A late fall fairy moment and bad dawg boredom

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Today when I came home from work, I had a late fall fairy moment. When I got out of the car, oldest son hollers at me from upstairs that I'd better check my front garden, because apparently he'd not been paying attention and both dawgs were outside. But the worst part wasn't that both were outside, because Rose is a good girl. But Rose doesn't tell Sugar not to do things.........
This was bad news to me because I had come home with the intent on getting some beautiful unusual fall weather garden stuff done. I walked along the front looking and stopped short when I came to where the yellow, and the orange kniphofia HAD been planted. And the clump of geraniums that had resisted my diggings a few years ago and have graced me with fleeting blossoms.....and lord knows what else. Because there was a hole going to Australia (Hi Pen!!) and about three foot wide.................................arghhhhhhhhhhhh
Mike comes out the front door and informs me that Sugar and Rose had been out all day since his brother had gone to work this morning at 8. I pointed to the massive hole and he dropped his jaw and I then told him to get Sugar for me. Apparently she KNEW she'd done something wrong like she always does, and had been hiding under his covers ever since he'd discovered them outside and gotten them back in the house.. So I called her and dragged her dawg ass out the front door over to the pit she'd dug and dragged her muzzle thru the dirt yelling at her "what did you DO????? BAAAADDDDD DAWG, NO" about 30 seconds of this with her curled into a grubworm position I then picked her bodily up and handed her to Mike, no small feat since she weighs 50 pounds now and I have no business doing this at the moment.
I then tell him to put her butt in the house and please go get a bag of the topsoil under the black cherry tree, and I filled up the pit with the whole 40 pounds of soil, and unpotted an aster and some other plants that somehow have survived despite the frosts lately. So help me if she digs these up I'll have her for dinner............(not really, but eventually she'll figure out this is NOT the thing to do or "mama will be torked off"
After I got over the initial rage, I was done with it and happened to look over at the Mexican Sage I have gotten from the lady down the road and was blessed with the sight of the most incredible fairy. Flitting about thru the Blue Enigma and the sage. I had Mike go get the camera and I proceeded to try and capture her beauty. I have some awesome shots of her on the sage. The underside of her is breath taking, but I finally got the outer side of her and the orangeness of her against the soft lavender and darker lavendar fuzz of the Mexican sage is unworthy of words.
There are still a few flowers going, the Gaura has dark pink and burgandy flowers hovering above dark burgandy and green leaves in a pot, two Tequila sunrise coreopsis have sprung up in another pot. The Enigma is going in both spots, the Mexican sage, a little yellow composite I can't identify. The arum lilies are all leafed out now and stand out with their silver and green mottled leaves.
The mimosa that died six years ago in the fence row gave up a whole section and just missed my Diablo ninebark, Loripedilum and Wine and Roses weigelia, and there are fat buds on the old lilac that reminds me I need to take out another older branch before next spring to get larger blossoms.
I will plant the burning bushes, pieris and rhodie tomorrow as it will be the last day of 70 degree weather until the weather goddess decides to grace us with warmth. After tomorrow, rains move back in, followed by temperatures in the low 20's and highs barely getting to 50. The bulbs might get planted too, but I have to find a place to tuck them into a spot where Sugar won't uproot them. I'd hate to go thru all this to have her uncover my efforts. She has a bad habit of returning to the scene of the crime and recommiting it. It took several digs in the NSSG where the departed pulmonaria lived before she got that I was going to kill her if she unearthed the remaining plants again.
The spot she persisted at now houses Ruby slippers lobelias and an Itea bush. If I have to I'll lay chicken wire down on the soil to prevent her from digging up the soil where it's seemingly bare.
Thanks for letting me share a more "normal" moment with ya'll. I hope everyone has a great holiday. anyone wishing to see the pics I took today just give me a holler and I'll JPEG 'em to you.
,madgardener up on the ridge, back in fairy holler overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36
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Why are you mad at the dog instead of your sons, who left them unsupervised?
For what it's worth, your dog most likely associates your yelling with her most recent action...coming to you before being dragged outside.
If you doubt this... Next time, try getting her to come again immediately after the yelling. If she thinks coming is a good thing and digging is the bad thing, she won't hesitate to come.
Eric
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On Sat, 22 Nov 2003 20:27:05 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

