Posts tagged with ‘Blue Heeler’

Sammy Amazed Me Today

I have to say, I am so proud of Sammy. When I adopted her I discovered that she wasn’t good with children. I assume that Sam had never really been socialized with children and I also assume that the reason her family had allowed me to adopt her was because they were getting ready to have a baby and were worried about Sam’s behavior towards kids. They never actually mentioned anything about her desire to nip children. I didn’t find out until she tried to bite a little boy in a pet store.

From that day forward, I began to slowly introduce her to kids. I would stop anyone from trying to approach without asking, and instruct them on the best way to approach her. I would often hand treats to the people interested in petting her, and have them crouch down sideways (facing away from her) with their hand held out. I taught people to pet under the chin as opposed to over the head because reaching over a dog’s head can be very threatening.

Today I took Sam with me into two different pet stores. We visited our friends are Care-a-Lot Pet Supply and then walked around in PetSmart. It was at PetSmart that we ran into a woman and her two little girls. I’m not sure how old they were, but I’d guess under twelve years old. The youngest girl came up and asked if she could pet my dog. I gave her permission and asked her to go slowly. Next thing you know, this little girl is on her knees with her arms around Sammy. So much for going slow! 

The girl waved for her older sister to come over, and before you know it, there are two little girls petting Sammy. The younger one even kissed her on the muzzle! I felt a little nervous about the situation. Normally I’m good about telling kids what to do around my dogs (for my dog’s sake!) but this time I choked. I observed Sammy as the youngest girl jumped up to her feet, and ran over to her mom. Normally Sam would snap at such quick actions.

Then the girl came running back over, and dropped to her knees. Sam still didn’t snap. In fact, she didn’t try to nip at all. These little girls played with her for almost fifteen minutes straight! Then as they ran back over to their mom down the aisle, she looked over and thanked me for letting her girls pet my dog. In that moment I said, “No, thank you! It’s good for her… A year ago, this dog would have tried to bite your daughters. She has come a long way!”

My response immediately perked the mother’s interest. I went on to explain Sammy’s previous behavior — how she wasn’t used to kids, and that nipping can get a little out of hand for some herding dogs if not trained and socialized enough. The mom seemed amazed by the story and had walked over to pet Sammy herself. Next thing you know, another thirty minutes goes by as the mother and her two little girls patted Sammy and talked to me about dogs. Sam even got to show off some of her cool tricks like shake, speak, roll over, and spin.

I was so proud of Sammy for letting that little energetic girl practically jump all over her. She really has come a long way since I adopted her. She used to eyeball kids from long distances with the intent of wanting to bite their ankles or nip at their noses. Before, she would have lunged at that little girl so many times — for the sudden movements, the hugging, the kissing in the face. I cannot believe how well she handled herself. I am so proud of your accomplishments Sammy. You have really amazed me!

Giant Dogs at the Park (Part 1) →

ihavelotsofdogs:

I personally don’t like them. I’ve been to two different ones, and I didn’t enjoy the experience. I guess because I have big dogs and it’s stressful because the two I’ve visited did not have separate spaces for big and little dogs. I didn’t let my guys off-leash because there were a bunch of tiny little terriers running around and all I could think about was how my dogs could hurt them just by running over them, not through any aggression or acting out or anything. So I don’t take my dogs. I take them for walks in regular parks, I take them to Petsmart on-leash, I take them to the beach when it’s warm out, I take them to my brother’s house to play with his rottweiler or my in-laws’ to play with their German Shepherd.

Maybe I’m being paranoid? I don’t know. But I feel like dog parks would be a bad idea for my guys. My brother feels the same way. Just because of people’s fears over rottweilers, he doesn’t take her. God forbid anything went wrong, even if it wasn’t his dog, Lyla’s, fault, she would probably take the fall for it. My in-laws don’t take their German Shepherd either, but I know people with little dogs who swear by dog parks. 

