Everyone else is asleep. My partner is sprawled across the couch, Zoey is curled up in front of his stomach and Kasper is snug in the crook of his legs. Cute. It’s 5:30am, but I am more than happy to leave them snoozing on the couch…the longer I can put off taking my med and going to bed the better 😉
The pups are feeling much better after their bout of sickness. Zoey has been incredibly hyper, even with normal walks resumed. Ugh!
I have been doing SO MUCH training with her to help tire her out mentally…we’re doing lots of work on handling, especially things that a vet might do (although here’s hoping we don’t need to see a vet for a looooong time!). This includes getting her to give paw and pressing the nib of a pen into her leg (injection), checking her teeth (I can hold her lip up for 5 seconds easy now, which is a huge improvement) and scruffing her.
Her old ‘owner’ (the guy who had her 2 weeks, didn’t name her and left her outside with no shelter in winter) told us when we collected her that he had been scruffing her. He said he “grabbed her by the scruff, and twisted it until she yelped” as a way to punish her – she was 8 weeks old! I don’t believe in punishing any dog, but to treat what is essentially a baby like that is disgusting.
So I’ve desensitised her to being scruffed since she was 10 weeks old, she has always been taught it is a very good thing to happen! I can tightly (but NOT painfully) hold her scruff and jiggle it about, and she will maintain eye contact and sit very calmly. This is awesome 😉
We also run through leg touches
Leave its, with Zoey either sitting or lying down
Standing on her back legs is a firm favourite with Zoey, although if she is feeling energetic she often springs into the air. Zoey is a very bouncy dog (aren’t most Staffies?!) and can easily jump up to face height. I am 5 foot 5, so it’s pretty impressive 😛
She can wave both her front paws; waving the right one is a fairly new trick, I still haven’t thought of a verbal cue for it.
I filled in a survey in dog behaviour today. One section was about the dog showing aggression, towards other dogs and humans. It really helped me see how different my pups are! I had to score if either dog had acted aggressively towards humans, with 0 being never and 10 being very often. The result was along these lines:
Kasper (Border Collie x Springer, almost 5 years old): Growling = 4, Curling lip / snarling = 2, Air snapping = 1, Mouthing = 0, Making contact but not leaving a mark = 1, Bruising = 0, Wounding = 0.
Kasper resource guards. Between 10 – 15 months old he growled when he had a high value item and several times placed his mouth on my / my partner’s arm. He did this very lightly – this dog is a great communicator and has fantastic bite inhibition!
After much counter conditioning it is very rare for Kasper to RG nowadays; in fact he willingly brings me items he has “stolen”, and when he has a high value item we throw him a treat every time we walk near him. That’s not to say we don’t mess up and leave him no other option but to growl, about a week ago he picked up a notebook and we went to take it from him without asking him to drop it / bring it…result? Growl and an air snap. Live and learn.
Zoey (Staffordshire Bull Terrier, 2.5 years old): score of 0 for them all! She also scored 0 for all the signs of showing aggression to other dogs 🙂
I would imagine a heck of a lot of it is to do with Kasper’s first home and his early upbringing. We know his past wasn’t great and we didn’t adopt him until he was 9 months old. We were also total dog noobs to begin with. And many Border Collies are prone to anxiety, which is much increased with life changes such as moving house, rehoming etc.
With Zoey we had a virtually clean slate and she has never presented us with any serious behavioural concerns. No aggression towards us or Kasper, ever. She’s a dote.
That’s not to say she is ‘better’ than Kasper, or that Kasper is a bad dog. He’s really not, he’s wonderful! He growls to let us know he is unhappy, which is PERFECT, and he’s very forgiving. Both of them are very special dogs ❤
Right, I should probably wake everyone up now and take my med like a good girl…otherwise I will never want to sleep 🙂