What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

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JudyN
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by JudyN » Sat Nov 01, 2014 2:47 pm

bendog wrote:It was only about 5.30pm but already pretty dark, and dusk seems to trigger her little inner feral creature brain into "hunting time" - it may partly be a training issue, but it is very clear that her behaviour is VERY different during daytime walks than it is at dusk, even when we are walking in the same fields.
Jasper's the same - I avoid walking him in the dark and he's far more switched on at dusk. If he spotted a deer while off lead I would be very surprised if he didn't take off and disappear for a while. Him being a sighthound, I have the advantage that once he's lost his quarry he won't be led further and further on by his nose, so knowing how worky Pops is, coming back in 10-15 minutes isn't bad at all - though I do know how long it feels when your dog is missing.

Could Pops & Jasper have better recall at such times with more (and in Pops' case earlier) training? Probably... but then again, maybe not, so don't beat yourself up :wink:

We had a load of fireworks close by just now. Jasper went up to bed, then decided he wanted to be with us so came back down, tried to persuade us he needed to come on the sofa, then went to his bed and whined. I sang to him to help him settle - OH has serious doubts about this, but Jasper did doze off after a while. Possibly he twigged that when he stopped whining, I'd stop singing :lol:
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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minkee
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by minkee » Sat Nov 01, 2014 5:45 pm

That's interesting Judy, because I've found that though Breeze is sighthound technically, he's definitely a 'use what works hound' generally. If he can smell it he'll follow his nose, if he can hear it he will follow his ears, if he can see it then you can guess what happens!

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Ari_RR
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by Ari_RR » Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:51 pm

Yep... I'd say Ari is the same way. Sometimes he finds and follows a scent with his nose glued to the ground and gets so focused that he misses a dog walking by us in the opposite direction :roll: ....

In general he's become a bit whiny lately, especially on weekend mornings. He wakes up early, wants to get in the Big Bed but there is no space for the 107 lbs bubble boy. He can go to the other Big Bed in the empty bedroom, but it's lonely there, and boring. So he whines and pokes me to get out of bed and go to the other bedroom, and there is enough space for a dog and a human so we both get in and I can grab an extra hour of sleep. I give in, usually. At 6 am on a dark, wet, cold Saturaday morning I just have no energy to argue. I think he knows that.

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Swanny1790
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by Swanny1790 » Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:19 pm

Our little guy Friday is quite opinionated, and willing to voice it. He is a really good singer, too. Here is a video we shot today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnMxYpT ... e=youtu.be
"Once infected with the mushing virus, there is no cure. There is only trail." - Sven Engholm

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emmabeth
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by emmabeth » Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:43 pm

Ach, shoot me now for I have been BAD.

I've also been good but, my this is BAD and I feel really really craptastic about it.

Sat down to groom Ellie tonight, now she has the FINEST fur in the world, it is a soft downy stuff and quite big mats will run through a fine FINE toothed comb without being pulled out... and I know this, and normally we keep on top of it..... buuuuuuuut..

Somehow, shes not had a proper brush through in three weeks, and somehow she had managed to mat BOTH her thighs right to the skin, all around her knee joint. I dunno if shes been itching (I found a single flea on her - we recently did the carpets after finding a single flea on Womble, am trying to avoid treating all the dogs as three are allergic to the most effective chemical treatments!)... and perhaps thats made it worse or what, she is a matty dog but shes NEVER been that bad.

So I had to scissor them off and boy what a job because her skin is the palest pink and so fine, and her fur is, underneath, the palest cream and so fine and ensuring i cut only hair and not skin under SUCH tight mats.... ugh.

Anyway I did it and I am relieved to discover that asides from a bit of dry skin in a couple of places and some flea dirt under ONE single mat, there are no sore spots or hot spots or any kind of spots at all, so I reckon I caught htat just in time.

She does look absolutely ridiculous now though poor love with her legs almost bald from above the knee to hock height. I have had to trim the fronts to match and I need to see if she will tolerate a set of battery powered clippers over them to blend it in! Still, its only hair, it grows back and I am just glad I realised in time!


On the GOOD side, I have been working on teaching Womble, Errol and Rocky modifier cues - we've started with big/small and so far all three are pretty hot on identifying BIG correctly - Rocky and Errol get it right enough of the time that I am pretty sure they are not guessing, this is when there is a choice of two items (and i have three identical except for size tins).

I set up two tins and started out by giving the cue 'touch' and then pointing at it and then 'big' and they follow the finger to touch the item indicated. I mix up the two available 'small' items, and then move stuff around and then I start changing the 'big' item out for a smaller one before they can get stuck in the idea that a particular tin is called 'big'.

I faded out the cue there and as I say, pretty sure Errol and Rocky get it, absolutely certain Womble does.