So do you take your dogs to dog parks? Would you do the same if you had a giant (110lb +) breed, or a breed with a “reputation” like a pit or a doberman or something? 

It can be difficult for some breeds to fit in. I think dog parks are great, but only if you can find one that suits you. There are two bark parks in my location, and I only go to one because I’m comfortable there. The other park is more popular, but the people were snobby and Sammy was bullied by a Labrador Retriever mix and a Pit Bull. I love all dogs, and I’m not biased of different breeds based on their reputations. Every dog is an incredible dog. Some are just not properly bred or socialized. 

When Sam was being bullied, she went and hid under a wooden bench (something she has never had to do). That, to me, was a sign of distress. The two female dogs at the park were not going to give up, and had cornered her on both sides of the bench. This could easily turn into a bad situation, and the owners of the other dogs weren’t doing anything to correct their dogs. This could have turned ugly in no time — and if my dog had lashed out in her defense, they would have blamed her for being aggressive rather than admit that their dogs wouldn’t back off. Dogs will be dogs, but this behavior was unnecessary. So I shooed the other dogs and guided Sammy out of the park. I haven’t been back since.

I felt bad for leaving because I know those people probably gossiped about me. I really wouldn’t be surprised if they thought I was one of those dog owners who get really angry when other dogs play too rough — I can assure you I don’t. Dogs play rough, and I’m perfectly fine with that. Heck, my dogs play rough all of the time! Haven’t you seen some of the pictures and videos I’ve posted? If you didn’t know they were just playing, you’d think they were trying to kill each other!

My dogs are 30lbs, 40lbs, and the puppy is not quite 15lbs yet (we’re expecting him to be at least 60lbs). I’m not afraid of them getting trampled by larger dogs. If they don’t like getting stepped on, they’ll learn to move out of the way. I know serious injuries can occur just from playing. I know a woman whose Great Pyrenees puppy seriously injured his leg just from playing in the backyard! I guess I am just willing to take that chance. As long as you’re observing your dogs, they should be fine. If you think the playing is getting too rough for your own comfort, then call them over to you and have them relax a little. 

Here is an old video of Sammy at the dog park with two Great Danes. The black and white male is about a year or so old, and Sammy loved playing with him! There’s also a little Jack Russell who had a blast, too. It’s not the dogs’ fault for being so large — they should still be able to enjoy the fun as much as any other dog! And here is a video of a black German Shepherd putting my Aussie’s entire head in his mouth! He couldn’t get Sammy to play with him so he tried to play with Motley, and she’s extremely passive with other dogs. As a result, she gets pushed around and picked on all of the time.

And finally, this video shows a baby Dachshund playing with dogs of all sizes. Peanut was going to the park as soon as he was able to! Sometimes he gets trampled and yelps, and other times he does just fine. He’s learned some nifty tricks how to stay out of the way. Big dog owners have the same fear as little dog owners. Sometimes you just have to find the right dog park with people who understand. If Peanut’s mom had been too afraid to bring him to the park, he would have never had the opportunity to have so much fun with all of our dogs! 

Then there are those of us who have it the easiest — the medium dog owners. Our dogs can fit well with big or small. The only worries that medium dog owners have to worry about are breed reputations. Some people can be really mean at the park if they don’t like your dog. Kuma was an amazingly fun and friendly Pit Bull who came to the park. This video shows he and Sammy racing each other. If you notice the comment posted below the video, someone at the park was racist of both the dog and his family. And if you really pay attention in the video, you’ll see my dog nip at him multiple times and he doesn’t nip back a single time! How could anyone have a problem with that sweet baby?!

Speaking of nipping, a lot of people don’t like Australian Cattle Dogs because of their tendency to nip at other dogs and herd them. Some cattle dogs that I’ve met have been bullies. Fortunately mine is not a bully and does fairly well playing with other dogs. She knows when to leave a dog alone. The two blue heelers in this video have a much stronger drive than Sammy and are more likely to herd other dogs or act as a referee — particularly the heeler with less black.

