Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /homepages/14/d311814558/htdocs/app313799114/wp-content/themes/suffusion/functions/media.php on line 666

Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /homepages/14/d311814558/htdocs/app313799114/wp-content/themes/suffusion/functions/media.php on line 671

Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /homepages/14/d311814558/htdocs/app313799114/wp-content/themes/suffusion/functions/media.php on line 684

Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /homepages/14/d311814558/htdocs/app313799114/wp-content/themes/suffusion/functions/media.php on line 689

Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /homepages/14/d311814558/htdocs/app313799114/wp-content/themes/suffusion/functions/media.php on line 694
Adolescent Dogs – Alangus Mini Aussies: A Dog Blog
Oct 092013
 

 

57356,1380530546$SS172$One of the most important things we can teach our dogs is a reliable recall.  We practice and practice in our backyard when there are no distractions and it is an easy thing for them to run back to us since they know the territory and have nothing more interesting to distract them.  Then, we take them to the soccer field to play Frisbee or the dog park where there are lots of fun things to see and smell, and they might act like they don’t know who we are when we ask them to return unless we have done some serious practice.  And, I might add, some dogs are easier to teach reliable recall than others!

In teaching recall, one of the things that is super important is that we always make it fun and rewarding for them to come to us.  As puppies, if they don’t come when we call, we must make it a game and run away rather than toward them and act like our closest family member has just come home from Afghanistan when they finally “catch” us.  We should NEVER punish a dog for not coming although I have done it in my distant past and paid the consequences of a dog that became a “runner”.  Letting them drag a long lightweight “clothesline” when they are not quite dependable gives us the edge. We can just step on the end of the line when they start to dart, and reel them back in with lots of “good boys”.

When working on recall, I try to keep a few of the very best “jackpot” treats in my pocket, ones that aren’t used for the usual sit and down and spin.  It has to be something that they can smell from a distance and tastes scrumptious and is only used when what they are asked to do is especially tough.  Since I get samples occasionally from chewy.com, I have decided one they have sent me would be excellent  to use for training recall  or to use a jackpot.  Nature’s Variety Instinct Mini treats are freeze dried raw chicken so nothing but meat and natural ingredients as is typical of this company’s products.  My dogs go crazy when I get out the box and if I have them in my pocket, they sniff and sniff at my side.  I dare say, if I can them to “go out” at all, they will be quick to return if I have these little treats ready to pop in their mouth when they come back to me from a distance.

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Minis are available from chewy.com with free shipping over $49.  I do not receive any money for my reviews, although I do like to share products that I like and this company gives me the opportunity to receive samples for the reviews.

If you’d like to subscribe to the Blog for email notifications when one is posted, click HERE. Your comments and experiences with your dogs are welcome!  You can unsubscribe at any time.

 

 

 

 Posted by at 3:10 pm
Oct 142012
 

I am an advocate for training our dogs because it is just plain fun, fun for us, fun for the dog.  A dog trainer friend of mine quietly handed me a new book a couple of weeks ago and now I realize there was a spark in her eye and a hidden smile as she passed it to me.

The name of the book is Reaching the Animal Mind by Karen Pryor.  Ms. Pryor was a pioneer in the use of markers (whistles and clickers) first with dolphins and then zoo animals and later dogs as she did research for her study of behavioral biology.   Because she is a professional, it might seem that the book would be a heavy read.  However, it is very interesting.  Of course there are lots of examples of her dolphin research and zoo animal consultations but it is written in layman’s terms with lots of entertaining stories.

I dug out my clickers , stuck some kibble in my pockets and decided there are some behaviors in my pack that are annoying me so they are my target for the next few days or weeks.  Clicker training is to help dogs learn new “tricks” but also to eradicate bad habits by clicking and treating them to extinction.

Ike, my 7 year old mini male, who I mention in my blog often can be a nervous barker when he feels stressed.  He also spins when excited, sometimes until he makes himself a little frantic.  He has been my first target to click and treat him when he’s in a calm state, and as he practices the basic obedience commands that he already knows. In his excitement, he also likes to jump on us as we come inside or just to get our attention so I’m also clicking and treating him when his all fours are on the floor.  He knows the words or commands but the click does something to the doggy brain that just the words cannot do.  It’s really interesting to see the difference that the clicker makes even over using a marker word like “yes” or “good”.  I am already seeing a change in his demeanor.  He’s a good boy but needs some tweaking.

