October 2012

Dealing with dogs who need their space

A great owner may help a non-tolerant dog appear normal, but never assume.

Many Shetland Sheepdogs are sweet and reserved, and it’s natural that owners of dogs with this sort of temperament might think most dogs are similar. The truth is, however, that many dogs don’t care for other dogs, especially strange dogs, in the least. If these dogs have a savvy owner who works hard with them, it can be difficult to tell that the dog needs her space.

I’ve been taking obedience classes with my Sheltie, named Kayla, who is usually good with other dogs. A young miniature poodle in the class called Ajax tries to get other dogs to play with him by lunging at them. Last week, Ajax lunged at Kayla when she didn’t expect it, and she snapped at him. It was appropriate, Ajax’s owner agreed, but I’ve made a point to keep Kayla away from him to prevent any other unpleasant interactions. 

 

Sadly, the owner, I’ll call her Mary, didn’t quite learn she needed to keep Ajax under better control, and Mary also didn’t pick up on the signs that another dog in the class does not tolerate other dogs at all. When our class was practicing the stay exercise, Mary left Ajax, who is clearly unable to do a stay for even a nanosecond, and walked away. Ajax went over to play with a non-tolerant dog, and a fight ensued. 

Can dogs get tetanus?

Yes, but not as easily as humans.

I have had to get two tetanus shots in the last three years, thanks to a combination of rusty wire and a messy chicken coop. The last time it came up, it started me wondering: shouldn't we be vaccinating our animals against tetanus?

Unlike many other diseases which are caused by a species-specific viruses, tetanus is caused by the clostridium bacteria. When Clostridium tetani gets hold of a body, usually through a deep puncture wound, it produces a neurotoxin that causes the classic spasms and contractions that lead to the disease's colloquial name, "lockjaw."
 
It turns out that if I owned horses, I would probably already know the answer to my question. Horses and humans are both more vulnerable to tetanus than other animals. Horses frequently contract tetanus, often by stepping on a nail in the stall or barnyard. In fact, General Robert E. Lee's favorite horse Traveller died from tetanus contracted by stepping on a nail.

The importance of dog training

Reasons to train your dog

Dogs are commonly an animal that many people consider as a companion for their life. However, they may not realize just why all dogs require some form of training to get used to living in the home. 

A great reason why you should be getting all of your dogs trained, even if they are purebred, is they are going to need to know you are the boss. If you do not train your dog properly, they will not respect you for what you are doing with them. With the dog training, though, it is easy for you to gainrespect from your dogs. 

Dog pretends to be burglar; terrifies owner

A successful prank by Maya, the yellow lab

Imagine you are sitting around the house by yourself, when your cell phone rings. You pick it up, check the display, and discover that the call is coming from your home's land line. Unnerved, you answer the call. On the other end of the line you hear banging and scratching noises.

How scared would you be? Personally, I would be terrified. But this is the very scenario which dog owner Bruce Gardner of Orem, UT faced. Gardner assumed that a mentally disturbed burglar was in his home playing a prank, so he did the sensible thing: he dialed 911. 
 
When police arrived, they investigated the situation thoroughly but were unable to find any signs of a break-in or any other untoward events. Puzzled, the police finally left. It wasn't until several hours later that Gardner was able to identify the culprit: his dog Maya.

Shetland Sheepdogs and fear of floor quirkiness

Yes, a different type of floor may totally freak even your well-traveled and well-socialized little Sheltie.

Like most herding breeds, Shetland Sheepdogs can be quirky dogs, and one thing they might be quirky about is floors. Yes, a different type of floor may totally freak even your well-traveled and well-socialized little Sheltie, so here are a few things you might try to prevent or manage this rather embarrassing condition.