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Thread: Tail between the legs "cure"?

  1. #21
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    hi Old Nick

    I can't help thinking messing with the poor dog's tail would be akin to us putting our fingers on the sides of the mouth of an upset friend and pulling their face into a forced smile.

    I doubt it would make them feel any better. Tho often if they do it themselves - ie pull a fake smile as big as they can - it changes the face physiology a little bit and changes the mood slightly.

  2. #22

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    Yep I agree. My experience shows me that the tail is a very personal piece of gear to a dog. But if I waited a while, the tail seemed to be more of a habit than because of fear and "adjusting' it did seem to let Peg forget about the problem until next time. Maybe, just maybe, it let her know that the danger would come and go, not linger in her mind. As I said, if I left it a decent amount of time, she showed no discomfort or resentment, and seemed to do no harm. If I also comforted and spoke to her soothingly, Peg seemed not to notice the tail. If I did not move the tail it would stay there. I suppose if the friend sort of just said "Cmon, cheer up" and just primped the corner of your mouth almost playfully?....sigh. Next time I will what happens if I leave alone. But the tail stayed there yesterday, long after the dog had gone and when no others were even in sight.

    Next time I will leave alone for the whole session and see what happens.

    One thing she did not do was try to run away. After a lot more bonding I will have to try off-lead and maybe that will make her more at ease. HAH! At the moment, I am not only playing with her tail, but forcing her into the whole situation in the first place....how inappropriate is _that_?

    Nick

  3. #23

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    I just want to say that this little girl is such a honey and a joy that I am going to put in all the time and effort I can to help her overcome her fears. If all else fails I may even consider (shudder) training! BUT....I have done this before (Tess was about as bad as Peg at the start) with HUGE success. Peg can adjust, as she has shown here at home, and she is VERY bright and loving, so I reckon we two will sort this out. I pick up her former farm mate today, and I hope he can help. Although he will have his own battles to fight, he seems much more together. After only a few days he is fetching, whereas Peg either ignores or runs away from any proferred toys.

    She distrusts _everything_ new. My wife started her morning skip just now and Peg was _off_. So I sat down with her, about 10m away, and softly explained that what she was watching was OK and she calmed. Then Marg started her run and it was on again. So I sat down with Peg and we watched as Marg came by on her circuit (well I watched Peg: Marg hates me watching her exercise ), and in the end Peg actually got up and _approached_ Marg as she came past. So.... very scared and very bright.


    Nick

  4. #24

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    Nick – Please leave her tail alone ! Let her lift her own tail up – when she is ready. All that she is going through with you are new experiences for her – so be patient with her.

    Is her tail up and wagging at home with you ? When Riley first came home he really didn't like to be touched – so I resorted to gentle massage with him when he was sleepy. It worked a treat – maybe that is something you could look at doing ?

    https://www.google.com.au/webhp?sour...#q=dog+massage

    It is still very early days for her with you as her new owner. Build up a relationship with her so that she knows she is safe, loved and well cared for.

    I have no doubt from what you have said already, that she knows that she has landed on her feet as far as excellent homes are concerned. It will just take time and patience to get your bond with her based on trust.
    Keep up your great work with her – it will only get better for you both ! smiley-eatdrink004.gif

  5. #25
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    If all else fails I may even consider (shudder) training!
    I think what you're doing is *training*. More in what I call the "new school" - tho it's not very new at all. It just used to be that old school trainers focussed more on punishing a dog for what they didn't want and the new school ones are more about rewarding a dog for what they do want.

    What do you think works faster? Whacking a child on the hand for making a spelling mistake (but not telling them why you whacked them), or rewarding them when they get the word right and telling them why... Dog training isn't that simple - timing is everything but there are more and more scientific based animal behaviour studies that show that reward based training works faster.

    And punishment based training can have "fall out" eg the dog makes the wrong connection about what you don't want and starts doing something you seriously don't want.

    Your Meg - being of the farm dog variety - will be one of the fastest learners in the dog world. And she will learn whether you are actively training or not. And any time you're not training her - she will be training you...

    Instead of messing with her tail next time - try a gentle ear rub, or a chest rub - where the spiral is, or that spot just above the tail on the back , you need to test these spots out in a calm place before trying them somewhere more stressful. I think this kind of rub can fill the dog with all sorts of stress relieving brain chemicals - which is what you want. But pay attention to what she likes, what calms her down, and use that. My dog is also extremely fond of a gentle armpit scratch or belly rub too.

    The more tricks you can train a farm dog bitsa the better. And some of them may come to have calming effect of their own, ie once you have the behaviour on cue and strong - you can ask for the dog to do something (eg nose touch to your hand) and that will test how stressed the dog is - it won't be able to respond if it's emotionally overwhelmed, and calm it down if it can respond - ie giving a farm dog a job to do is one of their great joys in life.

