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Off Leash Open Thread

Welcome back to Off Leash, Bark’s Wednesday open thread, your chance to catch up with Bark readers, editors and contributors during a real-time chat. Last week, we talked about strategies for vet-nervous pups, problems with a negligent neighbor, buying treats on a budget, preparing a dog for a new baby, and much more. We’re back open to hear more of what’s on your mind—from the latest dog news, to your behavior questions, favorite products, or just a story you want to share.

 

Keep in mind, each week we select a participant at random to receive a Bark goodie bag (so be sure to include your email when you register to comment, so we can contact you if you win). Last week’s winner was Laurelin Sitterly, a humane educator from Providence, R.I. and proud adopter of a one-and-a-half year old Beagle/Dachshund mix named Sadie.

 

For newcomers, the open thread is a little like the dog park: Get out there and run, sniff around and play nice. Obscene, abusive, offensive or commercial comments will be taken down. We open officially at 9 a.m. and close the thread at 4 p.m. PST.

 

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Submitted by Claudia Kawczynska | April 13 2011 |

I just finished reading Dog Sense, a fascinating book by Dr John Bradshaw, a UK researcher. One of important findings he discusses is that "over friendliness" in dogs, like in some Labs, is a two-edged sword, and in the UK they have found that about 50% of Labs suffer from separation anxiety as a result of their intense need to be with people. What do you make of that? Something else to note, Dr Bradshaw will be a guest on the Colbert Report on May 12—Bark be interviewing him as well, stayed tuned for both!

Submitted by Lacey | April 13 2011 |

I'm going to have to read this book. I think that my Lab/Newfie mix suffers a bit from separation anxiety. Keeping her kenneled when we are gone helps a lot, though, and I think it's because she feels safe and secure in her kennel. If we leave her inside and we go outside to work in the yard or something, and she's not in her kennel, she stands at the door and whines. So, I'd love some insight into the issue and ways to help her feel less anxiety when she's alone and it sounds like this book is a good place to start.

Submitted by Team Bat Pack | April 13 2011 |

One of my dogs has some pretty good separation anxiety herself. Some things that have helped me.

1. crating.. if not crating, then confinement to a room or two
2. not making a fuss that i'm leaving or when I get home. I just quietly leave..and when I come home, I ignore her for the first 5 minutes or so.
3. leaving the tv or radio on
4. lots and lots and lots of exercise to tire her out. When she's tired, she's sleeping and not worrying about me. She's a very high energy cattle dog/border collie mix... she needs a few hours of running or swimming for this to be accomplished.
5. activity toys! Kongs stuffed with frozen peanut butter..or frozen with kibble/yogurt inside. Or a Kong Wobbler. Or i'll leave kibble hidden throughout the house that she has to find when I'm gone.

Hope this helps! Would love to hear some other suggestions.

Submitted by Anonymous | April 13 2011 |

I purchased a long hair chihuahua about a year ago....the breeder that I purchased her from was very ill the day that I showed up so I left without her papers and the promise of "mailing them later". I know that was dumb but I really felt bad because I could tell how sick she was. After I put my Candy in the care and the breeder went inside my husband and I drove around her property just looking at her facility. I was horrified! Many of the dogs were skin and bones due to malnourishment and surely worms! I brought Candy home that night and it took several baths and more good combing with a flea comb to get rid of the fleas that covered her body. Then after checking her stool I realized that she had tapeworms (which was no wonder given the fleas). I contacted the breeder several time because I did not even have her exact birhtday when I took her to the vet and she wen into heat well before I thought she would....I know all of this makes me seem like an uninformed buyer...and I am well aware of the mistakes that I made by trusting some one...but I relly did fall in love with my puppy that day and overlooked alot just to bring her home. To make a long story short I finally got in touch with the breeder about 8 months after I purchased Candy adn discovered that I did not have a long haired chihuahua but instead candy is a Pomchi...I also discovered that the breeder (whom I did report by the way) is also the breeder that provides our local petstore with the majority of their puppies...I still do not have papers nor a birhtdate for my baby...and that is ok. I love her no less...I just feel very misled and am very concerned that breeders like that are still allowed to OWN a dog, much less breed them.

Submitted by Carolyn | April 13 2011 |

What a nightmare. Good for you for reporting the breeder. Do you think his/her operation will be shut down? I hope Candy lives a long and healthy life -- she is lucky to have found you!

Submitted by Anonymous | April 13 2011 |

Thanks and I am glad I found her. As of yet the breeder is not shut down and on top of that she is still selling pups at the pet store!

