The Dog I've Always Wanted

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Entries Tagged as 'News From the Doggie Daycare'

A Trio of Books About Greyhounds

December 21st, 2008 · No Comments · Book Reviews, News From the Doggie Daycare

“The Reign of the Greyhound: a popular history of the oldest family of dogs”

“Adopting the Racing Greyhound”

“Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies”

I have recently developed a keen interest in greyhounds, particularly in the process by which greyhounds whose career at the track is over are integrated into a human family.  Initially  there was Mr Grey, a retired racer who had raced under the name Pilot, with whom I had daily contact at work.  Then there was a second retired racer at the daycare.  Observing them and interacting with them I quickly realized that greyhounds are, to use a cliche, a breed apart. I was charmed by their exotic appearance. I was surprised at their gentleness with people. In short, I wanted to learn more about them with a view to understanding them. Greyhounds are different. They are sighthounds also referred to as gazehounds. Other breeds in this group are borzois, whippets, salukis, afghan hounds and basenjis. These are fast dogs (up to 40 miles per hour) with remarkable vision (270 degrees) originally bred to pursue prey. A greyhound is not built like anything but a greyhound. Their ratio of body fat is a great deal lower than for other breeds of their size. They practically have their own blood group. There is no other dog that is built on such magnificent aerodynamic lines. Caring for a greyhound is a fairly specialized business and requires some education.
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News From the Doggie Daycare 5

June 3rd, 2008 · No Comments · News From the Doggie Daycare

It is very interesting to observe and identify the styles of play favoured by individual dogs. There are really only four basic styles of dog play. There are the rough and tumble dogs who who enjoy body slamming and rearing up on their hind legs and wrestling.

Chase is another popular dog game and it is one in which the chaser and the chased frequently switch roles.

Mouth wrestlers enjoy lying on the ground and engaging each others mouths. These dogs tend to vocalise while playing.

Creep is a mock- scary game which involves two dogs approaching each other stiff-legged and on tip- toe, very slowly advancing towards each other and then suddenly they erupt in play.

I find it remarkable how versatile most dogs are in their play styles. It also appears to be the case that dogs play differently with different individuals and at different times. Well-socialized dogs seem to be  capable of playing in a mutually satisfying way with most others next.
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News From the Doggie Daycare 4

May 21st, 2008 · No Comments · News From the Doggie Daycare

The importance of preventing problem behaviours by taking a proactive approach to puppy training cannot be overestimated. It is so much easier to prevent things from developing than to eradicate a negative behaviour once it has become entrenched.

With young puppies one of the first issues to be sorted out is that of mouthing. A dog uses his mouth to explore the world the way we use our hands. A nippy puppy must be conditioned in order to learn to be gentle with his mouth.

The longer a behaviour is allowed to persist the more difficult it is to modify or eliminate. Door charging is an example of a behaviour that is not only bad manners but also potentially very dangerous even lethal to a dog. Consistency is key; the dog must be required to sit and if not stay at least wait every time a door opens. Initially the dog may be restrained and praised when he is not attempting to lunge at the door.

Each time that the behaviour that needs modifying presents itself is lesson time. Training for these issues should be incorporated into the daily routine of interactions with the dog. In this way there are plenty of opportunities to address a given issue, often in a variety of contexts. Repetition over time is key. Increasingly difficult situations should be attempted as the dog begins to “get it”.

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At the Dog Daycare 3

May 7th, 2008 · No Comments · News From the Doggie Daycare

It is very interesting to observe the entry of a new dog into the existing pack at the day care. The staff can do a lot to help the process along. It is usually a good idea to introduce the neophyte to the group gradually, one or two dogs at a time. This is especially important if the newcomer is exhibiting any signs of anxiety. A confident adult dog who is well-socialized with others may well be immediately able to handle the necessary greetings and ritual sniffings required of a dog in this situation. In a few minutes he can be caught up in the ongoing play. But if the dog is younger and/or a lot smaller than most of the pack members his introduction into the pack ought to be more gradual. The pacing of the introduction should of course be determined by the dog’s reaction. He may want to stick close to a human at first until he feels less uncertain. It is possible that he will tremble and cringe at the other dogs’ initial licks and sniffs especially if they are exuberant. In the normal course of events the new dog will find his place in the pack and things will carry on from there.

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At the Dog Daycare 2

May 5th, 2008 · No Comments · News From the Doggie Daycare, Uncategorized

Who’s stick is it anyway? Do dogs ask themselves this question? Probably not but the issue of object guarding can be a serious problem when you’re dealing with a group of dogs. Some dogs will guard toys, including sticks, in a group. It usually starts with a game of “keep away” that goes on too long. The dogs get too aroused and a fight can begin. The culprit does not know who is in charge; since he has possession of the valued object he thinks its him. This can be corrected by making it clear to the dog who is in charge and to whom the resources belong. Some trainers recommend that all the dog toys be kept by the human in a place where the dog cannot have access to them on his own. A toy may be brought out at play time; this makes a good reward for appropriate behaviour. Later, the toys are put away. It is generally not considered a good idea to have dog toys lying around; some dogs will feel the need to guard them. If the dog does not recognize that the human is in charge he will of course feel the need to play that part himself. That is because a dog has a pack drive; the strength of this drive varies from breed to breed as well from one individual to another. What does this mean? In short, a dog needs a structure in which to operate socially and that structure is the pack. When dogs live with humans the human must be the pack leader or serious trouble can ensue. Being a pack leader means, in part, that you control access to all the resources. So I guess its your stick!

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