This struck me, too. Our NPR station carries 'Calling All Pets' (from Wisconson Public Radio -- http://www.wpr.org/pets /) with animal behaviorist Tricia McConnell. Her training advice is almost universally directed toward encouraging good behavior and training animals out of bad habits. Unless they're 'caught in the act' (or preferably just as the idea is forming :-), it is virtually useless to punish them for a prior (even a couple minutes prior) act.
Dr. McConnell, a very bright and cheerful woman, as well as a sound academic, has written several books on (mostly) dog training that may be available in your library. She even had a good tip recently about keeping neighbors' dogs from pooping on your lawn. Send me a SASE and $10, and I'll reveal the secret. :-) Since digging is a common problem, I'm sure she deals with that.
Genuinely sorry about your flowers, Mad.
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O

thanks honey. just ended my day badly, and started my day off worse when I discovered the other destruction she'd done yesterday I didn't find. and no, I didn't punish her today. that's stupid. I yelled at oldest son for not noticing her outside. I also put my foot down and told everyone in the house that this dog is not to be let out unless someone is supervising. No more letting her and Rose out to do their business and have freedoms. I'm not willing to pen this dog up because I live in the country and don't believe in it unless you live around other people and animals. I live isolated to a large degree and she's not distroyed Miss Mary's gardens or yard. Just mine. Not the woods (where she could dig to Australia if she desired and I'd not care) or the pastures next door where there are acres to dig, no MY gardens I've worked at for the last eight years. Like I said before, they're only plants, but with my stress levels up with the job situations and my health still questionable and everything else, well you might understand. And this dog actually acts like she knows she's done something bad before you find what she's done. it's spooky. That's why I say she's smart. Eventually if I don't kill her (just kidding) she'll be a great dog and will replace Rose when she passes on. off to work to struggle thru the day on concrete maddie
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you just go ahead and work with aversion training and they will both be allowed out and have their freedoms. HarryP is our replacement for Charlie and I feel the same way. But Harry is even more "country dog" bred for hunting than Charlie. Harry consistently retrieved his toys at 8 weeks. Altho very food driven, he would "leave it" his food at 10 weeks until given the release. We just gotta get thru his puppy hood. Ingrid
. I also put my foot down and

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wrote:

Oh, then you're human? :-) Subject to frustration and fatigue? Occasionally go all purple and regret it in a few minutes? Truly, Mad, if you can get a copy of one of McConnell's books and persuade your co-habitees to help, you might be able to prevent the damage. Since digging is such a common problem, I'm *sure* she has some material on it. Am *still* trying to persuade my sister (with a lively home-alone Airedale) to check out the books, which I discovered her library *does* have. Sister mentioned the dog's chewing on interior drywall, f'r heaven's sake, and lo, something similar showed up as a question (with a solution) on the radio program.
Dig to Australia? I always thought if we dug deep enough, we'd get to China. I think I dug a few holes myself, as a kid, toward that goal.
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On Sun, 23 Nov 2003 16:37:16 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.xx.com wrote:

We had a Cocker Spaniel when I was a kid that dug holes every time he was left alone in the yard. And every time, my father would drag him to the hole, rub his nose in it, and whack him with a newspaper. We probably had that dog for 5 years, and he *never* quit digging holes. Either the dog or my father was a slow learner.
McConnell impresses the hell out of me. She *does* do animal training for a living, and while I don't have a disobedient dog to practice on she certainly seems to promote very sound methods. A *lot* of animal training takes time and dreary repetition. She claims, and I have no reason to doubt, to have trained her dogs to go *around* her flowerbeds. [The trick involves having a clearly defined border, body-blocking the animal as it approaches, and rewarding it when it turns away.]
As for "knowing he's guilty," I do have doubts about that. When you approach an animal with heavy breathing and fire in your eye, he probably expects *something's* wrong and he's in for a bad time, even if he has absolutely no memory of the cause.
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cocker spaniels used to be a hunting dog. then they became popular and the breed was basically ruined by wanton over breeding. yes, they are incredibly stupid, like trying to train an Afghan, it isnt that it cant be done, but it is amazing when it is done. Lots of people "do" dog training. I have seen various methods come and go, the latest rage is "clicker" training... originally designed for porpoises who hear well in that range. ah well. it isnt how well she can train dogs, it is how many people drop out in frustration trying to get their hunting dogs trained being "nice". I agree, training (like with a kid) is nag, nag, nag and constant reminding, and saying the same command every time and enforcing it. when a person walks in the door and the dog that is normally waiting to greet them is hiding instead, I think one can make some deductions about dog behavior then. OTOH, when I yell "what did you do" at my dogs for no reason, they look back blankly (well, all but one who was raised Catholic). It like the dogs dont attack the garbage when I am in the kitchen, but if I leave the door op;en and leave all bets are off. And if I am sitting at my puter and a dog slinks by ears flat and looking back at me I had better go and check the house over. Ingrid