Submitted by Laurelin | April 13 2011 |

We have had an epic battle with Separation Anxiety with our adopted dog (surrendered 5 times, we are her 8th home, at only 1.5 years old). Start by determining whether you are dealing with true separation anxiety, or separation distress, or something wholly different. We would have been lost without books like 'I'll Be Home Soon' (patricia mcconnell), and 'Don't Leave Me' (nicole wilde), among others (including tons of stuff from Bark!). We also tried products like Dog Appeasing Pheromone, music designed for dogs and flower extracts, with varying results. We ultimately achieved success with:
1. Becoming the crazy neighbors - going through the motions of leaving without doing it, which led to lots of coats on, standing in the driveway counting and going back in.
2. Finding a good busy-time treat that could take her mind off of us going - the kong, while great, couldn't capture her attention, but somehow the Tux from West Paw Designs did the trick splendidly!
3. Exercise! Long, long walks and romps with us and her dog friend.
4. A leaving cue: I took the Terminator route, and now can be heard saying 'I'll Be Back' even when leaving a house that my dog isn't in!
5. Uneventful leavings and comings. When I walk in, it's no big deal. When I leave, it's the simple 'I'll be back' cue, and no backward glance.
6. Patience and adaptability! Taking on a dog with this will ultimately change your life, from the layout of your home to how you come and go and whether you can run back inside for that one thing you forgot (we can't yet). Gone at work all day? Don't plan on also being out all night at that party. Also ... we had success, but it's been 5 months, and it wasn't until about 3 months that we were seeing definite improvement. And we still have work to do. I will also mention, be prepared for some property damage. It will happen, don't get mad at the dog for it - you should know it's a risk, so house-proof to minimize your frustration at the dog-it's not fair or productive.

I would like to say, though? BEYOND WORTH IT. Best of luck to anyone who finds themselves dealing with this issue that seems to be becoming more and more common, and please remember that help is out there.

Submitted by Jumpnjill | April 13 2011 |

I wish there was some way to get dog owners to pick up there dog poop,I always pick after mine but so many owners do not,It gives all dog owners a bad rap,who do these people think is going to want to pick up there dogs poop I see it everywhere on my hikes, in peoples yards the beachs,the worst part is that because of it dogs are being banned from places like many hikes beaches etc,because of It and I don't know how many times I'm on a hike that I step in dog poop and I like dogs imagine what the people think that don't like or have a dog !

Submitted by Rose | April 13 2011 |

Completely agree with this comment!Its so inconsiderate of people and gives all dog owners a bad name. Several beautiful parks near me are full of it.

Submitted by arantxa | April 13 2011 |

This is a big pet peeve of mine too, especially when the perpetrator is ignoring the poop/trying to hide the poop right in front of others! I really think the best we can do is lead by example, and carry around extra poop bags to share. If I see people at the dog park or dog beach acknowledge their dog doing its business and then walk away or ignore it, I go up and offer them a plastic bag. So far, nobody has turned one down. Sure, it's a bit passive aggressive, but I try not to act like a bossypants either. I usually just say something like: "Need a bag? Here you go! I hate when I forget mine at home/in the car..."

Submitted by charlene | April 13 2011 |

I hear ya--we are never without bags and have on occasion offered one to another dog owner. The usual response has been a glare. I don't understand why people don't get it's disrespectful to other people who use the same venues--all because they don't want to pick up poop.

Submitted by Barbara | April 13 2011 |

I am appalled every day by the amount of abuse animals suffer. Every time I think I've seen the worst I could see, I see something else. I don't understand why legislators can't see that if a person could do these things to an animal, they could do it to a human. Why is this so difficult to get across?

Submitted by Michelle S | April 13 2011 |

I absolutely agree with you! My dog was dumped out of a car and I wake up every morning to his sweet little face and wonder how anyone can be so cruel. I get so sick when I hear stories of animal abuse. I am a vegan so I do support organizations like PETA and Compassion Over Killing. They give you the resources to contact your local officials and agencies to sign petitions and get your voice heard. I always say that one person can make a difference but many people can make changes happen! Thanks for caring!!

Submitted by Dede in PA | April 13 2011 |

Wondering how many readers of Open Thread compete or have taken at least one class/lesson/seminar in something besides basic obedience/manners? Agility, flyball, dock diving, tricks, disc, musical freestyle, rally, herding, Treibball, Schutzhund, lure coursing, tracking, K9 Nosework, other? I keep a list of sports I want to try with my rescue dogs (when I have the money and opportunity) and am wondering what other people and their dogs enjoy.

Submitted by Rose | April 13 2011 |

My dog and I do agility...its just for fun but its GREAT. Teaches control, helps dogs overcome fears, and is FUN. My dog pulls me towards the equipment hoping she will get to 'play' on it. Just make sure its a positive-reinforcement/clicker based course. Nothing worse then seeing a dog being miserable dragged over the obstacles on a choke.

