spent a year desensitizing her to being handled. So call the vet dentist, tell them about your dog's previous issues with being handled, tell them that your current vet gave you Trazadone to give before the next exam, explain why the vet gave you the Trazodone, and ask if you should give it before the visit with the dentist. Otherwise, you are likely to be wasting a visit when the dentist can't look in your dog's mouth either. I understand your reluctance to medicate your pup, but really, what other options do you have?
  5. Hooper2

    Strange Tan Appearing?

    I think what you've been reading about sun damage and diseases and nutrition is a different phenomenon that what is happening with your dog. With your dog it just looks like he's developing more tan as he matures, and I don't think that's all that unusual. When people talk about sun damage or poor nutrition causing a reddish color in the dog, they are talking about the black parts of the coat taking on a distinct rusty reddish color over much of their body. As the dog sheds out old coat, nice black new hairs will replace the reddish hairs, and then as those hairs get older they'll take on a rusty color until they are shed out, and the cycle starts again. This is because black hair contains a reddish pigment that is masked by darker pigments. As the hair shaft gets older the darker pigments get bleached out and more of the red shows through. When this happens, the tip of the hair shaft gets red first, while the shaft nearest the skin stays blacker. Diet may play some role in this, and exposure to uv radiation may hasten the reddening of the black hair, but in my experience the tendency to develop a reddish cast to black coats also runs in some lines more than others. I've had dogs fed the same diet and kept in the same living quarters, and one would keep a nice deep black color all through the summer, and the other would get a nice new shiny black coat after shedding and then within a month or so the red would start showing through, and that reddish color showed up in many of his relatives. I've even read that this is controlled by a single incompletely dominant gene, although I doubt that it's really that simple. When white parts of the coat turn reddish (especially around the paws) it's because the dog has been licking that area, and that could be a sign of an alergy or some other skin problem. But I digress. That's not what's happening with your dog. I doubt that he's been licking the top of his head ;-) and from your video it looks like it's just a localized patch and it's the base, not the tip, of the hair shaft that is losing the black color. Your dog is just developing some more tan hairs as he matures.
  6. Hooper2

    New Puppy Older Female BC

    All puppies are cute. Yours is extra super duper cute! I agree with advice given above and want to emphasize that Taffy isn't being bad to defend herself from puppy antics. You don't say how old Taffy is, but apparently she's at least 13? That's sort of equivalent to a person in his/her late 70's. Even if she loves kids you wouldn't expect great Grammie to put up with a rambunctious 2 year old tearing around. That's not to say they can't interact, but as others have said, Taffy needs you to protect her from overly physical interactions with a baby that doesn't know any better yet. Some dogs are absolute saints with puppies and will put up with a lot of silliness but also give clear but harmless corrections when the puppy crosses a line. If you know someone who has a dog like this, let your puppy interact with this dog to learn some normal doggy manners without putting Taffy in a position of having to do the all the teaching. But remember that neither of your dogs is being bad. They are both just acting their age, and as long as you protect them both from each other and give your pup a chance to learn doggy manners with other dogs, within a few months they will be fine with each other.
  7. Hooper2

    Frog sniffer dogs

    I remember reading journal articles at least 30 years ago on game bird population monitoring in which the researchers used, wait for it..., Brittanys and German Shorthairs to locate gamebirds. Because, duh. What's really surprising is that it took so long to figure out that dogs can be trained to detect other species besides quail and grouse and pheasants. I'll admit though, that frog detection is not something I would have thought of.
  8. Hooper2

    Did I commit a faux pas?

    Well, I wouldn't say you committed any faux pas, but I might give them one more chance before you write them off. It should be fine with any boarding facility to let you come visit the facility before you leave your dog there. But their lack of response might just be that they got busy and your e-mail slipped to the bottom of the e-mail pile or some other fairly innocuous explanation. Sure, it's not ideal if they don't respond to potential customers right away, but let s/he who has not carelessly let an e-mail message go unanswered cast the first keyboard. Especially if you have a friend who recommends that kennel, I'd try contacting them again, maybe by phone this time.
  9. Hooper2

    Aggression Advice

    I have nothing to add about how to help you and your dog manage his dislike of people. It's a heart breaking situation to be in. But don't beat yourself up about one bad encounter with children being the cause of his aggression. As you realize, having a bunch of kids suddenly start squealing and running toward a young pup (or toward an old lady like me, for that matter) can be pretty unsettling. But most dogs, even young pups, wouldn't be permanently traumatized by one bad experience. It's just as likely (or more likely, in my opinion) that his response to the scary encounter was caused by a temperament issue, rather than that his temperament issues were caused by one scary encounter. We do our best to protect our dogs, but if a single bad encounter permanently damages the dog's world view, odds are that if it hadn't been that experience with kids it would have been something else that would have eventually triggered him. I think that the fact that the farmer had to lock the mother of the litter away when you went to get Dallas may be more significant than you realize. He certainly wouldn't be the first puppy purveyor who has used the "she's just protective of her puppies" excuse to hide the fact that the momma dog just has a bad temperament period.
  10. Yeah, absolutely no excuse for punching anyone. But, besides the fact that the dog is only 8 months old, it's a great Dane. I get that for certain types of service, dogs need to be a minimum size. But an alert dog for a hearing-iimpaired person can be pretty small. While I would hate to try to figure out size restrictions for service animals, a great Dane is TOTALLY impractical as a service animal that is going to accompany his person in all sorts of public places. Besides the fact that they just don't fit in a lot of public spaces, their life expectancy is short, and they aren't particularly tolerant of either heat or cold. This sure looks to me like the couple decided they wanted a great Dane as a companion animal, and then decided that they could take their companion animal wherever they want if they train it (or claim to have trained it) to perform a service for them. It is really murky trying to clearly define what a "legitimate" service animal is, and I sure don't want to say what breeds or mixes can or can't be service dogs. But it seems to me that one criterion for selecting a dog as a service animal that will have unrestricted public access is whether that dog is physically suited to go everywhere in public.
  11. Once when I was teaching a "Puppy Manners" class for our local club, I asked the dozen participants if any of their puppies had a tendency to nip at ankles/heels. Six people raised their hand. Yup, the aussie and the two shelties were ankle biters. Also? The weim, the beagle-mix, and (surprise!) the jack russel. I then asked how many people thought their dog was showing "herding" behavior. The owners of the shelties and the aussie were sure that ankle biting was herding, and the owners of the other three puppies were convinced the exact same behavior in the bird dog, the hound dog, and the terrier was "dominance". Sigh.
  12. Hooper2

