Tuesday, February 28, 2012

When Strangers Call

Last week, I posted 5 Things For Your Dog To Do When You Have Visitors. In the comments, the issue of accidentally rewarding behaviors I didn't want, or aggressive behaviors came up, and while they weren't what I was addressing, it was a good point!

Much as I try to talk the talk, I am not a dog training professional. If your dog is truly displaying aggression, be it human aggression or dog aggression, you should seek help from a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist, who will have studied extensively in areas such as those to meet your needs. The Internet, while a magical place of information and  fun, won't necessarily be tailored to your dog and your dog's needs, or adequately explain how you yourself can "fix" things, or even give an accurate and appropriate diagnosis.

That said, I covered briefly what your dog can do when you have friends over. I've posted a picture (that I'll post again here in a few words) of Elka waiting for a delivery person. But, what do you do when a stranger comes to your house? Jehova's Witness, repo man, delivery personnel, door to door sales? What is appropriate for your dog to do, and what do you want your dog to do?

Tasty Tuesday, February 28 2012

Because I already spend so much time telling you how good Elka is, what's one more, right? (If this leads you to believe this is the last one, I apologize. I'm sure it isn't.)

Remember at Christmas, we went visiting? And my grandparents were so happy with how good Elka was? Well, I left out a detail that to me hadn't seemed like such a big deal. A giant house made out of chocolate.

How could it not be a big deal? Well, we didn't eat it. My grandparents won it at a local culinary institute raffle. And then, after Christmas, donated it to their local senior center, where it got eaten with nary a bite saved for either of them!

But, Elka didn't eat it either. Or even sniff at it after the first "leave it". Of course, she was supervised the entire time we were visiting. In addition to a giant chocolate house, I'm sure there were other non dog safe items around that I couldn't even anticipate, because my grandparents are not pet owners. But everything was fine.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Mischief: February 27 2012

I've probably mentioned, though maybe not in these exact words, that Dobermans are said to be "Velcro dogs". 

It's true, of course. Even if she was asleep, if you get up off the couch to do something, Elka gets up too and goes right along with you. She "heels" fantastically off leash in the house, like a dream really! If you're in the bathroom, with the door closed, she's concerned for your safety and will whine outside. We're working on that one though; I encourage her to be quiet, and lay down in the kitchen doorway and wait. If she's like that when I get out of the bathroom, it's treat time. If not, "too bad". 

When we're sitting on the couch, Elka wants to be close to you. Very close. It's especially nice in the winter, I'll say, when it is in fact cold. However, Elka is not as aware of her paws as she is of her mouth, and we get stomped on more than we'd like! She will also, if you're taking up "too much" couch or chair space, sit or lay on you.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Books on the brain

So, I've been thinking for a little while about maybe doing a little ebook.

Dog training, for Dobermans, that kind of thing. What do you guys think? It could be as simple as putting my Command Clinics together; even though there are only 7 (according to my tags. I don't think I missed any?), they're kind of "things your dog should know, plus some fun stuff". Of course I'd need a zippier title than that!

There are a lot of dog training ebooks on Amazon.com, and I'm sure some of them are better than others. That's definitely one reason I've been thinking of this. If they can do it, I can too, right? Plus, there's always a deficit of Doberman information.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Requests? Lay it on me! Tell your friends. I'd really love to hear them!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tasty Tuesday, February 21 2012

I was mean to Elka today.

Not <i>mean</i> mean. Just..."testing her self control" mean. A little background: earlier in the day, I had given her a Monster Mouth. I noticed at the time, but didn't follow up on it, that one of the little molasses cookie treats I'd used to stuff it with had bounced out of the "area of play". Several hours later, Elka was chewing on something, which I instructed her to drop it. And she did.

So, I upped the ante.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Mischief, February 20 2012

As you can see, Elka was not impressed by my waking her up so that I could take this picture.

I'll direct you to the change in her tags, though. That red thing, next to the "dog tag" shaped dog tag? We thought adding a bottle opener would be a useful thing. Many bottles nowadays are twist offs, but it stinks to get settled down and then realize that you in fact need a tool. What better way to remedy that than to have a roving, callable one?

And dont' worry. Princess fell back to sleep without any trouble.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Subversive Sunday: Doberman Breed Acceptance

Created by a member of Doberman Talk, with pictures "donated" from other members. If cross posted, do so only as a whole.

Breed prejudice isn't true, isn't fair, and doesn't get anybody anywhere. Dobermans are our pets. They're in our homes, they love our children (for things other than dinner). They are fun dogs, they are serious dogs, they are service dogs. 