Submitted by Cathie | April 13 2011 |

After taking several levels of obedience and CGC, my dog Cedar and I started Rally Obedience and really enjoyed it! It's fun, challenging without being physically demanding and improved the bond between us. I highly recommend Rally!

Submitted by MJ | April 13 2011 |

We have a rescue Border Collie that we tried everything with. She was pretty much a neurotic mess when we first adopted her. Obedience helped her a lot, but she needed something more. We tried Rally-O and Agility, but she didn't seem to enjoy herself. We were lucky enough to discover a man giving sheep herding lessons in our area, so we tried it. She loved it and much to my surprise, it helped her to settle down! She actually is a terrible herder, but she enjoys trying! She later began "herding" our ducks (she lays very still and watches them forever...LOL!)

Submitted by Marie at The Bark | April 13 2011 |

Hi Dede! What a great question. Wally and I have taken a K9 Nosework class, and boy is it fun! Wally is a smart and athletic guy, but he has some behavior issues that preclude him from participating in agility, flyball and lure coursing... basically all of the sports that he'd excel at. We're hoping to take another class this spring, but, in the meantime, at home Nosework is a great way to burn some nervous energy on rainy days.

I would also love to get Wally involved in weight pulling. Who here participates in weight pull? I'd love some tips on how to get him started.

Oh, and one of my silly dreams is to compete with Honey in K9 Freestyle. I've already decided that we'd perform to Lady Gaga's Boys Boys Boys... and, of course, our costumes would be fabulous!

Submitted by Sandra | April 13 2011 |

My rescue Great Pyr mix competes in weight pulling and is close to getting her championship. She loves it, and it's made her a much more confident and outgoing dog. A few years ago I wondered if she'd ever be able to leave the house - so she's come a long way.

I love weight pull...some of the nicest and most down-to-earth people you'll ever meet compete in it.

Submitted by Joanne | April 13 2011 |

My Shih Tzu, Chloe, and I are only on our 3rd dog training class, but I hope to get her AKC Canine Good Citizen certified and then at some point, hopefully ger her certified as a Therapy Dog. She is the one who led me to believe and gave me the idea she'd be good at that. Maybe your dog will let you know, too, but hopefully you'll get some good input from this thread. Good luck!

Submitted by Karen London | April 13 2011 |

I love that so many people are experimenting with different sports and activities with their dogs. I'm always fascinated by how different it is to teach a dog something that comes really naturally to them (typically herding, tracking/nose work, and weight pulling) compared to activities that they enjoy and may be really good at, but are not quite as natural from a biological point of view such as obedience, Rally O, and agility. I know tons of dogs take to these latter activities and excel at them, but there is still, in my opinion, a different kind of training for these. Has anyone had the experience of noticing how truly differently their dog responded to one set of activities versus the other?

Submitted by Marie at The Bark | April 13 2011 |

Oh my lord, yes! With obedience training, Wally quickly gets overly stimulated and whacked out (how's that for a technical term?). It's like his neurons begin to misfire when I ask him to use his brain in a certain way. With Nosework training, his behavior is completely different. He's calm (for Wally), happy and enthusiastic. It's so easy to see that using his nose is a natural behavior, but being taught to army crawl? Not so much.

Submitted by Team Bat Pack | April 13 2011 |

So true! It's actually been harder for me to teach me dog herding..because her natural herding instinct/drive is through the roof. We're working on learning control when it comes to working the stock.

In all the other sports we do, it has been more about building the drive/confidence. In herding, its pulling it back a few notches.

Submitted by Laurelin | April 13 2011 |

Also a great post and query! Our dog is a beagle/dachshund mix, and has a funny set of skills. As anticipated, she LOVES nosework, and over the winter shown us this by developing the game of tracking neighborhood dogs back to their front doors while on walks. She is also, somehow, incredibly natural at fast, powerful runs and intricate maneuvers. Eager to please, she trains well ... but with a laundry list of phobias and a basic anxiety issue, some situations are difficult for her, and certain games can be overwhelming. It's been a joy to watch her natural talents flourish (and, more importantly, build her confidence), and also fun to work at those things that just come a little harder to her ... the 'got it!' moment with the tunnel was powerful, though we're still working on those weave polls ;)

Submitted by Dede in PA | April 13 2011 |

Hi Karen,

My sheltie Striker loves any activity that involves running - agility, flyball, disc. I would say disc is his favorite, followed by agility, then flyball. I hope to get the chance to try him at lure coursing to see where that falls in the continuum. I tried rally with him at a training facility's open house and he didn't seem to enjoy it, to the extent that I decided not to put him through the whole course. I was just thinking about this last night after Treibball class, that I'm surprised that he's still quite enthusiastic about this training even though we're still at a level where everything is very controlled.

