Dog trains man

Sunday, September 29, 2013

What Every First-time Hovawart Owner Should Know: Socialization with Dogs

This is a series of blogs about "What Every First-time Hovawart Owner Should Know", in which each subject is selected - and contributed to - by Hovawart owners.

Socialization with Dogs

To socialize your Hovawart is one of the most important things you will do.

Puppies have a “critical period” that spans roughly from 8 – 16 weeks of age. This period marks the time when your puppy is most impressionable, and they learn best.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Could It Be? A Sign Viva's Nose Is Improving?

A big crust came off from Viva's nose this morning, and it didn't reveal yet the next open sore. Instead, a clean and fresh pink piece of skin presented itself.


A first sign Viva's nose is improving ... Knock on wood.

Since our last update, Viva had a biopsy taken to confirm it was Discoid Lupus (DLE) and our vet consulted a specialist if there was anything we hadn't tried that could help.

So far we had tried every known medication- and herbal based treatment, without success. Of course apart from giving her steroids, which works with most dogs, but cannot be used for Viva, because of her Cushing's medication.

The specialist recommended us one more, last treatment based on a special type of antibiotic together with another supplement boost of vitamine B, E, and fatty acids.

Other than that we just continued to keep her out of the sun, and the nose protector she wears as you can see on the photo, was a great help with that. Although the sun still shines, its power fades, and the days get shorter. We rub some vaseline on the crusts, and apply some xylocain - a local sedative - when we see her wounded nose bothers her.

I really don't know if the last treatment helped her. And it might be just because the sun is fading, we start to see some improvements. But who cares, just she gets better!


Friday, September 27, 2013

That Guy With The German Shepherd

I guess every neighborhood has at least one. The talkative dog walker that you seem to run into whatever time of the day you go for a dog walk. Ours is like the local-dog-gazette and seems to know everybody that walks our trail, and I knew she would be happy to hear we just made some new friends.

"Really? Did you really met that guy with the German Shepherd?". Now she made me feel uncomfortable, and I stumbled: "Eh, yes. Why? Is that bad?".

There were some red flags. The guy didn't made a lot of effort to initiate a meet with Kenzo. And he did say his elderly German Shepherd girl could "protest", as he described it. I always walk away with red flags like that. And why I didn't do exactly that this time, I really don't know.

The GSD girl was a bit of a loner. She didn't seem very eager to meet us. She wasn't nervous or aggressive either. And as Kenzo didn't perform any calming signals - he just wanted to come closer - I thought there was not too much to worry about, and hoped we wouldn't regret following my feelings on this one.

It went very well. The GSD girl did interact a little with Kenzo, and like he said, "shouted" a few times at him. The guy seemed to be a little surprised too, the "shouting" didn't scare us away. But Kenzo loves that, and is used to that from home - with Viva. It just motivates him to do an even better peacock impression.

"You better be careful when you run into them. Many people had problems with that dog". I could imagine that, but it didn't necessarily meant the guy and his GSD were doing anything wrong. Still, I only met them once, who am I to know, and changed the subject to something else.

Occasionally we met the couple again, and when I didn't have Viva with me, we let them meet. With Viva around, we just nodded to each other or raised our hands as a hello. Kenzo was still always happy to meet her, tried to impress her and invite to play. But she always stayed reserved - she didn't even accept a treat from me - although she always had a smile on her face when we met again.

One day I was rushing home with Kenzo because I was late for work when we noticed them going on the far end of the trail, slightly off it, like they usually do. It was months ago we had seen them last, and I was in doubt what to do. I just waived, and felt bad I really didn't have time, and Kenzo and me picked up our pace again.

The GSD girl had noticed us as well and her head got higher while she saw us passing by in the distance. Just when we passed them at that 90-degree angle, where she realized we were not coming over, she decided to drop all her reservations and took a sprint towards us, as fast as her old legs could go.

She greeted Kenzo loud and jumped up as much as she could. Then she pushed her body against my legs and just stood there. She wanted a rub. Our first rub. It just took a minute and off she went again, back to daddy, who was still standing there with his jaw-bone dropped on the floor.

I always thought she was special. And now she made me feel special. The local-dog-gazette is not going to believe me.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

What Every First-time Hovawart Owner Should Know: Training and Exercise

This is a series of blogs about "What Every First-time Hovawart Owner Should Know", in which each subject is selected - and contributed to - by Hovawart owners.

Training and exercise

Dog training and exercise are god's gift to Hovawart owners.

Without it, things tend to explode in your face. But when you train and exercise, you are set up for success.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Danish Dog Act Under Way: 13 Breeds Still Banned

Karen Hækkerup
A new Danish Dog Act is in the making but don't get your hopes up.

Protest is mounting in Denmark. The debate is heated. Fair Dog, the initial voice against the breed ban is not alone anymore. Lars Bo Lomholt, the cop that saved the German Shepherd Thor from certain death, has became one of the leading figures in the fight against the breed ban. There has come support from animal rights organizations worldwide, especially from Germany. Local organizations like the Danish Veterinarian Organization and the Danish animal welfare organization "Dyrenes Beskyttelse" make their voice against the breed ban heard loud and clear through the media. A secret group has emerged, that breaks into shelters under the cover of night and frees dogs that await execution. Our petition is just a couple of votes away of gathering 50,000 votes. Fair Dog's petition has gathered even more than that, making a total of well over 100,000 votes.

The Danish Dog Act was planned to be evaluated before the end of this year and the then Danish Minister of Agriculture (responsible for animal welfare), Mette Gjerskov, launched a working group before the summer to investigate the results of the law during the previous 3 years. A report was ordered from Copenhagen University to evaluate the results of the law and experts and interest-groups were invited to give advice.

