Rod sent a Karma and Dawa update…

Debby,

 I just wanted to give you an update on our two little rascals. They are both doing well and having lots of fun chasing and chewing on each other. It is clear she is trying to take dominance over him, but he is having nothing to do with that; he basically gets atop of her and lies down with her trap between all four legs and just holds her there while he chews on her. Their antics are quite amazing and they have some much love to share when I come home from work or travel. The one thing we have noticed in difference between the two is she certainly shows signs of being more timid and has a tendency of nervous barking. We are working with the trainer to help build her confidence, but I would like any recommendations you may have? Thanks!

 Rod & Olga

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5 Comments on “Rod sent a Karma and Dawa update…”

  1. lhasalhady says:

    Synchronicity again! Rod sharing Dawa’s tendency to nervous barking. Dawa’s dam is Ponya. Susan writing to me about Raji having been traumatized prior to living with here, totally ballistic with men, now a happy camper. I’m currently reading The Cautious Canine by Pat McConnell. I’d like to share this passage:

    “Most “shy” dogs are not afraid because of some abusive incident, but because they are genetically predisposed to be afraid of unfamiliar things. Some new things are scarier than others. she dogs most commonly are afraid of: unfamiliar people; men more often than women (especially large, deep voiced guys); people with funny looking silhouettes (carrying bags, wearing hats, etc.); people who charge up to them; hands that reach over the top of their heads; young children who move and speak erratically, and people who are themselves afraid of dogs.”

    I thought this was very important! Genetically predisposed to be afraid of unfamiliar things really caught my attention. I know nothing of Raji’s personal experiences in life. Perhaps she was traumatized; perhaps not. Raji and Irdhi, Ponya’s dam, are littersisters. Irdhi has never shown signs of nervousness and knows no strangers. She greets everyone like a long lost friend. Ponya has been with me since she was 4 months old, so most of her life. She has always been cautious. Dawa is more timid than her half-brother Karma. There certainly seems to a family component here!

    Whether the trait is familial is academic. How to handle situations with “shy” dogs is the issue. My recommendation to Susan with Ponya is let it be. Be aware of the unfamiliar things that precipitate the behavior. Minimize those behaviors. And let it be. Raji is a great example. Ponya will follow in her footsteps. Let it be.

    Dawa is a different story, particularly given her age. Rod and Olga’s trainer recommended taking Dawa out for walks without her big brother to help her adapt to the environment without using him as a crutch. She is going to training class alone to help her focus on her owners and their commands. Excellent! These kinds of things are confidence builders and help Dawa learn to stand on her own.

    In an email exchange, I’ve asked Rod to pay attention to the triggers that set Dawa off with her nervous barking. He thinks it is strange noises created by something she can’t see. The neighbor children outside was his example. Yet she loves children. So, I think he’s on the right track. I would try taking her outside to see the source of the noise. Perhaps that will help. If not, don’t attempt it again as you don’t want to inadvertently reinforce the behavior or make matters worse. She could be counter-conditioned to the sounds of children outside. Given her age, I’d follow the trainer’s recommendations for now, building Dawa’s confidence. That very well may take care of the issue…without creating unintended consequences. She is, after all, still very young.

    Margo has been going to puppy class for about a month now. She, too, is very nervous. She sends lots of calming signals. She often pants from nerves. The first night she wet the floor from nerves. Just this last class, she actually approached the other puppies, her nerves giving way to curiosity. Good girl, Margo. With shy puppies, nervous puppies, it is very, very important to continue to expose them to unfamiliar situations. Watch for trigger points and use them in training, back off from the trigger point, help the dog gain the confidence to move past those triggers.

    Talk about synchronicity! How interesting the following two books crossed my path in the past several weeks! The Cautious Canine by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D. Help For Your Fearful Dog by Nicole Wilde.

  2. Susan M says:

    Oh my, those are two very gorgeous Gompas !!!! I love the way Karma’s coloring has changed as he has gotten older. It will be very interesting to follow Dawa’s coloring as well. What I do not understand is how anyone in the real world manages to keep them with long hair and still looking so lovely. The only way I can keep my kids’ clean and presentable is to keep their hair cut very very short !!!!

    Ponya is sitting here next to me in the chair as I write this, having — as usual — slept right next to my head all night and then bolted out the door when I offered her food. Oh well, yesterday Raji actually let my brother-in-law pat her. If Raji can get to there, when every other male has sent her into paroxyms of fear and trembling, well, Ponya who is only 8 to Raji’s 14, will be dancing jigs with the rest of us very soon.

    Is Dawa going to be bred at some point as part of the Gompa Preservation program?

  3. Susan M says:

    Outdoor noises are a huge trigger for all of my dogs. If the dogs down the street start in, if the neighbor’s relatives drive up and start shouting back and forth…..all of the dogs may erupt into furious warning barkings. I’ve always tried to remind myself that this is what they were originally bred to do: to warn the monks of intrusions. One thing that helped here, just a bit, was a variable sound white noise machine. I’ve got it in the bedroom, and if the outside noises get too disruptive I turn it on and let the sound of a bubbling brook or waves breaking at the beach vaguely cover up the outside noises. Getting them to stop altogether would seem to be too contrary to their natures and would also remove their one clear job; my job seems to be more along the lines of eliminating as many of those noises as possible. ….hence the white noise generator.

  4. lhasalhady says:

    Last night I picked up Wolfdogs A – Z at the library. I’d reserved it hoping to learn more about canine behavior. Instead the book is devoted mostly to training wolf hybrids. I thought this passage was relevant to this ‘timid’ discussion:

    Don’ts:

    – Don’t hover over him. Wolfdogs are especially fearful of things overhead.
    – Don’t wear dark sunglasses or hats. Scary stuff to wolfdogs!
    – Don’t make fast movements or yell. (That also means don’t yell at your kids or anyone else while your wolfdog is present.)
    – Don’t reach out for him. Allow him to approach and sniff you.

    Dos:

    – Crouch down, turn your body and face slightly away from your wolfdog. (Head-on is a more threatening posture.)
    – With an extremely fearful wolfdog who you know to be no danger to you (i.e. a young pup), lay on the floor and let him approach.
    – Keep your voice soothing, your movements slow and small.
    – Let your wolfdog see that you have food treats, such as hot dogs. At any sign of him approaching, toss a treat (with a small motion) low to the ground, a bit away from you. Work toward gradually tossing them closer to you. Be patient. Do not toss treats if he shows fearfulness – you don’t want to reward that behavior.
    – Leave something with your scent on it, such as a t-shirt or sweatshirt you’ve just worn (or a towel you’ve carried under your arm) in the area your wolfdog rests in.

  5. Hello Debby, I was reading the comments this morning, and I found something interesting. where about putting things over the head. I notice when I pat roadie on his head or reach to pat him, he will put his head down. also he has become very protective of me. my son. when he comes into the bedroom, roadie will ge up from where he is laying and come over , last night he came and placed himself between his legs and sat down.(smile) also he hates for him to sneeze or cough. He goes bananas.

    I am going to send you a picture soon of him. He is now in full coat, very pretty, with a black streak coming in near the shoulders. If you will ever be coming to Philadelphia, please let me know.

    Warmly,

    alma

    P.S I was in a car accident, not my fault, hit an oil slick in the park and hit a tree, car was totalled. 94 roadmaster which I loved. I now have a buick 2004 Lasabre.
    Roadie was not in the car when I had the accident, which is a good thing, because they took me to the hospital. blood pressure was 200/89. the big car saved me from an other bodily damage. (smile)


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