Inferno (Fern) loves them. Unlike most puppies, she doesn’t try to chase them just because they run (prey drive), nor does she try to herd them, instead, she runs them down to kiss their faces. I’ve been watching her closely to see if it was something that I needed to nip in the bud, but that is all she’s doing: kissing their faces. Of course, the cats don’t think much of it. Some of them tolerate it for a few minutes, then hiss and hit her, at which time she acts appropriately and stops. It’s rather odd behavior, but I guess she just loves cats. Can’t say I blame her.
Had a good training session last night with all three dogs. Finally got Midge to spin while tugging. I followed Greg Derrett’s method of teaching directional commands by tugging with the dog and then flipping them right or left and at the same time, saying “right” or “left”; that progresses to using a hand signal to flip the dog right or left (rewarding with the tug) and then fading the hand signal out to voice commands alone. It took a long time for Gel to follow my directions while running an agility course (which I now know is because I didn’t reward his spins enough in the beginning), but now that he does, it’s a very useful tool, especially if I give the right directional command. Poor dog, first I muck with his head by giving him the wrong flank commands while herding, now I’m giving him wrong direction commands while running agility. It’s a good thing he’s as forgiving as he is.
Of course, it helped that I was tugging with Midge on the linoleum floor which made spinning her around easy … we’ve got to start somewhere though.
I’ve been a bit “clogged” on training after work. This is partially because of having a lot to do after work lately and I also think I get more tired this time of year right before the time change. While it’s a week later this year, I am still feeling it. It will be nice to have an extra hour of sleep, that is assuming Fern recognizes the time change. Right now, she’s my alarm clock, waking me up at pretty much 5:00 on the dot every morning.
Rain! Glorious rain! We’ve received at least two inches since Monday. It is so nice to see puddles and muddy dogs! It’s cool too. I hope the dry trend has been broken and we start to get rain on a regular basis. If it stays reasonably warm, we could get some grass growth which will be helpful for feeding the sheep over the winter.
Midge has been giving me a hard time by running off after deer when we are out walking. She’s normally very responsive to “calling off” stock, but deer are not stock and when she’s after deer, she zones out. This behavior is typical of rabies “vaccinosis” (a term used to describe chronic disease caused by vaccines). According to Dr. Jeffrey Levy (a homeopathic vet in Massachusetts), this trigger reaction (which is usually visual) is a milder chronic form of the mental derangement that is seen in the encephalomyelitis of rabid dogs. I made time to sit down and work her case homeopathically. I gave her the remedy I chose (which I will not name because I don’t want everyone [or anyone] who might be reading this Blog to go off and give their dog that particular remedy because it chases deer) two days ago. Last night while we were out walking (I was throwing a Kong on a rope for the adult dogs so they were a good distance away from me retrieving the Kong) they scared up some deer and Midge took off after them. I swore under my breath, but I yelled her name and “that’ll do,” honestly not expecting her to come back. Was I surprised when she did! That she was so responsive during our training session last night and that I could call her off deer means that the remedy may be working. Let’s hope.
Typical signs of rabies vaccinosis are behavior changes (aggression for example); increased noise sensitivity (common in Border Collies), obsessive behavior such as shadow or light chasing (common in Border Collies), self mutulation, pica (eating undigestible things) and destructive behavior. All of these behavior issues are very common in all dogs today, which only makes sense given most dogs are frequently vaccinated for rabies. Here is a good article written by a veterinarian on problems associated with rabies vaccination. Another good article on the correlation between vaccinosis and the acute disease the vaccines are supposed to protect against is one written by another homeopathic vet, Richard Pitcairn.
What I found particularly interesting in Pitcairn’s comparison between acute rabies and rabies vaccinosis is this chronic symptom: “Attempt at restraint results in hysterical, violent behavior. Resistance can be so extreme as to cause self-injury.” While I was having the puppies temperament tested, one of the tests was to lift the puppy up off the floor and let it dangle there for a few minutes to see if the puppy fought the restraint or not. None of mine did. I questioned that, asking if puppies really did fight that type of restraint (which I didn’t think was extreme) and I was told they did and sometimes they bit the testor. That’s hard to believe, but then again, maybe not.
Please consider donating to the Rabies Challenge Fund which is a nonprofit organization doing research to determine the duration of immunity conveyed by rabies vaccines. Maybe someday the legal requirement for rabies vaccination will be every five or seven years rather than yearly as is required by many states and counties.