Submitted by Team Bat Pack | April 13 2011 |

I have two rescue dogs...and we do LOTS of classes!

Both of my dogs compete in Flyball.. my first dog (cattle dog) was very fearful when I first got her and through Flyball classes, she found her confidence (and her voice)!

I also take agility classes with the cattle dog, we have just started competing. I do Treibball with my border collie to help with his off-leash directionals and focus. It has really helped him! I took a Canine Good Citizens/Obedience class with him (which he got), but Treibball was a more fun way to continue with off-leash work and focus.

Both dogs also take herding lessons about once a month and compete in disc (no classes for that though).

Rescue dogs really can do anything! I'd love to try nosework, but I'm already enough of a dog-sports junkie :)

Submitted by Rose | April 13 2011 |

I would LOVE to get into nosework with my cattldog x.I think its a great activity for dogs who are react to other people/dogs because in most cases they can still participate.

Wally's owner: I can really empathize with youas my dog is also not friendly with other dogs which excludes her from activities she would excel at.My dog is a ball/frisbee NUT who would excel at disc or flyball and also has a strong herding instinct.
We luckily found a special agility class for dogs with "issues" where there is a limited number of dogs and activites are done on leash. I am also thinking of teaching a bit of treibball with her at home.

Karen: I liked your comment about the more 'natural' outlets. There is something really beautiful about seeing a border collie herd sheep or a labrador diving into a water to retrieve there bird. I am sure this isn't always the case but its an interesting comparison to more manufactured dog sports like dock dogs or flyball.

Submitted by Kat | April 13 2011 |

We haven't been able to find classes in the things we wanted to learn but that hasn't stopped us from carting or learning K-9 sign. I find if you know the basic principles of positive training it's fairly easy. And since I have a very smart dog I know we'll be learning new things his whole life. I have to have things to keep his clever mind active or he finds his own entertainment. Given his sense of humor that's not a good thing.

Submitted by Anonymous | April 13 2011 |

We've tried dock diving, sheep herding (just an evaluation thing) and agility so far but want to try tracking (for the shepherd) and weight pulling (for the pitty) someday and also give our pitty a chance to try dock diving.

Submitted by Laurelin | April 13 2011 |

I just wanted to say that I love this post. We don't yet do any sports, but I advocate for them, and am looking into both nosework and agility with our hound. Awesome to see so many people doing this!

Submitted by Dede in PA | April 13 2011 |

Thanks for all the replies! :-) I've been interested in Nosework for a while but haven't had the opportunity to try it yet, glad to read about all the people who like it. All my dogs are titled in flyball (it's the first dog sport I ever did, and I've been an instructor since 2003) and they've all been on sheep (I have 3 shelties and a BC/golden retriever mix). One sheltie is titled in agility and has also competed in disc but we mostly just play disc at home. I tried dock diving with the BC mix, turns out she likes running into lakes, not jumping into pools LOL, and have taken classes/seminars in freestyle and tricks. I'm currently taking a Treibball class with my youngest dog (who is 5) and will start teaching it in June. I've been interested in lure coursing since running the BC mix on the Lure for a Cure course a couple years ago. I'd like to try the new AKC lure coursing competition if any clubs nearby end up offering it. I wish I had enough time and money to do more sports with my dogs!

Submitted by Dede in PA | April 13 2011 |

Shoot, I left one off my list of what I've done with my dogs - scootering! My BC mix was a natural, hooked her up and she took off running in a straight line. The guy who loaned us the scooter said he had never seen a dog take to it so quickly.

Submitted by charlene | April 13 2011 |

Any suggestions for vet-anxious owners? I have a dog with infiltrative lipomas, and after the last surgery (removed twice before) the vet suggested that because of the amount of scar tissue, we shouldn't have it removed again. It's grown and grown and suddenly she says we should have it taken care of as soon as possible. Every time I've had a major problem with a dog, the dog has ended up dying after seeing a specialist for a few days (literally). I realize it's just coincidence, but I'm still very anxious.

My dog is an Aussie, and I am aware of but haven't had her tested for the MDR1 gene mutation. This complicates the problem--as she must be tested before another surgery. I realized, long after the fact, that this gene mutation may well be the explanation for losing my other two Aussies (one twenty years ago, one eight years ago).

Submitted by Erica | April 13 2011 |

Maybe try having a trusted friend or family member come with you. You could even let them hold the leash so your anxiousness doesn't travel down the leash to your dog. Try meditating a bit before hand or just sitting quietly and taking some deep breaths before entering the office. Good luck.