A Doberman is my dog.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

5 Things for your Dog to Do When You Have Visitors

In the past few weeks, I've become aware that Elka, while greeting people who enter the house, is happy and enthusiastic, but a little....too...enthusiastic. Once people have fully entered and are settled, things get a bit better, but she is big, and her enthusiasm may be overwhelming.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Doberman temperament: What is drive?

In the wake of Westminster, and reading peoples' reactions to the appearance of the German Shepherds, I've been thinking a lot about working versus show in the context of breeding. My understanding is that German Shepherds did not always have the rear assembly that they do now, and that working lines of German Shepherds still look "normal", as it were. The slopes of their backs are not so extreme, they're not walking down on their hocks, etc.

And then I thought about Dobermans. Working Dobermans vs. Show ones, thankfully, do not have gross physical departures from one another. The AKC Doberman breed standard is to ensure a physically sound dog; one that can be as agile and athletic as the job entails. Mentally sound as well, so far as the standard covers it, as "a judge shall dismiss from the ring any shy or vicious Doberman." A stable working dog is neither shy nor vicious, but rather alert and confident.

In Internet circles, I do see complaints that American show Dobermans are softer than their European counterparts, and softer and less drive-y than working lines in general. So, what does "drive" mean, anyway?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Golden Collar Awards: Sorry, Blackie

Well, I'm a bit late on this, since I was "covering" Westminster, but if you're only  just now tuning in, I'll try to let you down easy.

Blackie the Doberman did not win the first Golden Collar award.

Better luck next year, I suppose. Or the year after that. We need movies with positive representations of Dobermans in them! I definitely appreciate Scorsese's getting Blackie on the nominees list in the first place. It was ridiculous to me that, if the award show is for "dog actors", they decided to leave one out. I haven't seen any explanation for it anywhere, though I guess I know better than to expect one. 

Hopefully, more movies will come out with Dobermans in them, and show the Doberman breed as it really is, so that people can get over their prejudices. And then. Then, my friends, the Golden Collar will be ours!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

136th Westminster Kennel Club results

The Pekingese won Best in Show. Seriously.

I'm actually surprised at how disappointed I am. A Pekingese? I thought it was going to be between say, the German Shepherd and the Doberman. Despite my personal feelings that something is horribly wrong with American show German Shepherd's hindquarters, somebody clearly likes them. But no. It was the Peke.

Elka was sad too.When I told her, she had to go and get Gumby to share the burden.

Tasty Tuesday: Cow Ear

I may have mentioned, I don't give Elka rawhide anymore.

The chemicals used strip the hide are suspect, the stuff itself is not exactly digestible, there's a risk for blockage, they're treated with irradiation and that weirds me out...the list goes on. Additionally, there's rumors about that Wal-Mart's Exerhide rawhides have caused seizures and things in dogs.

Occasionally, though, I still get Elka a cow ear. It looks remarkably like rawhide, and I should probably look more into the process that goes into them as well, but the one I bought seems to have been made in the US, which is good.

Also, there's so much going on. Let's see: Happy Valentine's Day!  Also, congratulations to GCH CH Protocol's Veni Vedi Vici for her Best in Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this morning! Otherwise known as Fifi, this Doberman also (I'm told) has her SchI, and will trial in that further after she retires from the show world.  Looking at the Breed entry list for 2012, many of these Dobermans, in addition to being conformation Champions, have some Rally and Obedience titles as well.  It's nice to see some of those titles "front and back" on working dogs! 

Here's hoping that Fifi brings  home the Working Group win, and then on to compete for Best in Show later today!

Monday, February 13, 2012

136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

The 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show  is going on February 13 and 14th. The Dobermans, my particular interest (as you might have guessed), are being judged on the morning of February 14.

While I have no personal interest at this time in conformation showing, it's hard not to have some degree of admiration for the work that goes into getting a dog to a championship. There's the training that the handler receives, the training the dog-handler team receives, not to mention the years devoted to breeding programs that create the dogs who set foot in the ring. Many of us are by now familiar with Pedigree Dogs Exposed, which is not what I'm going to talk about just here; for a dog in the working group, conformation is important. Form is function, for a Doberman, and a Doberman is bred to be an athletic, medium sized dog. Hopefully, that's what our champions will be.

(Summer flashback. It's been a mild winter, but remember summer?)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dogs on Furniture: Have you got room?

Sometimes, when we have enough people over, poor little Elka doesn't have a place on the couch any longer. She'll wander around, whining occasionally, nosing people, and making herself a general nuisance. Sometimes, she'll sit in an easy chair behind me, and under absolute duress, she'll use her bed. 

