Thursday, April 16, 2009

A dog post

Well folks, I'm still here. Last week was break for me and I spent it lying around trying to talk myself into doing something. This week I am back teaching classes, which I do okay. Then I put whatever energy I have into grading and go to bed.

Just having trouble getting my energy level up.

But I feel the need to update the world on my cattle dog. I don't know why.

The pain pills seem to be really helping Cattle Dog (CD). I have bumped into her and she has not made any noise at all. She hasn't been the at all threatening to people. She likes the pills. She thinks they are little doggy biscuits. She chews them up and then goes and drinks lots and lots of water.

Yesterday I decided to try to train them to sit in response to the door bell. You know, instead of barking their heads off. I got some cheese to use as a reward. After running through some ringing, sitting, rewarding, I left the bowl on the tea tray near the door. The dogs were both sniffing seeing if they could reach it. CD could have, but she is good about not stealing off of tables and counters.

Suddenly CD was going after the Shih Tzu. It was very upsetting because the Shih Tzu backed off right away, but it didn't seem to be enough for CD. She kept at him. He was trying to get behind the sofa and CD was still snarling and mouthing/biting. I stood up and yelled "Stop! Dogs sit!" CD responded right away...still throwing glares at the Shih Tzu, sort of saying, "Just wait until Mommy is gone..." The Shih Tzu did his version of "sitting" when excited, which is to stay in one place nervously changing position. I waited until they were calm and then told them to go play. CD spent about 10 minutes sitting at my feet and looking at me sadly, waiting to be told that she was a good dog. I did eventually reassure her, but my heart pounded for a while.

I think I am get so worried about her behavior because she COULD bite hard. Cattle Dogs herd cattle by biting their heels (hence the alternate name "Heeler"). I've seen her bite through and destroy toys and bones. She still "inhibits" her bit when she fights. Before the pain pills she had bit both Brian and Gary. With Gary she barely broke the skin. Brian said he hand hurt a little, but there was no damage to the skin at all. That's the bite of a dog informing a inferior to leave her along...not a dog that is attacking. (Yes, I know part of the solution is to have the boys do things like put her on sit stays so that she recognizes them as above her in the hierarchy.)

They dogs don't fight more often, but when they do it is getting worse. CD used to only feel the need to snarl. The Shih Tzu backed off and it was done. Now CD doesn't seem to know when to stop. Actually, I don't know what would happen if I didn't stop it. CD's isn't biting hard enough to cause damage, but it is distressing. I worry that it will esclate.

I THINK things are different when we are gone. I think that CD is just unquestionably the one In Charge. I know (because sometimes she thinks everyone is gone and I'm still here) that as soon as she hears the car drive off she jumps up on the furniture and sighs, unless she jumps up to the Shih Tzu's feeding station and eats all of his food. Less of this since we bought a new food neither of them seem to like very much.

Anyway, it is just all very tiring.

Last night CD also seemed to have another seizure. She had one ages ago (like a year? two?) That one lasted a couple of minutes and was very obvious. This time she seemed to be trying to scratch her ear but was bringing her back leg up from UNDER her front leg. I laughed and told her that wasn't going to work. Roland came over to see and she stopped and came to sit in front of him to see what he wanted (she's like that). He said, "Is she having a seizure? What's going on with her mouth?" And I saw that the muscles around her mouth were twitching, but that was all.

The poor dear is getting old.

On another note, David is coming to dinner tonight.


  1. Silje9:40 AM

    Love how you saved the information about David to the very end.

  2. Is the fighting always around food or other valuable resources like toys/bones? Heelers are notorious for resource guarding, because herding dogs have to guard their flock.

    I have a house full of herding dogs myself... they can be a handful.

  3. My CD does the same thing. And we have let them go. There's a lot of snarling and growling, but it's never gotten to where one is physically harming the other. One of them will duck under something or another and it will stop. It's that whole "alpha" thing going on added with the natural instincts of a herder.

  4. Awww man. Kids and pets. People we love having issues is never easy. I hope things work out okay, but I guess there isn't a cure for getting old...


Comments will be open for a little while, then I will be shutting them off. The blog will stay, but I do not want either to moderate comments or leave the blog available to spammers.