Submitted by Joanne | April 13 2011 |

I agree with the post about animal abuse. It's a known fact that people who abuse animals usually go on to abuse people, too. Pet animals, especially dogs and cats, seem to be treated with such little regard in many cases. For all the organizations that help animals, there are still so many people that cancel out all the help. I wish there was a way to limit animal breeding. For goodness sake, they limit how many children people can have in China. Why can't we figure out a way to make people more responsible here in what is suppose to be the greatest nation in the world?!! We need to rid all people of the mentality of "It's just a dog/cat."I know this probably has a lot to do with the way children are brought up. If there could only be mandatory prevent animal cruelty education in EVERY school, starting when the children are fairly young. It's an immense undertaking, I know. I wish it could somehow be accomplished.

Submitted by Laurelin | April 13 2011 |

At least in response to your idea of educating in schools, I would highly recommend you check out APHE - the association of Professional Humane Educators (www.aphe.org) There are MANY Humane Educators out there (myself included) who are either associated with a humane society/shelter or operate freely who will, for a fee or even for free, visit schools, community groups and even birthday parties to share fun and educational lessons about humane treatment of animals as well as prevention of animal cruelty and safe interactions with animals to prevent bite related injuries. Humane Education is growing fast as a service and field, and by making an introduction between your school system and your local Humane Educator, you could go a long way towards doing that which you wish - spreading a message of tolerance and humane treatment of animals that will help animals AND humans for the future. In many cases, these programs can be geared towards adults as well as children, so keep that in mind as well (I find adults have a great time and are always eager to learn at our programs). If you wish to go a step further, consider getting into the field yourself - it's amazingly rewarding, and one of the most positive fields within the realm of Animal Welfare: rather than being bombarded with cases of cruelty, you are seeing animal-loving people absorbing your information and being inspired to make a change. There's a lot less burnout, for sure!

Submitted by Rose | April 13 2011 |

My biggest pet peeve is offleash dogs in clearly-marked mandatory leash areas.

How do you deal with people with offleash dogs? What is the best phrase/most effective thing to say so people don't let there dogs approach mine? I generally try to yell at the person to get there dog without screaming so as not to stree my dog.

I also employ managment by avoiding major areas where I know offleash dogs will be

Submitted by Marie at The Bark | April 13 2011 |

I stick with the short and sweet "MY DOG IS NOT FRIENDLY. LEASH YOUR DOG." Then I stop and wait until their dog is on leash before moving closer. I've gotten my fair share of dirty looks and comments, but sometimes you need a thick skin even if you're doing the right (and responsible!) thing

I'm also considering carrying a can of citronella spray, because my town is home to an unbelievable number of kooks who walk their dogs off leash on city streets and who think their dog would never approach mine.

Submitted by Rose | April 13 2011 |

I've tried that as well...I think I need to say it more forcefully.I have trouble with the thick skin thing..I get infuriated because I know I am being responsible and my dog is leashed and under control but find it difficult to tell people off. I had someone threaten to call animal control and told me to muzzle my dog because his dog bounded up to mine and jumped on her head (after he ignored my multiple warnings to leash his dog) and mine growled at the dog and was quite vocal.

Just like some people can't read dog body language I find many humans unable to read fellow humans body language. I often make it clear that my dog is not friendly before they are in yelling distance (getting her to sit as far away as possible, getting her to look at me, shielding her view with my body)..its difficult to multitask and tell the person to get there dog leashed!

I am also a runner (and run with my dog) so offleash dogs haunt me during that activity as well. I love dogs but I do not enjoy having one running after me and nipping my heels (or worse). It's eerily comical...me running, my dog trying to get at the other dog, the other dog trying to chase me...sigh.

Submitted by Chris | April 13 2011 |

I have tried varying times that I take my two Britt mixes to parks and trails, hoping to avoid loose dogs and irresponsible owners. Walking both while trying to get away from a "friendly" dog is not easy. My female is 12 and has trouble with her back legs-she can't keep away as easily if a dog threatens,or makes her nervous. She goes as far as she is comfortable, then I get her back in the car and walk my male. The other day, she immediatley headed back to the car when an "unknown" golden came too close. Gert solved that problem herself! It truly annoyed me when the owner (after I told him she moves slow and needs space) gave me a disgusted look. He & his dog ended up leaving! Older dogs also need mental stimulation and adventures, as long as they capable of doing so without injury or stress.

Submitted by Rose | April 13 2011 |

Particularly since your dog is older you'd think they would respect that. It makes me sad when people ruin things for others and don't exercise basic consideration practices.

Gert does sounds like a smart girl though..problem solving all on her own!

