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About Withzia

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  1. I think they had fun. I really wanted to take them on an 8-mile-loop hike of Little Wild Horse and Bells Canyons, but without booties it was better for them to stay in the motel and recuperate. (They and their girl watched TV all day, which they never get to do at home.) There were some daring dogs (or daring owners) on the canyon hike, however. I couldn't resist this intrepid basset hound: His people had to lift him up or lower him down literally dozens of times. See the basset in this picture? Look more closely: Upsy-daisy!
  2. After all that fun, their feet were very sore (booties next time), so they spent the next day resting in the motel, where Zeph spent some quality time with a new friend: But by the following day they had recovered enough to hang out at the beach: Where they soon collected an adoring fan club that appreciated their willingness to fetch sticks:
  3. I was crazy to think I was going to keep them on leash in Goblin Valley: Where her girl goes, there goes Zin: Zephyr may look all sorts of noble here, but actually he got himself stuck on top of this rock and couldn't figure out how to get down. People were laughing at him. I helped him down but he had to pose a bit more first: It didn't take much effort to get them to pose: But we brought the tennis ball just in case:
  4. Chokes me up to post photos of Zia, but here goes, because they're irrestible. This one doesn't quite smell right: This one smells more like a puppy: "Why is he ignoring me?" "Okay, I'll just ignore him." "This always works."
  5. "Oh no, there's an evil brain-sucking alien on my head!" "Don't you care?" No hope. Zin's turn: And now for a guest bunny:
  6. Quarter Australian Shepherd, quarter Blue Heeler. Aren't her legs pretty? Her personality seems just as good as her looks. Thoughtful, intelligent, and she's already learning to simply curl up and wait patiently by the foot of the ladder while her human is painting the house. She's going to be a great "take to work" dog.
  7. Then there's competing for human affection: The puppy has a certain advantage at this.
  8. This puppy has a purpose. She's going to make the Big Dogs notice her. Even though they at first seem to be doing their best to pretend she doesn't exist. Perhaps she'll have to find something they can't ignore. Such as a toy they can't resist. And then she waits. And waits. And finally it works. Of course this might just mean that she loses the toy and has to console herself with a stick. Or she could find another toy:
  9. Clearly I'm not working this daughter of Riggs hard enough:
  10. This is the story I think of when the issue of the pickiness of rescues came up. A good friend of mine attempted to adopt a dog from a malamute breed rescue. I think the world of this woman--she's a wonderful parent and she's very responsible. She got her first malamute when my then 11-year-old stepdaughter was spending a week with her (so you know I really trust her). And then after we scolded her about buying a puppy, and after she built a fence around her backyard, she applied to adopt a second malamute from rescue. She was turned down. She was very frustrated about it, and she had most of the same complaints you see here. But as that first malamute puppy grew she had one huge problem after another. She worked hard to make it work--but the fact is that she was just not equipped to deal with that breed of dog. In the end she did an incredibly conscientious job of rehoming the dog on her own (I assume she was just too embarrassed to contact the breed rescue) and found a very good home for it. So the moral of this story is that someone might be a very good person and indeed an excellent dog owner for other dogs (my friend now has two very happy labs), but still not the right fit for a particular breed or a particular dog.
  11. I've read this thread, cringing as I realized that I had doubtlessly referred to "herding lessons" when speaking to our instructor, and wondering what she thought of me for that. Then I looked back in my old emails, and realized that her usual subject heading when announcing her lesson times is "Herding." She hosts a USBCHA-sanctioned trial each year. Is it possible this is a regional thing? Edited to add: By a regional thing, I mean I wonder if the allergy to the term is a regional thing. I don't see a huge presence of the AKC border collie types in Utah and adjacent states, so I wonder if the stockwork people around here just see us amateurs' tendency to use the term "herding" as harmless rather a sign of evil AKC brainwashing.
  12. I just wanted to say that being owner-centered may not be true of all BCs. My two (1 and a half years, and 2 and a half years) adore everyone they meet. If allowed ("Don't worry--I love dogs! Let them do whatever they want!"), they will sit (a tall sit, not a lie down) as close to the person as they can, staring worshippingly into the person's face. If anything, I wish they would be a little more discriminating. Several of our friends are convinced they personally have a really special relationship with our dogs--I'd hate to see their disillusionment if they ever saw how our dogs do exactly the same thing to the guy who comes over for the first time to do the furnace estimate. And our first border collie was not really different in this regard, even though she was a very shy dog. Once she overcame her shyness with anyone she worshipped them.
  13. That's actually how I got a rock-solid recall on my first border collie! I found myself teaching stays and recalls at more or less the same stage on off-leash walks. Without really intending it, I somehow got her doing solid stays before she had good recall. I kept extending the stays so that I'd get out of sight--and then when I called her she'd come like a rocket. She extended this pretty quickly to recalls in other contexts, but that might just have been her. This was the dog that would hold a stay forever. I found this out after I stopped to get some photos on a hike with a few friends and their dogs. We walked on and after quite a while we heard a distant whine of distress. I ran back and realized I'd left Zia in a stay. Bad dog owner. Best dog ever.
  14. I don't believe I ever suggested not training the recall, and I myself certainly do. But in both the current threads on recalls the safety issue came up as a major motivation for training the recall, and I'm suggesting that your dog is a lot safer if it has both the recall and a distance down in its repertoire.. I think that if you have a dog running into danger--perhaps pursuing a ball rolling into the street--you're going to be better off calling for the "easier" down and then--after its momentum and focus are broken--recalling your dog. I'm trying to think through this, and I think there's another reason why I put such an emphasis on the distance down. Once your dog gets the "concept," it's a lot easier to drill the down over and over again in a variety of contexts whenever it occurs to you. You call for the down, the dog does it, you release them (sometimes waiting a few beats or longer, often not at all). Easy as pie, and the dog goes on with what it's doing, as do you. Each recall on the other hand takes a few times longer than a down (if there's any distance involved) and results in lots of lost tennis balls. (I find I tend to practice recalls on hikes, and distance downs in most other activities, including fetch.) So if I'm honest about it, I may stress the down because it's so easy to drill. Still, a potentially life-saving technique that's easy and convenient to drill might have an advantage.
  15. This could go in either of the current "recall" threads, but I'll put it here since there are a lot of things going on in the other one: If the motivation for working hard on teaching the recall is the dog's safety, isn't a distance down perhaps a little more reliable? Somewhere or other I read or heard that when training my first border collie, and since it made sense to me, I've always put lots of effort into the distance down. The idea is that if the dog is pursuing something it's a lot more likely to do an instant down where it can keep its eye on the object disappearing in the distance than it is to turn around and head back to you. Plus there's always the possibility that the dog might already be heading back to you, say with a frisbee in its mouth, when something potentially dangerous is coming in between (like a couple of downhill skiers) and you'd like to stop your dog in its tracks. I primarily train the distance down with a Chuck-It, working gradually up to the point where my dogs will instantly flatten themselves to the ground and watch another dog grab the bouncing tennis ball. I try to remember to throw in "downs" in other contexts all the time. The release from the down seems to be sufficient reward.
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