Swagger, my little boy learned when he was a baby that his shrill little barks got him picked up, got him on and off the couch, got him out of his crate, etc.  In other words his cuteness and a little noise got him whatever he pleased.  Well, it’s overdue to extinguish the woofs and replace with other more acceptable behaviors to indicate what he wants or needs.  I can’t blame him because dogs do whatever we reinforce and what works…like our children!!

You get the idea!  Training is ongoing and requires short spurts of time each day to work best.  When we get lazy, our dogs get lazy as well or into habits that we don’t like.  Smart dogs need to be challenged to be at the top of their game.

This book is available on Amazon and I recommend it for your collection.  It’s probably one that I’ll read more than once.  Thanks, Leslie, for sneaking it in without a sermon 🙂

 Posted by at 1:30 am
Oct 062012
 

Phoebe 6 months oldAddie Catching Frisbee

Phoebe is relaxing with her nose in mommy’s shoe and Addie is putting the move on the flying disc.  Both are 6 months old and showing that little Aussies love to play, but also know how to chill when the time is right.

These two pictures are of the girls from Izzy’s April 2012 litter.  I have discussed the “puppy uglies” where the babies lose their fat little faces and tummies and puppy fur and grow long legs and out of proportion bodies.  At about 6 months old, everything starts to catch up.  Adult fur comes in along with those last canine teeth and bodies start to fill out with some bulk, catching up to the appendages. Those of us that have hidden our adolescent dogs away for a couple of months or tried to explain to gawkers why they are  scraggly can now start to take pictures and show them off again.  It only gets better from here! Puppies continue to develop past their first birthday although smaller dogs get their growth sooner than large breeds.

If you are interested in Addie’s ability to fly high and catch the Frisbee, post a comment or question and her owner can explain his methodology to get her to this point so young.

 Posted by at 8:39 pm
Sep 132012
 

Izzy, our blue merle mini Aussie just turned four last week and has given us two very nice litters of puppies. However, she struggles to whelp and when her last litter had to be taken by C-section, I determined to have her spayed after her recovery period of a few months. The vet that performed the section did not advocate a spay during delivery because of the risk of bleeding and extra stress on her with nursing babies.  Our dogs are first and foremost our companions.

Izzy had the normal pre-op fast and she went in early in the morning for her surgery so she would have the day to recover before closing time. I chose to have the additional blood work done to ensure her safety and also to have pain meds administered. The vet I used called me after blood work and again at the end of the surgery because she knows I’m a worrier. Izzy did great with no complications during the procedure to remove both her ovaries and uterus.  My vet is a traditionalist although she does use glue in lieu of sutures that have to be removed.  I know in some clinics, laser procedures are being done and I read it speeds recovery time.

Because I’m relatively dog smart, the doc sent her home to my care by noon instead of keeping her the full day. She was still groggy and glassy eyed, but walked out on her own steam. When we got home, I gave her the chance to get a little drink and then I put her in her crate away from my other dogs to sleep it off. I withheld food and water to prevent her getting sick.

By late afternoon, she was ready for a small meal and a drink. I took her out to potty and then back to her safe place. She was still feeling sleepy. I remembered  that she had had antibiotics so I gave her some probiotics to help her stomach flora stay balanced. The evening came and went and she slept all night in her crate by our bed. By morning, she was her tail waggin, bebopping self.  I continued to walk her on leash and limit her jumping for another couple of days, but by day 3, I just let her be.  Her 1-1/2″ incision looked good and she was not licking or bothering it at all.  My vet did not mention her wearing a cone, although I know some do.  In her case, it was not necessary.

I have to admit that I’m sad to know that Izzy will not be able to produce any more babies, but I do have Swagger as her progeny and to keep her intelligent bloodline. I’m sure she will continue to help me train any new puppies that come along.  She has a way with them to teach them manners without intimidation.

