menagerie Archives

January 14, 2005

The Snorin’ Foursome

The best time of day is when all the pets are sleeping.

January 26, 2005

Canine perception

I always have to smile when I’ve got something that Kira thinks is yummy that I’m pouring into a container. It never fails that when she hears it hit the bottom of the container, she looks for it on the ground. :)

May 8, 2005

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Luna got in a fight today. This post is mostly so I can remember the facts clearly if necessary.

We went to the nearby park with some friends and their dog so the dogs could collectively burn some energy. When we approached the park, we saw that there was a woman with her kids and her black lab off leash outside the fenced area on the playground. Mark inquired as to whether the dog was friendly with other dogs and the lady replied that she was when off leash. (At that point, I should have turned around and taken Luna home... hindsight 20/20 and all...) The dog met Kira and Rita with no real problem. I decided to take Luna through the path away from their dog since Luna can be testy with other females.

The other dog approached us as we were crossing the playground and they did the sniffing dance with little fanfare. I didn't want to let her linger so I hurried Luna into the park.

At some point the other dog ran up to the fence (on the outside -- we had latched the gate and all our dogs were inside) and Luna headed over to where she was. Next thing we know, they're fighting through the fence. We were able to keep Kira and Rita away by voice and Luna was pulled from the fence. I don't know if the other dog backed away at that point or not. Mark asked if the dog was ok and the lady said no and that her ear was bleeding. They left the park at that point.

Within a few minutes, a man came up with a pen and some paper asking who owned Luna ("the black dog") and wanting our name and phone number because his dog was "bleeding all over the kitchen". We should have asked him to reciprocate but didn't think of it until he'd already left. Both Mark and I apologized and then he launched into a tirade about being sick of his dog and family getting attacked by "mean dogs" in this neighborhood. Hold on just a minute, buddy...

Not only was this guy not there to witness the altercation between the dogs, his dog was no innocent victim. She was fully participating. Had Luna been "attacking" her, his dog would have easily been able to flee to safety merely by backing up about 12 inches because, as I mentioned before, our dogs were *inside a fenced area with the gate firmly latched*. The entire thing happened between the bars of the fence. It made me wonder whether or not his dog had initiated these prior "attacks". Well, I'm sorry that they've had bad experiences, but I'm unwilling to shoulder the blame for that being that I don't believe I had ever seen them before today. We made some of these points to him but he just remained irritated and then stormed back to his car and left.

The ramifications of this are that Luna will not be making any more trips to that park. I will continue to take Kira there but I'm unwilling to shoulder any more risk with Luna at this point. If I have to keep her away from the fence at all times while in the park, there is really no point to taking her there to play off leash.


August 9, 2005

It's a Ruff Life

My dogs are bored. They keep looking at me like "Come on Woman, do we really have to watch Lord of the Rings *again*??". But I took them on a long bike ride this morning so if they don't wanna watch Lord of the Rings they can just suck it!

January 4, 2006

Animal Magnetism

Apparently, I am the place for napping today. I expect that from Socrates. He's taking full advantage of the promise I made through tears when I thought he was gonna die at my feet while I slept. I told him that I wasn't ready for him to go and that if he could make it through the night so we could get him to the vet, he could sit on my lap whenever he wanted. I'm just surprised that Squeak tried to crawl on top of the laptop first today. I had to type this entire post solely with my right hand.

February 20, 2006

These Dogs Were Made For Walkin'

I watched way too many episodes of The Dog Whisperer this weekend. So much that I decided to "rehabilitate" my dogs based on what I'd seen him doing with the dogs on the show.

Cesar Milan grew up watching a pack of working dogs on his uncle's ranch and based his handling techniques off what he'd observed. The leader goes first. Always. Packs spend a decent amount of time following the leader around on foot over the course of a day. Dogs that step out of line get mouthed on the neck just behind the ears. Dogs are happiest with a calm, assertive leader (this is where we humans need to step up). In his philosophy, dogs need three things (in order of importance): Exercise, Discipline, Affection. He considers the affection to be of more importance to the humans, as there is little affection within a pack.

The first thing he usually does after meeting a dog on the show is take the dog for a walk. He generally uses slip leads (either chain or nylon) placed high on the neck (like in dog shows) to reinforce his leadership when walking a dog. Pulling ahead gets a quick pop. Fixating on something (cat, dog, etc) gets a pop and a tap on the butt to break the dog's focus. If the dog resists, he continues until they reach a "calm submissive" state. Just as important is the human's emotional energy. Excitement, anxiety, and fear can prevent the dog from reaching calm submission and accepting the human as the leader.

The noodles have always been pretty lousy leash walkers. Pulling, running ahead, going berzerk if another dog comes near (mostly Kira on that one). Luna had been getting a lot better since I started using a prong collar but I still used a flexi leash so she would be up to 26ft ahead of me. Leading the walk. Kira was so excited and unruly that I gave up on trying to walk her at all, even with a prong collar. Walking the two of them together is something that happens about every 6 months or so as a reminder of why I never walk them together.

Today I decided to walk Luna down to the local pet shop to try on slip collars (aka "choke chains"). I tried to keep the prong collar up high on the neck but it slid down pretty often. It worked alright to keep her at heel for the walk to the store. I picked up 2 24" chain slip collars and ordered a new ID tag for Luna (whose collar has gone missing *again*) and Luna got a cookie from the girl behind the counter. Much to Luna's disappointment, the little paper baggie that we left with didn't contain anything good to eat. I put on the slip collar and we walked home. I had trouble keeping it from sliding too but it was easier to readjust than the prong. Our walk ended up being about 40 minutes. I was interested in trying out the technique on Kira so I took her around the block with her new collar. After her initial corrections, she fell right in line. It was like walking a totally different dog.

Second Chance at Love, the human society from whom we adopted our dogs, is run by a woman who has trained with Cesar Milan. She gives workshops periodically, in addition to doing private consulations. The next workshop is supposed to be some time in March. Generally, it costs $250 *per dog* but if you have adopted from them, it is $50. The workshop includes information on dog behavior and handling techniques, a "leadership walk" and lunch for all the humans accompanying the dog (they recommend all family members over 8yrs of age attend). I'm seriously considering taking at least one of the dogs to the next workshop. Cesar Milan, himself, will be doing a seminar at a nearby community college this summer but that is $125 a head and doesn't include bringing your dog along. It is a fundraiser for the humane society.

My ultimate goal is to get the girls certified as AKC Good Citizens. Walking on a loose leash is one of the criteria. We'll start there.

March 11, 2006


Ahhh... conked out dogs.

After 2 bouts with Maggie submissively peeing on my carpet, we put her in the crate last night to keep the knuckleheads away from her. This morning I locked the dogs out back and Maggie was taken out front to potty (I love having a fenced front yard).

There was a nice break in the rain so I took the 3 girls out back and let them do their sorting ritual. Once Luna and Kira were doing nothing but looking up as if to ask "Can we go inside now?", I figured it was safe to bring them in the house.

What happened next was fantastic. Maggie and Luna started to play! Kira would get jealous and take Luna down. They rolled around like nuts for nearly half an hour. Luna engaging Maggie and Kira swooped in to get her fair share. Now they're snoozing. Yay!

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to blackmoondog in the menagerie category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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