The Dog I've Always Wanted

Canine Behavior, Training and Photography

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A Small Furry Prayer – Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life by Steven Kotler

November 6th, 2010 · Add Comments · Book Reviews

Steven Kotler has written an open hearted and wonderful book about his experiences in the realm of dog rescue. Around age forty he found himself suffering a kind of mid-life crisis which he characterizes by quoting a line from T.S. Eliot, “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons http://..ic-viagra-soft/…” His involvement in dog rescue comes about in the way that all the important things in life happen, seemingly by accident. “A Small Furry Prayer” is about both the nitty grittty of day to day life with a large pack of dogs and the amazing spiritual realizations and connections that come from living a life that is as the author terms it, “the real McCoy”. It is about being fully alive and open to the genuine possibilities for communication and compassion that can exist between species. An honest look on the inside of what some have referred to as “the cult of dog rescue”, it makes for an inspiring read.

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Dog Play dog to dog communication

October 26th, 2010 · Add Comments · Photo Gallery

I put together this gallery of photos from nearly 300 shots I made of these dogs playing last week. The three of them play together most week days. The basenji comes and goes on the scene. The others have refined their play to a very elegant, ritualistic and above all polite interaction. I must say that it gives me extraordinary pleasure to see so much dog spoken and understood. That is not to say that it lacks intensity; it does not. They are so comfortable with each other that they are able to know the precise moment to suspend the action. I have not needed to intervene in their play very often of late, except for the basenji who gets very aroused very fast and bears close monitoring. I’ve been watching this group very closely now for quite awhile and I find that I can make sense of good deal of the communication between them viagra canada. I find it fascinating that when dogs are playing they make all the same moves they use when they actually hunt and fight. But it is understood that this not the real thing. It is play. It is play because at the outset they have sent each other very clear signals, by means of their extremely complex and amazingly sophisticated body language. “Now we are playing.” So they self-handicap to fit each other’s capabilities. Among mammals, humans and dogs are the most playful species by far.

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Bones Would Rain from the Sky Suzanne Clothier

October 17th, 2010 · Add Comments · Book Reviews

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I first read “Bones Would Rain from the Sky”  about five years ago when I was searching for approaches that I could use in the training of a difficult dog. At that time I was not ready for this book. It was much more subtle than  my understanding of the human/canine bond could apprehend.  I was still overly concerned with the mechanical and concrete aspects of life with a dog. When I came across this title in the library catalogue I recalled that I had read it but couldn’t remember it. As I went through the material I realized that it would not have seemed that useful to me or even have really made much sense to me five years ago.   Much of what the author had to say sounded quite familiar,  not because of my previous reading of it, rather because it  reflected a good deal of what I have learned by experience living and working with an amazing variety of dogs.  It was an astounding validation of my self- directed experience and research. I would recommend this book to you if you feel ready to deepen your relationship with your dog. Suzanne Clothier self identifies as a holistic dog trainer.  To give some idea as to just what this means I offer the following quote, from the opening of her chapter called “The Quality of Connection” : “When we enter into a relationship with a dog or any other being we are seeking a connection or, perhaps more accurately, what we feel as a result of this connection: comfort, love, acceptance, peace, joy. What we are seeking and striving for is a quality of connection that is – hopefully- a mutually pleasurable state, a dance of two spirits moving in agreement.”

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Taiga

August 16th, 2010 · Add Comments · Captioned Photo

Border Collie - Taiga
I have had the opportunity of spending a fair bit of time with this dog. She is a classic border collie, nicely mellowed by the years. Tuned in and wonderfully responsive, she is exceptionally attentive to her human companion. On a walk, Taiga is always ready to receive a request and carry it out. Seeking eye contact as she trots along, she looks back over her shoulder; her eyes ask the question, “This way? Is this good? Right!” Her desire for interaction is quite intense; when you’re with her she’s so totally present and observant of every move you make. Deeply satisfying to be with, she is, literally and figuratively, an engaging dog.

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2 June 2010 The State of the Pack

June 3rd, 2010 · Add Comments · Journal, Photo Gallery

I made this gallery to illustrate how much more apparent the cohesiveness of our little pack becomes when we move off territory. Each of us is constantly aware of the whereabouts of each of the others. The dogs check in with me and almost always come when called. They tag after each other, often sniffing or peeing (only Cleo and Benny) on the same things. I’ve seen them all sniffing the same dog at once and usually they just go through the procedure and then take off all at once, having apparently satisfied themselves that the dog under scrutiny is no problem to them.  We had a couple of tense moments this spring with Cleo exercising her penchant for large intact males and leading the rest of the pack to the vicinity of a fine specimen; unfortunately intact males of any size are the kind of dogs that I need to keep Benny away from.  But we were lucky and got a leash on Cleo and “leave it” was uttered before things got out of hand with Benny.

Arlo is just about a year old now and is typically enamoured of playing with other dogs. He even plays by himself, tossing toys and catching it, or dropping objects in water and knocking them around with his paws. He is a natural retriever,  especially in water. He is low dog on the totem pole but cheerful nonetheless. He remains confident with new dogs but somewhat less so with new people.  He can be a bit of a toy hoarder, walking around with two raw hides in his mouth while Benny and Cleo ignore him. I take them away because I can see how much it stresses him to have to guard the objects. His submissive displays are high dramas often culminating in peeing. I try to stage manage them outside. He is physically daring and unafraid of strange objects. He jumps through a hoop easily. He is gentle with people but he can be clumsy. In general he exudes an air of happiness. He’s glad he’s a dog. He’s glad he’s alive.

The last three pictures are of the dogs eating the frozen marrow bones they got that after the walk that day. The way I see it is that the walk replaces the hunt for the domestic dog pack and as the hunt, if it is successful, culminates in sharing food so should the walk.

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