It is advisable to have your dog spayed or neutered unless you intend to breed them, and then only if you understand all the ramifications of a breeding program.  Having a female dog in heat is quite a nuisance for 3 weeks about every 6 months and unplanned litters are nothing to scoff at.  All the females I have owned over my 40 years of having dogs have been spayed except for the two that I will now be breeding, Fancy and Rosie.  Recovery time is minimal as is the expense, even for worriers like me.

 Posted by at 8:16 pm

Lifeguard on Duty

 Adolescent Dogs, Alangus Aussies, Dog Instinct  Comments Off on Lifeguard on Duty
Sep 022012
 

Miniature American Shepherd FemaleMiniature American Shepherd Female

These pictures are quite indicative of the “herding” and “pack” instinct of a Miniature Australian Shepherd aka Miniature American Shepherd.  In both cases, just out of photography range are children in the pool and children stepping onto the back of the dive board.  Nika is watchful in one case and barring the way from her perceived danger in the other.

Dogs are dogs, but breed characteristics are hereditary and even though we train our dogs to better mesh into our lifestyle, those instincts are there just under the surface.  A herding dog has developed from bloodlines that brought their sheep or cattle together into a group and stood watch to enable the herdsman or farmer to attend to other tasks.  These early men/women chose their most dependable “shepherds” and bred those dogs together to improve the qualities of their next generation.

Hunting dogs hunt, terriers go to ground and herding dogs are watchful of their pack.  Have you wondered why your Aussie follows you from room to room and acts a little nervous when the family is in different parts of the house?  Those innate instincts are working to get the pack together and in their sight so they can alert for danger.

Nika is from Fancy x Randy litter December 2011 and is approximately 9 months old in these pictures.  She is on duty in the lifeguard tower!

 Posted by at 7:12 pm
Aug 232012
 

Black Tri Miniature American Shepherd Females

Check out the resemblance of Fancy and two of her daughters, Rosie and Nika. Fancy is the larger of the three with the full white bib.  Rosie is the red tri female, which was my keeper from her 2011 litter. Fancy is registered with National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR) as a Miniature Australian Shepherd and American Kennel Club (AKC) as a Miniature American Shepherd. I wanted to get some candids while Nika is visiting us this week.

Since Fancy is a black tri female, it was not obvious until she whelped Rosie if she carried the “red” gene.  In order to have red puppies, both the dam and the sire must be red factored and black is always dominant in this breed.  If one parent is merle, then that opens up the crayon box!  A blue merle puppy is a black tri dog carrying the merle gene and a red merle puppy is a red tri dog with the merle gene.  Detailed information is available online for the correct genetic terminology.

This means that genetically Fancy, a black tri female that is red factored and Randy, a blue merle male that is red factored can produce any of the colors. We’ll see what we get this Fall in the 2012 litter!!

 Posted by at 11:15 pm
Aug 222012
 

Nika from Fancy & Randy’s 2011 litter boarded with us this past week.  Like the other siblings that I’ve posted pictures of, she is a model Mini Aussie and could walk right into the show ring and turn heads.

This litter at 9 months has a range of sizes which is typical of the breed.  Remember, these dogs have been bred down from the full-size model so genetics come into play with weight and height, just like it does with humans.  I can predict adult size at 8 weeks old, but absolutely no guarantees.Technically, Mini Aussies (Mini American Shepherds)  are 13-18″ at the withers.  If smaller, they show as a Toy Aussie and if taller, a Standard.

When Nika came in with her family, she was greeted by Rosie and Swagger, the two young ones.  As is always the case when dogs greet, there was lots of sniffing and head turning, but because all three were puppies, it didn’t take long for them to determine there was no threat.  At that age status doesn’t factor as highly and playtime is the preference.

Nika’s owners asked if Fancy would remember her puppy so I brought her downstairs to visit.  It was obvious that even if she remembered, rank was more important to her as an adult dog.  Nika, coming from an only dog home, hadn’t mastered the “don’t stare” rule of dog language so Fancy raised her lip at her to let her know that her forwardness wasn’t appropriate.  Fancy also mounted her as an indication that she was higher status, at least at this point in their “conversation”. Did she remember?  Hard to tell, but definitely if she did, it was not important.  Nature’s way.

