Here is another interesting blog by Pam Hogel. Pam thank you for writing such excellent blogs.
The New York times recently published an article describing a study that compared dogs’ and wolves’ ability to perform cooperative tasks.
The article, and the short accompanying video, are somewhat disdainful in their assessment of the dogs, who did not perform as well as the wolves on the task. The rope-pulling task used for the study is one at which other species, including elephants, chimps, and multiple bird species, have succeeded. Two test subjects must pull on ropes at the same time in order to bring a tray with food rewards into reach. If only one dog pulls at the rope, he will pull it out of the test area without pulling the food tray to him, thus failing the test. (Alternatively, as an elephant discovered, one team member could stand on her rope and let her partner do all of the pulling. Neither the dogs nor the wolves appear to have discovered this method of freeloading.)
Most of us know that a dog’s tail can be a fairly good indicator of mood. We can observe whether the tail carriage is low, medium, or high and whether it is loose or stiff. Whether and in what manner it is wagging. We can often draw some pretty good conclusions from those observations, keeping breed in mind.
A dog wagging her tail loosely at a low angle is possibly friendly. A dog holding her tail upright, wagging it stiffly from side to side is one to watch out for. A dog with her tail hanging straight down or tucked between her legs is usually afraid or unhappy.
Except when she’s not.
I have a popular YouTube movie called Kongs for Beginners, in which I show how to make very easy Kongs for puppies and inexperienced dogs. All four of my dogs from that time demonstrate. A viewer commented that Zani looked unhappy because her tail was tucked. I hadn’t noticed. I agreed and put a note in the video description about it.
This success got me thinking. I was able to take her into a completely new environment (the vet specialty practice) without graduated exposures. We just started going there for appointments. And although she was nervous at times, I felt like the experience was a positive one. She was more comfortable each time we went, which is pretty amazing without any deliberate desensitization.
What I thought: Maybe she’s ready to go to my office!
Clara, the newest office dog–a bit concerned but glad to be there
A fun article on playing fetch with your dog by John Gilpatrick
Dogs go crazy for fetch. For some, not even an unwatched roasted chicken on the kitchen table can bring as much excitement as the feeling of the breeze rushing through his fur while clasping his teeth around a soft, plush toy thrown to him.
“Dogs find playing fetch so fun, in part, because it releases dopamine in their brains,” says Angelica Steinker, a certified dog behavior consultant and founder of Courteous Canine Inc. in Tampa, Florida. “It’s one of the few recreational activities that’s fun in and of itself without requiring food or some other external reinforcement.”
But ultimately, fetch can be a pretty rote activity. You throw something. They bring it back. You throw something. They bring it back. You throw … well, you get the idea.
If you feel like your dog is quietly begging you to stop trying to make fetch happen, you should listen, but it’s also not a bad idea to try to spice this classic up. Here are six ways to take fetch to the next level: