Saturday, April 30, 2016

Rescue dog

Lives are being lost in Texas... tragedy.

Here's a photo that brings new dimensions to the term rescue dog.

AP Photo by David J. Phillip.

Don't Hug Me!

Stormy is happy that humans are learning not to immobilize their dogs in a big bear hug.  She growls and jumps off when pulled onto a human lap for a big hug.

Na'ilah, on the other hand, always looks a little jealous when Stormy gets this attention.  But maybe that's because at 80 pounds, she is never pulled into a hug that would actually immobilize her.

Bear hugs can be a little scary, especially for a dog.  Bear. Hug. 

Stanley Coren in Canine Corner at Psychology Today reports on research that immobilizing dogs makes them nervous.  Dogs are cursorial animals--they run in case of emergencies.  

Na'ilah has probably never been immobilized, except when leashed into the tub at the do-it-yourself dog wash place.

The Corgi, on the other hand, often has to deal with being grabbed and held.  She growls and struggles to get free--or settles down on our knees for a brief period (not held).

Our Chihuahua, Lilyrose, may have a different point of view.  She likes her freedom of movement, but she likes safety too.  An elevator ride out of a threatening situation is often welcome.

Read Coren's column to understand your dog's canine stress signs: a yawn, averting his/her head, ears down, eyes closed or wide open to show half-moon of white eyeball.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Strong Prey Drive

It's a sunny morning.  Birds twitter.  I walk Na'ilah and Stormy on our usual route.

Stormy pauses for every scent of another dog's pee, but Na'ilah keeps her eyes on the tree tops in case there's a squirrel.

We move into the street as we see two Chihuahua-mixes on the sidewalk.  My dogs pass politely, barely noticing them, but the smaller dogs might be afraid of Na'ilah, so I give them space.

On the other side of the street two fluffy white Bichon frises are being walked, but neither Stormy nor Na'ilah gives them more than a glance.  

My dogs have their CGC degrees.  They know I will give them half a mini-biscuit for a polite meet-and-greet.  

After we're back on the sidewalk, however, Na'ilah lunges into the middle of the street after a squirrel on the ground that I haven't noticed.  With her 80 pounds, she could pull me over easily if I'm not alert.

Do I restrain her and follow into the street as I rein her in on the retractable leash? Or drop it and let her go for the squirrel to protect myself?

Today I followed, reining her in successfully.  Last week I dropped the new $30 leash, but its mechanism inside the plastic case got damaged.  I don't want to buy a new one.

The squirrel makes it to a tree.  Na'ilah tries to follow it up.  She's sure that if she tries hard enough, she can learn to climb trees.

It's been two years since she killed one cat and nearly killed another.  She hasn't sunk her teeth into a wild animal since last summer when we were in Colorado.  

This is life with a ridgeback rescue.  Her strong prey drive just doesn't diminish.