Once a seat gets vacated, she jumps right up into it and curls up, looking beguilingly at the seat's owner when they come back. This is where the "Off" and "Move" commands have come in handy. I've sort of idly been looking for one of those "bolster" or "couch" style of dog beds instead, but it's hard to want to shell out the amount of cash that most companies charge for a glorified pillow. Especially if she isn't going to lay on it!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sick? Uncomfortable? Apply Doberman!

This week, my fiancĂ©, Jim, has suffered from a stomach bug that's been going around. 

I've mentioned that Elka's love is not always a gental love. That bony ridge on the top/back of her skull has connected with my face more often that I'm strictly happy with. She steps on whatever body parts are nearby, she runs into us, she bonks us with her nose. 

Sometimes, though, if we feel sick or have a headache, she calms down. She acts concerned and solicitous. And so Jim has discovered that, while looking for an aid for an upset stomach, a Doberman is better than a hot water bottle. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Heidi the Doberman ~ decision has been made

I was happy to open my inbox today and see, via the Daily Tribune in Royal Oak, Michigan, that the verdict was in on Heidi the Doberman: she may remain with her family, but must be muzzled if she is in a public place. Heidi's owner, with no prior criminal record, pled "no contest" to the biting charge, and received a delayed sentence of six months, which means
  At the end of the six months, if Spalding [Heidi's owner] has not committed any other criminal violations, including violations of the city's dog ordinance, she will be allowed to withdraw her  plea and the case will be dismissed.

I'm unclear on whether this means Heidi will need to wear a muzzle in public for the rest of her life. Really, the outcome could have been worse, considering her owners feared that euthanasia was going to be an option.

Tasty Tuesday: Sometimes You Just Want Eggs

Elka did not get any of these eggs (though she does love eggs). I did give her some of the toast, though. Eggs are one of those foods that /i refuse to believe are baseline bad for you; those studies that they did about the cholesterol? Well, they didn't use real eggs, they used powdered, reconstituted eggs. Which is plain gross. Nope; whole foods, folks.  

(And now I can't find a link to that study, but I think most people know what I mean.)

But, eggs. Sometimes I really want them. There's a lot of discussion about whether cravings you have should be listened to. Everybody jokes about the pregnant lady wanting pickles and ice cream (though really, I can see how that might be all right. Depending on the pickles. And the ice cream). Some studies have indicated that feeding a craving can in fact be bad for you, such as people with Diabetes who crave sugary things and people with Celiac's who crave bread. I however, don't know of a "bad thing" that would indicate I shouldn't eat eggs, and if there is one, I don't have it, that I know of.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Mischief February 6

This Monday, I'm again recounting a tale that's a complete lack of mischief.

On Fridays and Saturdays, we tend to have friends over. Elka is very happy with this, as she loves all of our friends, sometimes more than our friends can take. The love of a Doberman is vigorous and occasionally overwhelming. This Saturday evening, one of our friends happened to drop a couple of M&M's on the floor. One skittered across the floor and hit Elka in the foot. Elka was laying down next to my chair, looking up at the toy that I had in my lap. I never even needed to say "Leave It". She never looked at it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

McDonald's Crosses a Line

So, yesterday, through other online doggie channels, a new McDonald's ad came to my attention.

The pictures I've seen (and as far as I know, the ad is an audio one, so I"m not sure of the origin of the picture, for those copyright hounds) are of a 6 piece chicken nuggets, and a down the nose shot of a bandanna wearing pit bull, with the headline "Which is safer? Eating this/petting this?" And excuse me, as I've been rather family friendly until now, but my thought was, "Oh hell no".

Friday, February 3, 2012

Heidi the Doberman ~ some more info in the news and from Royal Oak

My post the other day Doberman in Trouble: Help Heidi! has brought a lot of people here, and sent them on to the petition web site. There have been a couple of more articles in the news, and response from Royal Oak that I wanted to talk about here.

In both the Philadelphia Examiner and the Daily Tribune (which is, I assume, a local paper to Heidi's part of Michigan), there have been articles stating that the individual who reported this incident to the police was in fact bleeding from a bite, on the nose and chin. The Royal Oak's city attorney David Gillam is in fact saying that Heidi's life is not in immediate danger, which is a relief. His statement is, to me, rather noncommittal and open ended however:

He said the city did present two options: euthanize the dog or move her outside of Royal Oak. However, the issue could be resolved by sending the dog to obedience school, muzzling her whenever she is outside the owner’s McLean Avenue home, or some other action. (quoted from the Daily Tribune)
These aren't unreasonable options. "Sending" a dog to obedience school isn't what I would recommend (if he's actually discussing a board and train), but obedience classes that Heidi's owners attend with her is certainly preferable to returning their dog to rescue or euthanasia. Muzzling her, I feel, would prevent accidental bites, but not the other kinds of hard-head contact that would break a nose. Granted, I'm not a doctor, but I know that the Doberman snout and head packs a wallop, having been casually bludgeoned in the face by Elka's pointy skull.