  6. #26

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    Thank you guys for talking this through with me. In my defence remember the tail thing is an aberration for me. I was presented with the idea by a person of some authority, but was questioning it.

    Yeah I meant pro training. I am sure the _dog_ would respond, but I am ...you know the word...at being taught! DIY all the way, me. It has cost me, but it's how I am.

    I certainly constantly try to work with my dogs to have simple little "cue" touches and actions, that are just "hi friend" and as you say they can distract, or let you judge the dog's state of mind. I have even found illnesses like a bit of pain or tummy trouble using "cues".

    Peg does learn fast, but I have to be SOOOOO gentle.........more very calm..... and consistent in my behaviour and commands. She is highly strung, should never have been a cattle dog I believe, and is now a very scared little girl. Any sign of excitement, in command or play, and she goes to bits, even if she initiated the play, The reason I think is that as a tall powerful object a am scary. If I am lying down, she will take any amount of play input from me.

    I am composing a long reply in which I will talk about where it started with Peg, and where I am at now.

    I brought Ben, her ex- and now new- companion, home today. He is as cool as I hoped and I was thrilled to see Peg arking up for a play. Unfortunately we all happened to be in the car at 100kph at the time, and I had to put a stop to that. Bum!

    Nick

  7. #27

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    Nick - Always go with your 'gut feeling' ! If it doesn't feel right - don't do it !

    Maybe, I am getting too old and too tired to respect anyone who sprouts all this stuff about knowing everything about dogs. I just nod now.

    I know what works for my pups - as I am sure you know what works for you, your family and your pups !

    Rescue pups can really push all of your buttons. I have only experienced one - and this pup's only redeeming quality was that my 9 year girl loved him to bits at first sight.

    Really looking forward to more posts from you on your rescue pups !

  8. #28

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    Wow! Thank you all for the encouragement and non-judgmental help!

    I have had 4 rescue dogs. Yep they were all....button pushers. I have only given up on one, without the option. He was a boxer cross whose "only" problem (he was obedient, loving and a gentle, but extremely powerful guy) was that he could jump a 1.8m corrugated fence (probably it _was_ asbestos in those days, curse the stuff) and did so regularly. He then showed us he could jump a 1.8m sheet fence, and punch through chicken wire stretched across the top, and NEXT he showed us that adding bricks onto the chicken wire was no _real_ obstruction. After repeated visits to the pound and payouts to ransome him home, we just gave up. He needed a home with somebody there all the time (or to join a ruddy circus!) and we could not do that then.

    The others, while not all easy, were (and are) so rewarding that the tribulations were lost in short order. It sounds a bit off, but these guys are often so lost that when you have worked with and helped them through their mental state, there is such a bond: you both had to work so hard and really get to understand each other. I _know_ I did not get it right by any means, but as far as I could tell, it was generally better than worse. I can't say that about all my life, so I am glad I can say that about me and my canine mates.

    The new guy, Ben, has no hangups that I can see so far. Really cool and easy....BUT...as an ex-cattledog, he is rather too fond of herding stock, I am told. I am going to have to watch that like a hawk and as soon as we have bonded a bit (not hard with this guy I reckon) and before he can roam free on the block, we are going to do some "see and avoid....lookamee" reward time. That will be a tough one. He is a 9 yo veteran of the cattle yard, just doing what he was trained to do, and I gather very well. There is a good bit of hope. His foster carer said that he had gone through the fence and harassed their horses a couple of times, but when he was told he could not go through the fence, he sat and stared longingly and did not go through. So hopefully his obsession can be overcome by training.

    Thank you again for letting me discuss this and for talking it through with me, all of you. I am finding it extremely absorbing and not a little exciting, but yeah there is a lot to think about...and my wife has cauliflower ears from me bashing them every evening!

    Nick

  9. #29

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    ...and yeah I will go with my gut more. Thanks for putting me back on track.


    .....talking of guts, the new guy badly needs a diet. I will post a question about that if I find the appropriate forum...

    ....wup! Computer says nooooo.... I see the trouble with the forum front end.
    Last edited by oldNick; 04-21-2015 at 07:34 PM.

  10. #30
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    Hi Old Nick

    Should be able to get to the food nutrition bit from here
    General Dog Forums

    I've also put a post with some links at the top of the news on the "home" page eg click on the word "Home" under the picture of the dog in the kennel. Don't click on the dog unless you like a white blank screen...

    All herding dogs are supposed to stop when you say. Otherwise they're the sort that get "culled" by the farmer. Or rehomed to the city where they herd traffic and die. Mine is pretty useless at it, tho she's not the least bit frightened of any of them, and gets annoyed when I tell her she can't round up the poddy lamb (who is a giant sheep and would have a heart attack if he had to run).

    I am now quite curious about how you find a dog's tummy upset by using "cues". My dog sometimes tells me that she has one by doing the most pathetic "Open the door" bark cue... The softer and more pathetic it is, the more horrible the pending explosion... move fast...

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