    Talking to Animals by Jon Katz

    Reading the reviews on Amazon of JK's book is ... interesting. A depressingly large number of 4 and 5 star reviews, but a significant number of 1 and 2 stars as well. The most interesting of which details how Katz started a Kickstart campaign to bilk people out of their money to donate toward Katz's purchase of some fancy schmanzy camera that was essential to providing adequate illustrations for his book. Bottom line ... pretty much what you would expect. Thousands of dollars raised and presumably spent, scant evidence of its use, much less necessity, in producing the book. I'm embarrassed to say that I paid money for his "A Dog Year Book". I thought he was a doofus at that point, but relatively harmless. Everything from Katz since has been a downward spiral from doofus to narcissist con artist.
  13. Hooper2

    New Here and Looking For Possible Advice

    I absolutely totally agree with what others have already said about it being completely unreasonable to expect a 4 month old puppy to have perfect leash manners, and that it is going to take some fair, consistent, long-term training before you will have a dog that will reliably walk politely on a leash in all kinds of circumstances. By all means use whatever gentle, kind methods you feel are effective to teach your dog this essential skill. But, in the meantime, pup needs exercise. Unless you have nearby access to a decent sized absolutely safe securely fenced area, that means he's going to have to be walked on a leash before he has developed the maturity and self control and skill to do it without pulling. There's nothing mutually exclusive about using a prong collar to manage a determined puller/lunger/forger while also doing the long term teaching (not to mention allowing him to mature enough to develop some self control) necessary to have a dog with good leash manners. True, lots of people who use prong collars or halti's or easy-walker harnesses never do end up teaching the dog how to walk nicely on leash because they are satisfied with managing the problem rather than spending the time training (and there's nothing wrong with that), but that doesn't mean you can't do both if a well trained dog is your goal. The beauty of a prong collar is that as long as you don't snap the leash to create a correction, the dog is totally in charge of whether he gets corrected or not. If he doesn't like the feel of the collar tightening around his neck, all he has to do is stop pulling. His choice. I really don't see anything unkind about this. It is true that this alone won't teach your dog not to pull on the leash. Pretty much every dog learns pretty quickly when the prong collar is on and when it isn't, so if you truly want a well trained dog you will still have to put in the training time, and that can and should be as fair, gentle, kind, patient, and consistent as you can make it. But the prong collar will allow you to exercise your dog in the meantime, without him continuing to practice an annoying and potentially dangerous habit, and without you having to spend all your abundant disposable student income on physical therapy for your back and shoulders.
  14. Hooper2


    Eh, irregardless of your horror at the misuse of "literally", I consider it all a mute point, and could care less. I get why people object to dogs competing in agility being considered "working dogs". But, we do consider professional athletes to be doing a job, and in fact pay some of them pretty darn well for their work. Me whacking a tennis ball around isn't work, although it may be painful to watch, but I'm more than willing to accept that when Serena Williams is on the court, she's working. Likewise, my dogs and I play at agility and it isn't work. I don't know where to draw the line between an activity being recreation and work but I would say that he agility teams that are serious contenders at a national level worked to get where they are, and I have no problem with those dogs being considered working dogs. Back to the original topic - I started out "herding." I'm still a rank novice whose skills at training and trialing sheepdogs are only marginally better than my skills at whacking a tennis ball around. But I have at least learned to cringe at the word "herding" even if I still can't keep my flank commands straight when the pressure is on, so at least I've learned something.
  15. The right kind of Labrador puppy could be a good choice for you. I personally prefer the labs bred for field work, such as the ones you are looking at, but some of those can still be pretty bouncy, in your face types of dogs. Pay attention to the behavior of the mother, and the sire if he's owned by the breeder too. There are never guarantees, but the behavior of the parents is at least one pretty good clue about what the puppy's basic temperament will be like. If for some reason the Lab litter you are considering doesn't work out, I would recommend you look at other herding breeds. It's not just a matter of being boisterous or not; the style of play is different among herding dogs than among bird dogs or hounds or terriers. Shelties can make nice companion dogs, are plenty active, but also are sensitive enough not to be overly pushy. In my experience the "oversized" shelties are generally more sensible and less barky and less hyper than the ones at the smaller end of the spectrum, although obviously that's just a broad generalization. Cardigan corgi's are also generally nice companions, and less barky and snappy than some Pembrokes tend to be. I hate to recommend show lines, but aussies from show lines can also be nice mellow dogs, and "Lassie" type collies are also generally pretty laid back, and the smooth coated ones don't require extensive coat care. I'm basing all this on my observations of breeds in North America. I'm guessing you are from Great Britain, so you may find some of my generalizations don't hold up. Also, I agree with others that if you have a male, a female that you will eventually spay would be a better choice than another male. I have had multiple males and multiple females that all got along just fine so it's certainly not a hard and fast rule, but virtually anytime there was a squabble in my pack that escalated beyond a curled lip and a bit of muttering it was dogs of the same sex that would get into a shoving match.