With Womble I have gone a step further and he can now correctly identify 'big' from a choice of two OR three items and his accuracy rate is around 98% and i think he is only making errors when he is getting tired or frustrated.

Next step I am going to introduce three new items (all matching except for size) - thwarted at the minute as I can't think of any! - and once we have generalised big across several different items, THEN ill introduce the idea of 'small' - again this is so that we generalise the concept across different things BEFORE the dog can get stuck in thinking certain items are called 'big'.


Erica - before you spend out on a big stand dryer or similar - you should be able to get away with a human hairdryer, but get one designed for professional use in a hair salon, and a stand you can fix it to (mines actually gaffer taped to the stand on my table, the pole on the stand moves so i can shift it round a bit) - it will be fine until he is bigger, they are designed much heavier use than normal hairdryers (mine regularly gets used for over an hour!) and generally quite a lot cheaper!
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

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Nettle
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by Nettle » Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:37 am

The big/small is pretty impressive Emms :D I doubt the "scientific" world is ready for the shocking truth that dogs can differentiate by size :o


My sighthounds turn to scenthounds in a moment - like Breeze, they use what works at the time. Possibly Jas finds scenting less appealing because of his muzzle, but that's mere conjecture.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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JudyN
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by JudyN » Sun Nov 02, 2014 6:44 am

I wonder if Jasper's lack of stamina is a factor too - 10 minutes flat out after a deer and he can barely stand, let alone follow his nose. But being a Mummy's boy he then comes crawling and staggering back to me before collapsing in a heap :lol:

But he prey drive does seem to have decreased recently. On occasion he's seen a rabbit sitting next to a prickly gorse bush and has decided it's not worth the pain and the effort. A rabbit half a mile away on open ground is still fun, fun, fun!
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Swanny1790
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by Swanny1790 » Sun Nov 02, 2014 9:19 pm

I just posted the first mushing video of our training season on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZH_ilP ... e=youtu.be
"Once infected with the mushing virus, there is no cure. There is only trail." - Sven Engholm

Sweetie's Human
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by Sweetie's Human » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:02 am

I got back from 10 days in NZ today, to a VERY excited puggie. It was so lovely to be welcomed home like that :D . Apparently she was a bit mopey and extra-extra needy for three days, then she and OH established the new temporary routine and she was a very good girl. I missed her heaps!

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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by Swanny1790 » Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:25 am

The big/small training is indeed impressive. I know a fair number of dog mushers who train their leaders to discern 'little' from 'big' changes in direction. For example, in an open field or crossing an ice-covered lake they can cue a "little haw" or "little gee" to make small course corrections. I'm always amazed by that 'trick' and it's one I should probably work on, but (sigh), I only have so much time to spend with the dogs.

I can easily imagine the sight-hounds, and maybe even scent hounds, being more attuned and ready for action during dawn and dusk. Huskies also seem to be more energized during the "golden hours" of the day, also. Many long distance racing mushers try to time their runs between checkpoints to include those hours, resting their teams during mid day.
"Once infected with the mushing virus, there is no cure. There is only trail." - Sven Engholm

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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by jacksdad » Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:03 pm

Impressive.
Nettle wrote:The big/small is pretty impressive Emms :D I doubt the "scientific" world is ready for the shocking truth that dogs can differentiate by size :o
you might be shocked. while still not wide spread there are scientists out there who are working on this type stuff and open to the idea that dogs can differentiate sizes among other things.

Emma, your probably not to this stage yet, but don't forget to factor in the "clever hans" effect when you are read to bet $100 that your dogs will get it right more than they get it wrong.

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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by MPbandmom » Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:38 pm

Swanny, in watching your video I think I am way overdoing it with Sky.

I take it the snowmachine is to keep their speed down and at the same time reduce the pulling that they are doing? I was very impressed with their "line out" and they were spot on for the turns.

I was hoping to get video of my two pulling for a mile, which they need for the DSA scootering badge, this past weekend. Cold and windy put an end to that idea. The person I have been doing some running with is up to 8 miles with her dogs now but I feel like 5 is still the max for Sky and after watching your video, I'm thinking maybe 3 would be a better number. If she would travel at the speed that your dogs were going, I would feel better about the 5 miles, but first time out with the bike, she took off as fast as I would let her go. (I have new brake shoes on the bike now. :oops: ) She then proceeded to run just about the entire 2.5 miles to our halfway/turn around point with only 1 water break beforehand, and a couple of stop along the side to let other dogs go past, and one get into an up close and personal shouting match with another dog that popped up too quickly for me to get her off of the trail and well out of the way for the other dog to pass. I had a sense that she was somewhat freaked out by the bicycle. I don't know if it was memories of the bike and the walkey dog, or just because the bike is larger than the scooter. She looked back at me several times while running, and it just felt to me like she was checking to see if the bike was still chasing her. Every time she looked back, I gave her lots of encouragement and the trip back went much better. I'm not sure if it is just because she was worn out, or because she had adjusted to the presence of the bicycle, or maybe a little of both.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

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Nettle
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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by Nettle » Tue Nov 04, 2014 4:01 am

jacksdad wrote:Impressive.
Nettle wrote:The big/small is pretty impressive Emms :D I doubt the "scientific" world is ready for the shocking truth that dogs can differentiate by size :o
you might be shocked. while still not wide spread there are scientists out there who are working on this type stuff and open to the idea that dogs can differentiate sizes among other things.