Submitted by Carolyn | April 13 2011 |

Me too, Rose. I imagine such inconsiderate dog owners love and care about their dog. Too bad they can't see they are spoiling "dog privileges" for all of us with their selfish, thoughtless behavior. I tend to think most "dog people" are "good people" and so I wonder how to get through to them to be more responsible. People hate rules and regulations and restrictions ... but that is exactly what happens thanks to the selfish few.

Submitted by Anonymous | April 13 2011 |

Just think of it as being protective of your dog, like any parent would be of their kid. My dog is an angel off leash but for some reason being on leash (maybe it's the thought that if something did go down she can't get away) she has some reactivity issues. She is naturally an anxious dog, so if an off leash dog approaches her with bad body language this could turn into something, never has, but how do I know when/if it will? Then my dog has to suffer emotional and possible physical trauma just because I don't want speak up or give the wrong impression to someone irresponsible enough to let their dog run around loose.

Submitted by Deb and Coco | April 13 2011 |

The off leash dog in clearly marked areas is also my pet peeve. My dog is fine walking along as long as dogs don't run up to her face to face. However, dogs that are not under their owners control are our biggesst problem. It is always the people who say "don't worry my dog is nice" that irritate me the most. I have had to put my dog in down and stay and kick at the offending dog to keep it away from her. I feel bad but I have to protect my dog.

Submitted by Rose | April 14 2011 |

I have the same issue with my dog. She is well behaved around other dogs but is NOT fine with other dogs running up to her and greeting her face to face or jumping on her. I have put so much time/money/effort into having a dog who behaves politely around other dogs and additionally the huge amount it causes her makes me so angry.

The only issue I have with kicking another dog (which I would do if it came to it) is that it escalates the situation..and I find it hard to keep my focus on my own dog while trying to deal with another dog.

I just fail to comprehend why, with the amount of offleash areas around me, there is offleash dogs in clearly marked leash-mandatory areas or immediately outside the offleash area. I think that many of the people who do this have been 'kicked out' of offleash areas (people have told them not to come back) because there dog was behaving inappropriately.

Submitted by Jennifer B | April 13 2011 |

Here's a question - Our neighbor's dog barks and barks - it doesn't like being alone but it is, all the time, but she's very sketchy so I keep my distance. She came at me several times with teeth bared and barking like I was her next meal. Last week we saw a device that we can put outside to stop her from barking. The problem with her barking is that she gets my three going and it's horrible. Does anyone have one of these devices and do they work? No collar is needed.
Talking to her owner is not going to help.

Submitted by Claudia Kawczynska | April 13 2011 |

What is the device? I would love to know more about that. Our little Beagle mix, Holly is quite the barker, but she is only outside when we are home. When I go home for lunch I spend half the time running to the back door, calling to her, once she hears me, she stops and comes to me, but if she "inspired" other dogs to bark (which happens), she'll just start up again. Would love to hear possible solutions.

Submitted by Jennifer B | April 13 2011 |

This is what we were looking at: http://www.tractorsupply.com/pet-care/dog-products/dog-training/bark-col...
It looks like a dream come true - no shock for the dog, no collar- so we could set it out and stop the continuous barking. It really is.
We have three of our own and they get into the barking thing when a squirrel or cat happens by, but this dog has real problems and her owner is NEVER around. Apparently she's ok when our dogs are out and running around and she's out- then she's friendly. If we're out without our dogs she turns and it's scary. I've told my other half that he has to stop calling her over to our porch when she's out because I don't want her near me. I am the "dog person" in the house so this situation really bothers me.

Submitted by ML | April 13 2011 |

My spouse and I took two of our dogs (standard poodle and standard mix) for a walk with a friend. We were on our side of a city walking/biking trail when a family passed on our left, the father well in front of his young son, who was on a small bike, and wife who pulled a hitched bike and toddler. The boy fell just as he was passing us. No particular reason other than he lost his balance. The father stops and starts walking back yelling that it wouldn't have happened if the f-ing dogs were over on their side. His wife tried to say that we were over on our side, but he kept ranting. I suggested the f-word was inappropriate in front of children and that led to quite a trail of obscenities aimed at me. Several witnesses observed the behavior and agreed we had nothing to do with the boy falling. We all felt sorry for the children of this horrible man. It was very unsettling and makes me hesitate to take my dogs for walks on city trails.

Submitted by Erica | April 13 2011 |

Wow, that is pretty horrible. I can only imagine home life for that family. You shouldn't let one emotionally stunted person ruin your enjoyment of time out with your dog though. Maybe try a different path or route?

Submitted by Anonymous | April 13 2011 |

People are going to be like that, irrational and make absolutely no sense in the meanness towards others. You shouldn't not bring your dogs out in public just because of that man. It's quite clear he was out of line and must have had something else going on and was redirecting. Responsible dog owners need to get out there and show their dogs off so people who might be afraid or unsure of dogs see positive images.