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A friend's English spaniel was everything a cocker spaniel isn't, intelligent, good natured, obedient, not to mention invariably healthy. But this was over 25 years ago, & I've encountered a few english spaniels since that are as stupid & child-unfriendly as some of the cockers I've found appalling. I wonder how long it takes to ruin a breed that has become too popular for its own good & ends up bred by every third-rate amateur. I've heard there are cockers in Europe nothing like the American standard of stupidity, but don't know if that's true. Seems like if it were true someone would import them & breed a smarter strain of cocker.
-paghat the ratgirl

--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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In defense of Cocker spaniels, I'm not sure it is fair to tar all of them with the "stupid" brush. I have always had terriers previously and they have been intelligent and easily trainable to a fault. When I got my cocker, I attempted the same training practices and she responded winningly. Of all my dogs, she is the most obedient and the least garden destructive. Well, none of them are particularly destructive, but at least she keeps to the paths and doesn't wander into the planting beds. She is pretty much totally blind (genetic cataracts) but that doesn't seem to slow her down in the slightest nor does she lose her bearings at all in familiar settings. About the only stupid thing I have ever seen her do is wait patiently at the bottom of the fir tree for the squirrels to come down (as if they would with her sitting there) but I find that more humorous than stupid. I am amazed at how long she will sit and wait. She is an ideal gardening companion.
pam - gardengal
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On Mon, 24 Nov 2003 16:58:40 GMT, "Pam - gardengal"

I hate to sound like a one-trick pony(?), but I have really become a great fan of Dr. McConnell. Often people ask "what is the best dog for...(children, house pet, guarding, kind disposition)?" and she replies that there are a few broadly generalized traits, but that each animal is his/her individual creature. My mention of a Cocker Spaniel was *not* meant to denigrate the breed. In fact, my anecdotal assessment was that my father was deficient in learning power, not the dog.
A neighbor has recently trained a couple of Labs to a fare-thee-well, apparently using a lot of shouting and restraint. I believe this can be successful, However, I'd much rather learn the tricks of training an animal with treats and kind words.
Your canine companion sounds lovely. McConnell claiims cats can be trained, too, but I'm not sure she means dragging in the Sunday paper. Which is about the only trick I'd like Marigold to learn. :-)
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Constant hole-digging is a common neurotic problem in dogs & is very ofen an indication of the dog's misery, loneliness, fear, or unhappiness. It'd be my guess the dog was alone a lot, but other things can cause neurotic behavior.
When I still lived in Seattle, I observed a neighbor's dog undermining a large old tree, digging itself a veritable cave over a long period of time. Throughout the three years I observed it, its only contact with its family was to be hastily fed but barely talked to, & occasionally someone went out there to beat the living daylights out of it for barking to get attention. When the dog came down with diarrhea I called animal control & the dog was removed; I felt bad doing it but it was a very sick animal getting no care at all. The neighbor vanished not long after, & good riddance; the tree however had to be removed, the dog had so damaged it.
Other causes can be much less the fault of an owner. Even well-cared for dogs can become neurotic. A change in family status (like arrival of an infant), a menacing neighbor's dog that has it continuously cowed & frightened, or any number of things difficult to recognize. Since the behavior manifests from a dog equivalent of depression, punishment just depresses it all the more, heightening the behavior.
The most common cause of hole-digging or other neurotic behaviors is something that may sound vague but is of central importance to the emotional well being of a dog: good training. An otherwise sweet dog that has never gone through obedience training & does not have that training reinforced in a predictable environment does not even know what its position in life is supposed to be. In its uncertainty it becomes a little crazy. They're pack animals & need not merely a social life, but a well-defined location in the "pack" or family unit which will include people of all ages, cats, parrots, bunnies, pet rats, even immediate neighbors & their pets. A dog will reliably obey everyone higher in the social order (mom & dad), & it will protect everyone lower in the social order (the kids & even that gawdamn annoying cat). But if it does not know where it stands, it neither protects nor obeys, but digs holes or licks itself until it has given itself raw open soars.
-paghat the ratgirl
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"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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This may be generally true, & the majority of dogs do seem to have the IQ of a baked mutton incapable of putting sundry events together into a broader understanding. But some dogs clearly have very complex thought processes, lay plans, await results, as any social hunting animal must be able to do. I had a dog unstring a toilet roll while I was away, & when I came home, hid until I found the paper unravelled before coming out to see what I was going to do about it. I've had or known dogs in the past that tried to hide their misdeeds, or went all ashamed-acting immediately before the discovery of some chewed up item. I've known dogs that when miffed about something would wait patiently for the chance to be alone to do something rotten to express dissatisfaction. I was never much for punishing a dog at all, but some of them definitely can put two & two together, & if you find a shoe chewed almost in half, they know they did it, & they know it's why you're acting peevish with them. Or you can be standing on completely the different side of a room from where a chair-leg is gnawed & ask a dog sternly "Do you know what you did?" & it'll lower its head & take a surreptitious glance at the chairleg; shame is something dogs can feel, & most of the stuff they're ashamed of is stuff they intentionally waited until you weren't around to do it, so know perfectly well there could be repurcussions. A little dog, maybe not so likely, but a german shepard, an australian sheep dog, a newfoundland, some of them seem a lot smarter than four year old children.
It may still be a poor training tactic to yell at them while showing them the chewed up shoe, as the deed felt good when it was being done & will feel good when done again; plus attention is attention & they may want to get yelled at again. But I do think many a dog can quite easily make a connection between your unhappiness & that nibbled shoe you're waggling at them, or a dug-up garden.
-paghat the ratgirl