Emma, your probably not to this stage yet, but don't forget to factor in the "clever hans" effect when you are read to bet $100 that your dogs will get it right more than they get it wrong.

I am very glad to hear that work is in progress on discovering dogs' abilities :) . I admit to still being :roll: at the 'discovery' that dogs could follow hand signals (any shepherd or hound owner for the last umpteen hundred years could have told them that - and more recently, anyone who works gundogs).

'Clever Hans' effect is a good point - and, thinking on my feet, that is actually a training tool in itself, isn't it? Jacksdad THANK YOU for making me think! :D More coffee needed..... :idea:
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by Swanny1790 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:03 am

MPBandmom, that was the first run of the season for that team of dogs and was only a total of 1.25 miles. It's barely enough for them to get some adrenalin going and then use it up. The four-wheeler is used while their isn't enough snow to safely run a sled (some mushers do use snowmachines for early season work, though). The team is actually pulling against the resistance of the engine much of time. We give just enough power (or enough resistence) to maintain a relatively stead speed of about 10 MPH for my dogs. Using the machine allows us to control speed without wearing out brake pads.

The goal on the machine (or any other rig) is to try to duplicate the resistance of a heavily loaded sled, so they have to work harder going up hill. The only real advantage to a machine over a bike, scooter or cart is that we can safely run larger teams and/or we can bring along a helper in case we have to clear a tangle, as I had to do in the first part of the video.

Sled dogs will almost always take off as fast as the musher will allow them to go. During the first mile or it's our job to use the brakes to slow them so they don't use up all their energy in a mad dash. During that first mile or so I try to keep them down to a fast trot or slow lope. If I were working with sprint dogs rather than cruising dogs I'd do the whole run faster, and particularly I'd let them open up a bit more at the start - say 18 to 20 mph.

I'm sure that dryland mushers have to train a bit differently than those of us working with larger teams, but I don't really know the nuances. There is an active "Dryland Mushing" category on the Sled Dog Central dot Com forum you might want to check out. You can compare notes with others who are active in your particular discipline. http://www.sleddogcentral.com/forum/def ... ?CAT_ID=13

How does Sky behave at the end of your run? If she drinks her water and then lies down to rest you are working at the right distance to build endurance. If she is still interested in visiting, playing, etc. there is still a lot of "gas in the tank", and you can bump up the mileage. That's assuming her behavior is typical. For your discipline, I'd guess bumping up the mileage in 1 mile increments would be about right. With my guys I increase run distance by increments of 3 to 5 miles.

So, in the video most of our dogs were still on their feet after the run. The only dog who actually lied down to rest was Orion and that is just an individual behavioral quirk that he shares with his late father, Torus. Like Torus, Orion and his brother both instinctively take advantage of every rest break they can get. Orion's co-leader, Rose, was still up and about ready to run some more. Heck, most of the dogs weren't even panting hard. As I mentioned early, even going up hill that mile and quarter is just enough to warm their muscles and help them settle their brains. If trail conditions allowed I'd start them at 5 miles and be ready to bump up to 8 after just a couple of those. We still need another four or five inches of snow to be able to cross a muskeg without jolting the machine apart before we can do that (sigh). If this snow drought persists, I'll have to truck the team to access better, longer safe trails.

When sled dogs look back toward the musher, it can hint at many things. In a leader, the dog may be asking for direction or reassurance. A simple "good girl" or "straight ahead" cue usually resolves it. It may signal that the dog needs to pee or poop (we train ours to relive themselves while running), it may indicate s/he is nervous about the vehicle. In that case, reassurance and consistently safe experiences pulling the vehicle solves it. I'd suspect in Sky's case it was the latter and you handled it perfectly.
"Once infected with the mushing virus, there is no cure. There is only trail." - Sven Engholm

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Re: What are you and your dogs up to today? Part 2

Post by bendog » Tue Nov 04, 2014 4:23 pm

'Clever Hans' effect is a good point - and, thinking on my feet, that is actually a training tool in itself, isn't it? Jacksdad THANK YOU for making me think!
Pops can do simple sums (number of barks is the answer)
Of course I am cueing her - but I'm damned if I can isolate exactly what the cue is! I thought it was eye contact, but I think it's actually more likely a head movement, or body weight change.

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