Submitted by Erica | April 13 2011 |

I'm having a bit of a crisis of thought. I am a trainer/rescuer/foster home for multiple dog rescue groups in my area. I have recently begun looking at the whole system of foster care differently and it's leading me to change my perception of things. I still think a foster home is a better environment than a cold crowded shelter, even one that tries very hard to be more inviting and has a great volunteer staff. I am starting to be concerned with the attachment issues that happen in a foster home setting. Both on the dog and the humans part. I am wondering what kind of effect this has on the dog to go from its' original home to a foster home or even multiple foster homes, being uprooted after bonding each time and then finally to an adoptive home. What kind of behavior issues are we setting the dog and new family up to deal with? There are certainly dogs that are much easier going and can take the changes but what about the ones that need the extra care to learn to trust humans again. Once they do then we ship them off to strangers? I am a big fan of Sarah Kalnajs and she advocates one, not fostering your favorite breed and two, not including the foster in your daily family life. I see benefits to both paths and can argue for both, just wondering what other people are thinking on this subject. I'm finding it more and more distressing feeling like I am abandoning these dogs that come to me needing help, because we bond and then they are gone again.

Submitted by Anonymous | April 13 2011 |

I think that the benefits certainly outweigh the risks in fostering over kennel for dogs looking for new homes. However, I could see how there might be some dogs that might be exceptions, I think it would be super rare though, they are so resilient. I think the biggest emotional issue would be with the people.
I don't think it's fair to not have the foster dog be part of the household same as everyone else. I could see maybe having them crated at night, or just not in the bedroom, if your own dog happens to sleep in the bedroom with you but that would be the extent of the exclusion in my opinion.

Submitted by ML | April 13 2011 |

We have a rescue that came to us from a foster home, after being given up by two families before that. I can see your point about attachment issues. Our poor girl was only ten months old and ours was her fourth home. She had bonded in just one week with the foster mom, so it was difficult for her. In addition, the foster family had let her sleep on their bed. This was an issue at first because we don't let her sleep on the bed (she is a large dog); she has a very nice cushy bed of her own near ours, as do our other two dogs. Having some limitations for a dog being fostered makes a lot of sense because you don't know what the rules will be at their new home. Foster families provide a huge service and we are forever grateful to all who do such wonderful work.

Submitted by Erica | April 13 2011 |

Thanks everyone. I do have rules for all fosters in my house. They are crate trained and their crates are not in our bedroom where our family dog has his crate and sleeps at night. Other than that they are part of the goings on of our family. I do agree that fosters and rescue groups need to educate adopters of the potential for a lengthy process in getting acclimated to a new situation. Thanks for your input!

Submitted by charlene | April 13 2011 |

Our Misty was fostered through a couple of homes. She's always been a joy to us but we noticed that she didn't bond for a long time--then, suddenly, about six months into our new "relationship" she started bonding. Friends have experienced similar time for bonding.

I am so thankful Misty went into dog rescue, because if she hadn't she would have almost certainly been euthanized (overburdened system, kennel cough and other health issues). I think foster homes and breed rescues play a very important part in saving these animals--the good far outweighs the harm. If a dog has been well socialized while in that situation, I think most will do fine, but it's up to foster/rescue homes to prepare an adoptive family for the time it may take for bonding.

Submitted by Laurelin | April 13 2011 |

As someone who has fostered many animals, but for the record 12 dogs, I'll say that this post hits close to home, and factored heavily into our ultimate adoption of number 12. I have traditionally fostered dogs who had missed out on important socialization or who had been traumatized to the point of extreme distrust of phobias. While the issue of their attachment to myself and my family was a concern, I feel that the way we decided to run things was what made these fosters (and subsequent adoptions!) a success. I am lucky enough to only do local adoptions, and I always made sure my fosters had a MINIMUM of 3 meetings with the new family, including one at their home. We tried to phase the dogs in that way, and 11 out of 11 were successful! While the risk of them bonding to us was a problem, in most cases we were teaching these dogs to accept new people - any people, and I think we were something of a practice run for them. Our last dog, now, the one we kept, was where the system fell apart. Her issues stemmed from repeat surrender (5 times, we're her 8th home), and I feel that ultimately, she probably should not have been a foster dog - to us, 'foster' is sugar-coating for a temporary home that will give her away. It's great for us, who understand the concept, but to the dog, what's different between failed adoption and successful fostering? Not a lot. We felt that we were ready to make the step to permanent, and that she could not mentally go through another surrender intact. I think that fostering, ultimately, is wonderful, but that there should be some impartial oversight and screening in to which dogs are candidates and which will be further harmed by the breaking of a close bond. I also like your consideration to the toll on the foster parent - which is not addressed enough. I'm very glad you brought this up, and that people are thinking about it! Sometimes, I fear that our good intentions run the risk of getting the better of us ...