--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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wrote:

Wild canines in packs, the alpha will periodically inflict pain to induce subservience in lieutenants, who accept that they don't even have the right to breed. The alpha's split-second moments of violence reinforces rather than does harm to the "family" or pack structure. A dog that shows its belly because it just got its face nipped does not feel victmized, it benefits from reinforcement of its position in the pack, whereas if it balks, serious injury could result, or even outcast status & the life of a starving scavenger.
The main thing a good hunting dog learns from inflicted pain is it's "place" in the world & who is boss. Unless the abuse is agregious, it will not feel abused or show fear; it will be happily subservient to the alpha human who wacks him. However, learning to show its belly to the human alpha isn't the same as learning hunting techniques, nor will it result in a generally reliable animal. While I do not believe most dogs feel unhappy with owners who hit them even with moderate violence, it is NOT essential to do this to establish mastery over a dog. From pain-oriented punishments the dog may well learn to inflict pain further down the social ladder --someone can hit his dog & it'll still love & obey him & hold no grudges, but the guy down the block better never try it or he'll need some serious stitches. And the owner saying that shithead down the block shouldn't have raised a stick to wack someone else's dog isn't going to wash when it comes up before the judge who decides its a dangerous animal.
Worse, it will become second-nature to such a dog to show, say, a rowdy child who is the boss. A child entering pack territory must submit to the alpha human's "lieutenant," i.e., Mr. Good Dog. It doesn't take a mean dog or a bad dog or even a poorly trained dog to get itself in maximum trouble. It was just a dog that understood the social order was reinforced by painful nipping or wacking. When it seeks a similar submissive response by nipping a child, & gets entirely the wrong response, it then bites seriously. That same afternoon, animal control comes by to arrange for the dog's destruction & there's a phone call from the kid's father's attorney, & a second mortgage is going to be required. The often-wacked happy obedient dog never again gets to hang out with that greatly loved belly-scratchin' human who will forever after refuse to believe his dog was unprovoked.
On the other hand, I've stopped dogs from being rowdy, when even their owners couldn't get them under control, merely by pinching the dog's cheek. This settles them down at once & gets their attention. I'm not sure why it would work so reliably, but I learned this when I was a teenager & took a German shephard through a training program, & I've often had opportunity to do the face-pinch trick in the decades since; a dog can be completely unfamiliar with the maneuver, or it can have experienced it a great deal so isn't surprised, either way it's the same response -- settle down, come to attention. Doesn't need to be done painfully, but enough to be felt, so it would qualify as a use of pain in training -- do it three times, for the rest of the day if not forever after, you only have to touch the cheek. It's about the least threatening method of conveying alpha status to a jumping slobbering over-excited or leash-yanking refuses-to-hear-you dog -- it feels that cheek-pinch & suddenly it wants to know what you want of it. Alhough this seems never to fail on a large good-natured dog, it's useless for miniatures; I always assumed that was because toys & miniatures are naturally stupid, but maybe you've got a better idea, & lap-dogs are really wired to a different standard.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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another reason for aversion training.... HarryP doesnt know what NOT to eat. Ingrid
During this>long time of no one watching her, she dug 1/2 of my BBQ pit garden and

