Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Doggie Day Care Day

Each day care day has a different character depending on the breed composition for one thing.
Today is herding dog day at Carrvilla. The first group out in our three acre dog park has a few German Shepards, a couple of Aussies, some mixed breeds and two Golden Retrievers.
The GSD's line up like a soccar team heading toward the goldens, which they try to herd. Nice teamwork as they play golden round up.
Jake, the wise older golden goes off to sniff things. Shaker, who is not quite a year yet, engages the GSD's.
Before long Shaker and Disney, the youngest GSD are happily sparring. Disney is older, he takes the offense. Shaker plays defense. They move, counter move. It's great fun to watch as these two learn each other.
Herding drive sometimes appears as a need to rule. To me it looks like the GSD is saying, " I want you over here. No, you can't do that. No, that's not right." My Sadie was a very bossy GSD.
Shaker is probably the "softest" (temperament) puppy I have ever raised. In my opinion, the day care experience has taught him to not be overwhelmmed by pushier dogs. He lays in the grass mouth dualing with the two year old male, who is getting tired. Shaker has enough stamina to play all day and then go out dancing at night.
As Disney tires, Shaker pushes the beautiful light sable GSD harder. His reply sounds gruff enough that the other shepards run over to supervise the activity.
The day care director I am training is ready to correct and break it up. I signal her to wait. These are good dogs; I trust them to slow down the activity. This is the hard part. When we intervene too soon, the lesson is not learned. That means a repeat is coming.
The two boys are up ready to play again, but the female GSD now on the scene has plenty to say. She is very vocal with strong herding traits. Her barking is adding too much energy. It's time to redirect.
That intense barking that some dogs do often will negatively affect the energy dynamic when it's time to calm down. If we get the barker quiet, the situation gets better.
Teaching a chronic barker that there is something in life other than barking is a lot of work. When you see a dog three days a week; it's worth the effort.
We truck around the park a couple of times before bringing them into the building to rest a while.
Disney and Shaker became great buddies today. The older shepards joined Klondyke and Max the two Siberian Huskies for races while Paula and I whooped it up for them.
I smile to think that if a society can be judged by how animals are treated; good things can be said about us here in Illinois.

1 comment:

  1. Can you eplain a little more how you quiet the chronic barker?