Submitted by Michelle S | April 13 2011 |

I have an adorable black 16 lb Pekingese. I recently got his hair cut into a lion cut thinking he will be cooler since the weather is warming up. His coat gets so hot in the sun. Now I hear that I should've kept his hair longer and he'd be cooler. What is the right thing to do? I love his hair shorter because it grows so fast and he seems so happy! Am i hurting him at all??? Thanks!!!

Submitted by Michele | April 13 2011 |

Hi, I didn't see if anyone had responded to you so I thought I would jump in. I have been a dog groomer for 17+ years. We have always recommended that you do not shave a double coated dog. I double coated dog is one that has a soft undercoat and courser outer coat such Golden Retrievers, Samoyed dogs, Labs, etc. A Pekingese also falls into this category. The coat naturally insulates from the heat as well as the cold. In the summer it actually works to hold cooler air against the skin while protecting it from sunburn and such. Sometimes, with repeated shavings the outer coat will not grow back the same and eventually might not grow back at all. Having said that, it is possible that your dog might remain unaffected. These are just risks that you are taking. It is up to you if you choose to continue shaving your dog. I do agree that they look adorable in the haircut and some people do continue, knowing the risks. The best thing to do is brush him regularly and have him bathed and brushed out professionally every couple of months to keep that undercoat from building up too much. I hope this is helpful to you!

Submitted by Joanne | April 13 2011 |

Dogs with heavy coats should not be shaved down or extremely short for hot weather. Their coats act as insulation to keep them warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather. It also acts as a sunscreen. Sometimes dogs with shaved coats or cut too short can begin to have skin allergies. They have dense long coats for a reason, especially Pekingese. I've had two in my past. I presently have a Shih tzu with a very thick coat and have her trimmed in a puppy coat that is about 1-1/2" long. I won't go any shorter than that. Let your Peke's fur grow and only keep it trimmed for neatness. They require regular grooming to avoid mats. Also, brachysephalic dogs (ones with short snouts) have trouble breathing so avoid taking them out on hot days - they do better in air conditioning and Pekes also don't do well on long walks. They need only a little exercise. I had my Pekes groomed every 4 weeks. Nails need trimming, ears need cleaning and coats need cleaning and brushing and mats removed. Always a good idea to put a lubricant like puralube from vet in their eyes right before grooming. They have sensitive bulgy eyes that can be prone to damage and ulcerations.

Submitted by Laurelin | April 13 2011 |

An Idea In Response to So Many Off-Leash Threads: I've loved reading all the threads about leashed/unleashed dogs. I live in a city, and am lucky enough to have access to a dog-designed back yard which is basically a private dog park. My personal feeling is that dogs benefit by being off leash sometimes. However, public dog parks are risky at best - we all know the risks, I don't think I need to go in to them. Breaking leash laws in leash-only areas I feel is just bad form and gives dog owners a bad name - even if your dog is the best thing ever. It shows a disregard for laws and ordinances that, however much we dislike them, are there for a reason. Add to that the fact that some dogs just are not good with other dogs, or are not good with strange dogs, making a dog park impossible for you ... what can you do besides move or give up your dog?

As a city dweller, I have foregone a car and instead use ZipCar - anyone familiar with them? A carshare service that, for a $50 fee a year provides you with a magnetized card that allows you access to a full service car parked in the city at a time you register (registration can be online or by phone). The fee and an $8 hourly charge makes sure the cars are clean, maintained, insured and full of gas. Is it just me, or could this process be applied to dog parks? I have no business savvy and have no idea how to bring this up other than this excellent thread full of talented dog-minded folk. Imagine, urban areas with modest designated park areas, accessed by a card-controlled door. Annual and hourly fees go to providing clean-up services for the area. Registrants provide dog vacc and/or license info rather than drivers license, and scheduling of use of park can be done online or by phone ... I feel like, as someone with a dog who cannot handle a park but loves a romp, I would love and use this service were it available. Any thoughts?

Submitted by Rose | April 13 2011 |

Interesting idea and good points!

I am a city dweller as well (and have no yard and a very active dog..). I would love to have a space to let her run. I have always wished there were individual dog runs around here so those of us with less friendly/older dogs or who just want to throw a ball around could use them. I think in places like NYC they have them. Even if you could go with a few other (known) dogs. Again, it could be some sort of system like you suggested.

I always feel like telling people: Letting your dog offleash is a PRIVILEGE and not a RIGHT. Use the spaces designated, make sure your dog is well trained and don't abuse this privilege.

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