- The Science of Words. Or is it the Words of Science? (Denise Fenzi)
- Dogs’ Attention Declines with Age — But Training Helps (Companion Animal Psychology)
- Is Your Dog a Social Butterfly? (Do you believe in dog?)
- Veterinarians are Responsible for the Welfare of Flat-Faced Dogs (Dog Zombie)
Category Archives: Other Stuff
- 2017 Dogs in Review (Scientific American)
- 2018 Dog Preview (Scientific American)
- Clicker Training 101: A Quick Beginner’s Guide (Dr. Jen’s Dog Blog)
- Handling Errors: Help Your Dog! (Denise Fenzi)
- The Owner’s Behavior: The Elusive Puzzle-Piece in Dog-Human Relationships (Do You Believe in Dog?)
- The Sound of Silence (Denise Fenzi)
- Trump Leading the Charge Against Science and Reality (SkeptVet)
- Is That Zooming Agility Dog Stressed or Happy? Wrong Question! (EileenandDogs)
- Are You Training, or Complaining? (Dr. Jen’s Dog Blog)
- Sniffing is Not the Enemy (Cognitive Canine)
- Let’s Go Back a Few Steps (Stale Cheerios)
Christmas with the dogs is my favorite — Wally LOVES opening presents and Ava is starting to catch on. Right now she mostly races around with a “whatever’s going on I’m soooo excited!!!!!!” face. They got a snazzy agility tunnel, which Ava blasts through whenever she gets the chance. They were less excited about their new Hurtta safety vests, but I was plenty happy! They also got nine more squeaky tennis balls (Wally’s fave) and of course a bunch of chewies. You might have noticed the cat wand in Ava’s stocking… She chases those things with glee. And of course we had to do the obligatory photo with the dog costumes we got in Japan two years ago. It’s tradition!
- Sharing This Planet for a Moment in Time (Nancy Tanner)
- Frans de Waal: Moral Behavior in Animals (TED)
- Removing Your Puppy’s Desire to Play Fetch With You (Denise Fenzi)
- How to Make the World Better for Dogs (Companion Animal Psychology)
I haven’t told this story yet because, well, it was traumatizing for all of us. When Ava was about 5 months old Fiona attacked her. Yes, that Fiona, the one that gave birth to her. We’d just returned from a walk and Ava was being playful; Fiona was in no mood for that. We didn’t know it at the time (but found out the next day) that Fiona was in incredible pain due to pancreatitis. Fortunately there were no injuries but Ava was terrified and Fiona was unforgiving.
Within a few days Fiona had recovered from her bout with pancreatitis, but her aggression toward Ava only worsened despite the fact that Ava continuously sent appeasement signals. I’d heard from other breeders that this can happen: two females who previously got along suddenly don’t, to the point that they will kill each other. The owner is faced with either lifelong management or rehoming a dog.
After several weeks of dealing with the extreme and stressful management required to house two dogs that don’t get along, we came to the difficult conclusion that Fiona would be rehomed. We were concerned that this might happen again with her next litter, which would make it impossible for us to keep a puppy and continue breeding. Luckily it was the best decision for everyone, especially Fiona. Now she’s carefree and happy living with a retiree who dotes on her, and she’s the only dog so the odds of this happening again are very small.
Rehoming Fiona wasn’t the end of our ordeal, however. This event occurred during a highly sensitive period of Ava’s social-cognitive development. We had to go through the long process of recovery, spending 9 months going to puppy classes in Seattle where she could socialize at her own comfort level. It’s been about a year since the attack and Ava is still uncomfortable around other dogs. She has a very low tolerance for rude or pushy behavior, which makes sense in the context of her history. She’s very protective of herself
I bring this up because I read a recent post on Nancy Tanner’s blog, Top 10 Tips for Dealing With a Traumatic Dog Experience. It reminded me of how important it is to take action after a traumatic event, and also to recognize that your dog may never return to their original baseline of behavior. Remember to love your dog for who they are.