Their message was clear, apart from the Danish Kennel Club, who wants to see more blood, and a Facebook group fighting to uphold the law, it all pointed the same way. All the experts and their advice, as well as the report from Copenhagen University, say the same.

A breed ban does not, and will not, decrease the number of dog bites.

Why am I not surprised.

Despite the fact, that this simple message confirms what we learned from all the breed bans all over the world. Despite the mounting protests in Denmark. Despite all the thorough investigations from experts. Despite all that, the Danish Minister, Karen Hækkerup (following up Mette Gjerskov), has presented a new and updated Danish Dog Act, in which the breed ban will be uphold.

There is no reasoning for it, neither does Karen Hækkerup made an effort to deny anything experts has told her, as she said in the Danish newspaper, politiken:

"I am afraid of fighting dogs. I can't understand why people want to go around with a dangerous dog. I will not take one of the breeds of the list and risk it will hurt a child some day. I know the feeling myself, having to pass by a dog like that and feel afraid. And the law was made exactly because people were afraid."

All the facts in the world is not going to change a politician reacting this way. Trying to discuss breed bans bears no fruit.

I doubt she really is afraid. Every politician on this earth is more likely to cover up any fears they may have, and when they speak like this, it is meant to hit a string with the audience. It is meant to make us afraid, or nurture the fear we already have. Something that has worked very well for politicians in a whole lot of situations. We even went to war after hearing sentences like that.

Unless Karen became afraid of bull type dogs overnight, the whole evaluation process with experts was therefore nothing more than window dressing. Karen could have chosen to educate on responsible dog ownership, which is a lot more difficult to do than erecting a list.

Unfortunately, it hits the core of the problem with breed bans. It has nothing to do with dog bites. It has to do with people being afraid, based on juicy news headlines of biting dogs blaming the breed. And I do understand that. During history, there always was a fear for dog bites and a breed to blame. When I was younger the German Shepherd had a bad rep. I feared them too, following the advice of people I felt, must know. Later, it was the Doberman's turn. Now it is the bull type dog.

And in the mean time dogs still bite as much as they have before, and maybe even more. But we go around feeling safe because we are busy eradicating a whole breed of dogs. We still get bitten, but we feel safe. Even supporters of breed bans must agree, we will never see lines of people waiting in the emergency room, all with happy smiles on their faces: "Well, we got bitten, but thank god it wasn't a pit bull."

I hope when you read this, you can agree, whether you are in favor or against a breed ban, the common goal we all share is: less dog bites.

Breeds aside, I feel we all have to start discussing dog safety with our politicians and not the pros and cons of a breed ban. Ask them why we still get bitten. Why dog bites are still on the rise. And not let them get away by making another list. We have to demand results and rattle with our vote.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Slapped In The Face

The Swiss Kanton of Glarus decided today in all its wisdom to add the Hovawart to their list of dangerous breeds.

It's unclear why the Hovawarts are chosen. Looking at the other breeds on the list, like German Shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweilers, etc. it doesn't make sense. Did they look at breeds with independence? Why are there no mountain dogs or terriers then. Was it size? No, that will still leave breeds unaccounted for...

And that's what it is. Another random list. Welcome to the breed ban club of shame, Switzerland.

A random Kanton in Switzerland might look far away. It's not. Breed discrimination tends to creep around like a disease and suddenly it is on your doorstep. And I say that even while living in Denmark, where breed discrimination is still on a slippery slope downhill and you might think it can't be much worse than in Denmark. It can.

I will not preach in front of the choir. Dogs are not dangerous. Breeds are not dangerous. Only individual dogs, and their owners in particular, can be dangerous. You know all that.

I could always imagine how horrible it must be for all the great and responsible dog parents in this world, to wake up one day and find your dog on a breed list. And today it got personal and it was our turn to get slapped in the face. It feels exactly how I expected it to feel.

Stigmatized. Targeted. Blamed. Alone.

Even when I know what breed lists really are. Discrimination. Fear-mongering politics. Scaring me into believing something that is not true. Even knowing that a day like this could always come, as long as man tries to play God and uses genes to explain an issue.

Even knowing that, it made me sick to my stomach.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Hovawart TV: Day At The Beach

Kenzo ... excuse me ... Kenzo "Jay M." the Hovawart ... is sooo jealous right now:


Saturday, September 7, 2013

What Every First-time Hovawart Owner Should Know: Personality

This is a series of blogs about "What Every First-time Hovawart Owner Should Know", in which each subject is selected - and contributed to - by Hovawart owners.


Whether your Hovawart's personality is to be the clown of the house, the placid matriarch, the work-a-holic, or the clever manipulator, they all have something in common when it comes down to Personality.

They'll have a lot of it.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hovawart TV: Best Friends

I know. I featured a video of a Hovawart and a cat playing before. I can't help myself, it is just too cute:


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What Every First-time Hovawart Owner Should Know: Not a Retriever, Still a Family Dog

This is a series of blogs about "What Every First-time Hovawart Owner Should Know", in which each subject is selected - and contributed to - by Hovawart owners.

Not A Retriever, Still A Family Dog

Now we know the Hovawart is nothing like a retriever due to its guarding instincts, you might wonder if they actually are family dogs.

They most certainly are.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

What Every First-time Hovawart Owner Should Know: Guarding Instincts

This is the kick-off of a series of blogs about "What Every First-time Hovawart Owner Should Know", in which each subject is selected - and contributed to - by Hovawart owners.

A Hovawart's Guarding Instincts

You could be actually reading this because you have just run into a beautiful dog, that looked a lot like a retriever.

Maybe you had a talk with the owner, who explained it was not a retriever, but a ... what was it she said ... a Hover...What? ... ah yes, a Hova...Wart.
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