Which brings me to an interesting point. Dog bites are a concern, certainly. A Doberman is a dog of threatening size, and power, and a Doberman bite to the face can be decimating. Again, from the Daily Tribune: "Bleeding from the injuries, Seagraves went into the store for a paper towel then to Beaumont Hospital, where he told police he learned his nose was broken." If asked, I'd say the contact, all of it, was accidental. A Doberman who wants to bite you in the face, and you're not prepared for it? I don't think you'll be wandering around to get your business taken care of.  I'll admit, this is a strange way for me to defend an incident, by highlighting the potential damage and bite strength of a Doberman that intends one harm, but there it is. In human criminal cases, one must prove intent. I don't think Heidi had the intent.

Indeed, the police report says ""the dogs jumped up at him and hit him in the nose and also caused a small laceration" and the responding animal control officer's notes say  "He had two scratches that were bleeding a little. One on bridge of nose and one below lower lip." (from this article on the Philadelphia Examiner:  Royal Oak Responds to Outpouring of Support for Heidi the Doberman, and the City of Royal Oak Attorney's Office Press Release)

It is also of note that this incident actually happened in October. According to the City of Royal Oak website, there were two prior court meetings on this matter, with the next one scheduled on February 9 (People vs. Spalding). I'm not sure what it is about the prior meetings, and upcoming one, that prompted Heidi's people to create their website and petition out of the fear that Heidi would be euthanized, since officials have hastened to say that isn't their intent, but obviously, I only have the news to go on.

I don't regret having signed the petition for Heidi, because I don't feel that she's necessarily a dangerous dog who will bite again. Do I feel something like mandated obedience training would be a fair way to satisfy both sides of this case? Yes.

Has this made me rethink how to handle passers-by, whether they want to greet Elka or not? Yes. Jumping is something that we've discouraged for a long time (though, as I've noted, Elka will jump next to somebody, and not put her paws on them, though many of our friends have been "dolphin nosed"). On leash, I'm going to continue to encourage her to sit if I'm speaking with somebody, and I daresay I'll tack on the behavioral expectation of focusing on me, rather than strangers. I like that Elka is friendly, and that I don't feel I have to worry about her behavior with people. But if she were to be excited, and jump up with a happy, open mouth? We could have another Heidi situation, and I do not want that heartache and that court case.

(another Heidi picture, used frequently in news articles, from the Save Heidi site)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Martin Scorsese goes to bat for Dobermans

This year is the first annual Golden Collar Awards ceremony, on Monday, February 13. I'd heard about it peripherally, on Dogster first I think, because who doesn't like talking about dog actors? There aren't enough movies with Dobermans in them, though. Or rather, enough movies with Dobermans just as....dogs. Not slavering villains. Not menaces.

(not a menace)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Doberman in Trouble! Help Heidi

(Note: Heidi is not my Doberman, nor do I know the family, nor do I live in Royal Oak or even Michigan. I'm just getting the word out on this scary story)

Cut and pasted from SaveHeidi.com:

"We adopted Heidi almost 4 years ago from a well-established and reputable rescue organization specializing in the Doberman breed. Like most Doberman, Heidi is a very intelligent and energetic dog. She is a loving & loyal member of our family.
In October, while out for a leashed walk to a local market, a stranger approached suddenly wanting to pet her. Startled and in her excitement, Heidi popped up at the same time that the stranger bent over to pet her. She collided with his face. He has claimed this resulted in a broken nose and reported the accident to Royal Oak Police.
Royal Oak is now prosecuting this as a dog bite/attack! The Assistant Deputy City Attorney has offered to dismiss the criminal charges only if Heidi is destroyed or removed from her loving family in Royal Oak. This is happening to our family with a 30+ year history as law abiding Royal Oak residents. Heidi has no previous incidents of aggressive behavior and is a well trained, obedient, loving success story of a Doberman rescue.
All dog owners must be aware of the risks of criminal prosecution under the antiquated Michigan statutes written in 1919 and the paranoid overreaction by local city officials who are prosecuting dog breeds, not dog attack cases.

Time is of the essence to save Heidi’s life. A final decision on Heidi’s fate will be made on February 9th, 2012.
Please help us to save our sweet girl, Heidi by signing our petition to the City of Royal Oak."
(photo from here: http://www.saveheidi.com/index.php/photo-gallery, not owned by me, used without permission. I hope they don't mind. I'll take it down if they do.

Note from me after the jump