As the day passed, I introduced her to the other dogs in the pack one at a time.  Ike saw no challenge to his leadership from a young female, so after some sniffing and asking Nika in his way to show submission,  that was that.  Izzy, the dominant female, is typically welcome to other young dogs as was the case again this time.  Nika got with the program and rolled on her back and offered her belly to Izzy to indicate that she was no threat to the pack order.

Once everyone had been introduced individually, it was time to let her be with the whole pack.  No problems and Nika now better understands how to merge into a group of dogs peacefully.

As the week progressed, the dynamics of the six dogs was interesting to watch and my husband and I observed very clearly the order of ranking.  First of all, sexually immature  puppies like Swagger, typically don’t figure much into the mix because they are not big enough to eat at the big table.  What did happen, however, is that Fancy, my lowest ranking adult, tried to elevate herself by showing dominance over Nika, not with aggression but with her body language of standing over her.  When she took that position, Izzy came in from the fringes (always watching) and would stand on her tiptoes and give Fancy the evil eye.  That’s all it would take to let Fancy know…too bad, you are just who are and rank hasn’t changed.

The most interesting event that made it very clear who was number 1 and 2 occurred when Fancy was playing with Nika and we heard a little squeak from Nika.  Ike dashed over pronto to check on the situation in his quiet benevolent way to show he’s the “man”  in this house and he doesn’t tolerate any rowdiness between his underlings.  Almost at the same time, Izzy came over and did her stance just in case.  You can’t help but smile at how they keep peace.  World order would be less destructive if humans would acquiesce as easily.

It was nice to see how one of my puppies has developed and reminded me once again that the ones coming from my lines are turning into very nice dogs, both in looks and personality.

 Posted by at 9:25 pm
Aug 222012
 

Male black tri Miniature American Shepherd

G’day, what a handsome bloke you’ve become!  Ozwald aka Oz was one of two male puppies from Fancy and Randy’s 2011 litter, and Rosie’s “big” brother.

His striking feature to me is his symmetrical coloration on his face, tan points above his eyes and blonde rather than the darker red on his face.  Very nice conformation ears for a Mini Aussie and full coat even at 9 months makes him showy. This boy is put together very nicely.

And congratulations to his skin parents on their engagement!

 Posted by at 9:15 pm
May 112012
 

Those cute little fluffy puppies start to morph into adult dogs just like our sweet skin babies pass through life’s stages. At about 3-4 months old, ears start to look funky and the chewies begin indicating that baby teeth are starting to loosen and adult teeth are making their mouths sore. Toward the end of this period, puppies are fully into their adolescent time and their independent spirit takes hold. Sadly, many puppies find themselves banished from their family or even worse, given up to a shelter or rehomed.

How do we survive the next few months?  First, we must realize that our goal is to have a loyal adult dog and no one wants a puppy forever just like we want to see our own children and grandchildren grow into respectful adults.  

Potty mistakes are only mistakes and can be cleaned up. The best defense is crate training and having the puppy in an area easily mopped and to do potty walks often.  They don’t mean to make a mess, they just haven’t learned the rules yet. Consider it the transition from diaper to potty chair to toilet.

At this adolescent stage, puppies also get a wild hair and will take off to explore the world. Knowing this will happen, the best defense when they aren’t in a fenced area is to let them drag 20 feet of light clothesline from their collar so you can step on the end to reel them in if necessary.  The line can get twisted around them and potentially hurt them so only use it under direct and watchful supervision. I use it also to practice recalls.  Of course, don’t chase, but turn from your puppy and call with a happy voice of they get out of reach. And, when they come to you…only good things happen.  Never snatch them up to take them inside immediately or scold them.

Chewing doesn’t  have to be a problem if you have lots of safe toys and Nylabones handy. My floor looks like the dog toy monster spit up.  And…shoes and other valuables just have to be put away until the puppy is dependable, probably after a year or more old.

Time does fly by and with diligence and watchfulness, your rowdy adolescent will develop into the friend you had hoped for.

 Posted by at 2:08 am