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Chicken bones? I'm no dog expert but I have seen a dog suffer from internal lacerations from chicken bones. Not a pleasant way to go.
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it is best to give chicken with bones raw as they digest em the best, get the most nutrition. but even cooked chicken bones are mostly air, and the acid in the dogs stomach dissolves such thin bones. and this is what a vet told me when I was concerned about my ESS eating cooked chicken bones. bird dogs wont eat raw bird, but they LOVE cooked bird. thats why they bring the birds back to their master, to cook em for them... LOL. my little guys get frozen chicken wing tips. it is highly recommended for keeping the plaque off their teeth and their teeth well exercised so they dont lose their teeth early, as most toy dogs do. Ingrid

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When

Cooked chicken bones are a big no-no for cats and dogs; they make splinters which could penetrate the gut and cost a lot of pain and money. Our dogs only get fresh raw beef bones. Free from the butcher; strictly for outdoor consumption :~}
And she KNOWS when she does

In many ways, a bright young dog is similar to an active toddler. Both understand adult words, voice tone, body language, and roughly what behaviour is expected or tolerated, but are highly unlikely to be "good" or compliant all the time. Their self-control is very un-developed and frequently overwhelmed by desire, curiousity and growing independence. They have a low boredom threshold and a lot of energy.
This

My guess is, she's bored and lonely and needs more human company and walks.
All those nice things above are no substitute for what lively young pet dogs want most of all, which is daily energetic outings in human company. Lots of running excercise and the mental and sensory stimulation of somewhere different from home and garden.Some energetic work-breed pet dogs (border collie, german shepherd, dalmatian, retriever, to name a few) ideally need to run about 10 miles every day during their youthful years, to keep them happy and physically and mentally healthy. Other breeds and age groups are satisfied with less.
If owners can't provide sufficient walks/company for a particular dog's needs, sometimes the most loving thing they can do is have it rehomed. I've acquired two wonderful dogs from exactly that circumstance, so there can be a happy ending.
Janet.
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Not trying to criticize. I'm sorry if that's how I came across. I love reading your posts, Mad. When it comes to knowledge about plants, you're right up there. I'm new around here, and I don't have a lot of plant knowledge to share. I'm fairly knowledgeable when it comes to dogs, however, and I was trying to constructively share this.

What does she do to act as if she knows? Submissive? Tail between her legs? Slinking around? Doesn't want to make eye contact? More likely than not, she's reading your body language. She knows you're pissed, and she's submitting to you. While dogs don't have long term memories when it comes to what they've done and associating that with your current behavior, they are excellent at figuring out what kind of mood you're in.
Eric
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

You may be right in this particular case, but to go off on a barely related tangent, there's another effect of yelling at dogs, an effect which explains why strange old ladies who live alone with creepy little yappy dogs can never get their runny-eyed shivery eggshell-headed monsters to stop yapping. When the crazy old dog-owner starts yelling "Be quiet Winky-dums! Stop that barking right now! Oh you bad Winkywinky, stop that now! Bad Winky! Bad!" this incites the bulby-eyed little horror to ever more insistant yappiness.
From that little dog's point of view, its beloved mistress is barking WITH them at the nasty knock at the door, & yelling at the dog to stop barking reinforces their pet's desire to please & to do stuff with the Mistress. It only LOOKS like disobedience.
By the way, I've been thinking of getting a yappy dog to go with my own increasingly little old lady life toddling about talking to plants, but I might have a couple years yet to go before I'm quite old enough, though I've got the toddling down now. Some of those dogs do look rather like rats so I like 'em.
-paghat the ratgirl
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"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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