The Pit Bull in this video is one of my favorites — Cole is a big sweet pup when he isn’t trying to hump Sammy! The fluffier German Shepherd in the video (not the darker, thinner one running all over the place) is one of the park bullies. She is a good dog, but likes to jump in and act big and bad around the other dogs when they’re trying to play. Some people get really offended by her behavior, but most of the people at this park are pretty understanding and don’t mind it as long as she isn’t being aggressive.

(continue to part two)

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A House Full of Canines

So this Thursday a friend and previous co-worker is dropping her dog off at my house for the weekend. Her relative is getting married, and I agreed to dog-sit her Lab / Pit mix by the name of Nohli. It’s going to be an interesting weekend! Especially since Nate has forgotten that we’re dog-sitting and I’m not going to tell him until Nohli gets here! Nohli has stayed with me once before and did really well, but she hates to be separated from her mom. She moped around most of the time, and even sat in the corner of the office / computer room instead of playing with the other dogs!

Hopefully she cheers up this time. Thursday will be the first time that she and my new puppy Helo have met. It can be scary to introduce your puppy to a new adult dog. I can’t imagine how I’ll feel when he finally gets to go to the dog park! Puppies are obnoxious and full of energy. Other dogs can easily get annoyed and snap at them. I know Helo needs this in order to learn how to behave around other dogs, but as a pet parent, you can’t help but be concerned!

Good grief! Are you hearing this!? Normally I’m the one at the bark park telling new dog owners not to worry on their puppy’s first day! LOL! I’m sure everything will be fine. I just need to make sure I put all of the toys and bones away so Sam and Nohli don’t have anything to fuss over. Whether it’s because Sam doesn’t like other dominant females in the house, or because Nohli provokes her, the two sometimes get into minor disputes. Motley is the more passive member of the pack, so she plays better with Nohli.

Helo is just a bundle of obnoxiousness, so I’m eager to see how the two get a long for their first time.

pandorasemptyhorizons asked: I like your blog :] I've got a Blue Heeler too, they're such sweeties. Do you work with animals?

Thanks! Australian Cattle Dogs are my favorite breed of dog in the whole world! :) They are amazingly intelligent, loyal, and protective. I don’t work with animals, other than training my own pups. I read a lot and I used to work at a family owned pet supply store. My last week was the week before Christmas. I put in a month’s notice of my departure from the company so that I could pursue my dream as a photographer. I had worked there for a little more than year.

It was an incredible job, though. I was a jack of all trades, working as a cashier, customer service, stocking, and even merchandising. I learned a lot from the training seminars we had, and from talking with customers. Sometimes I would go home and do even more research on certain topics that had been brought up during the day.

I learned more about dog food, training tools, and common issues that the average pet owner might face. I didn’t know that I would come to be so passionate about working there. I didn’t care to be a cashier or a stocker, but I did care about giving real advice that has worked for me in the past or finding different solutions for different issues. I did care about helping animals live a better quality of life by reaching out to their owner’s and teaching them something new.

My managers and co-workers often picked on me for “talking too much” at work, but I became very passionate about teaching people about their animals, from dogs to rodents! So passionate that I have been considering going to an animal behavior college for canine behavior, training, health, and nutrition. It’s all so fascinating to me and I’d love to know more of the facts than I do now! Just think of all of the new information I would learn, and techniques I would acquire?! It would be a great experience and I’d be able to say that I’m more than just a loving pet owner!

Blogs About Dogs

Someone asked if I would recommend some blogs. Here are some blogs I follow that are about dogs and their adventures. These are blogs that are personal and written about one or more dogs within the author’s life. Not one of those dog blogs that just posts a bunch of random dog pictures. I tried to avoid any blogs that are a mix between dog-related stories and personal stories. I will be sure to add new blogs as I come across them, so bookmark this post and check back!