Monday, June 30, 2014

Morrie Finds Understanding at Col. Potter!

Written by a CP Intakes Coordinator

Morrie, a gorgeous 4 year old Red Wheaten Male

Let’s all please give a big Col. Potter Welcome to Morrie, a new kid on the block! Morrie is a gorgeous Red Wheaten fellow, only 4 years old, and weighing in at a hefty 23 pounds. 

Morrie is an owner surrender from an elderly woman who felt that Morrie is just a little more than she can handle.  Her words of wisdom were “I should have read something about Cairn Terriers before getting him.”  Well, yes, probably so, but really, Morrie is just a young guy with a big heart and an appetite for life.

Morrie has a smile just waiting for you!

When we met Morrie, he was affectionate and gentle, and he greeted us with a beautiful open smile.  We believe that he, too, thought that it was time for him to move on.  So, we loaded up all his stuff and moved him on over to Col. Potter. 

Morrie is a good-looking dude and after a few weeks at the CP spa, they’re going to be lining up at the door to adopt this handsome hunk.  Who’s gon’na be the lucky human to win his favor?? Stay tuned…

Morrie is very affectionate and gentle

Welcome Morrie!

Col. Potter Needs a Few More Mirrors! 
Please Volunteer to Foster and help us offer wonderful reflections of understanding, safety, and love to every Cairn in need!

Please  Consider being a CP Volunteer!

CP Foster Home Application form:

CP Transport Volunteer Driver form:

CPCRN Volunteer form:







Bobbie Boy Finds Safety and Love at Col. Potter!

Written by a CP Intakes Coordinator

Bobbie Boy, a delightful 12 year old Wheaten Male
Bobbie Boy is young for his age!

Please Welcome a special little man, Bobbie Boy, into the Col. Potter family!  Bobbie Boy is 12 years old and was a wonderful companion to an elderly lady who has loved him dearly.  Sadly, sometimes life gives us a path to follow alone.  Such is the case with Bobbie, in that, he could not go with his owner to her new home.   She knew in her heart of hearts that surrendering him to Col. Potter was the only way she would be sure that he would be safe and soon find his new Forever Home.

Bobbie Boy has settled right in with his new CP Blankie!

Bobbie Boy is indeed very safe and warm with our CP family until he finds his very own family once again!  Many thanks to Lynn B. and Mary H. for helping him on his journey to his Foster Home.  His new Foster Mom reports that “…he is a pleasant boy, very attentive and curious, and he's made himself right at home! …He bounces around chasing the soft basketball I got him.    He's a great pup!”

Foster Mom adds, “Bobby Boy definitely loves his walks!  He has a lot of bounce and energy - not at all what I expected from a 12 yr old.    He got so excited the first day that, after I put his harness on, and was struggling to get the resident dog's harness on, Bobby Boy stuck his head into the 2nd harness as well and I started laughing - two heads in one harness!  He is excellent on the same schedule as my two for waking up, potty, feeding, napping, etc., so I have to say that Bobby Boy is very adaptable and extraordinarily loving and sweet!”

Bobbie Boy is looking for his new Best Friend!

Welcome Bobbie Boy!  With these wonderful credentials, you are sure to find your Forever Home soon!

Col. Potter Needs a Few More Safety Nets! 
Please Volunteer to Foster and help us offer safety and love to every Cairn in need!

Please  Consider being a CP Volunteer!

CP Foster Home Application form:

CP Transport Volunteer Driver form:

CPCRN Volunteer form:










Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Sweets!

Sunday is full of SWEETS!  Each week we will showcase the sweeter side of Cairns. If you have a sweet filled Cairn and would like us to consider YOUR picture for an upcoming "Sunday Sweets!" send it to us at cpcrnblog@gmail.com! (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.)

Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July!
 
Monty

Wicket

Arrow

Gem

Ty
 
Zoey fka CP Ronzo

Charleigh

Benji fka CP Ivers

Peanut fka CP Aubrey








Thursday, June 26, 2014

Understanding the Causes of Aggression in Dogs

Understanding CP Zander’s  physical and emotional pain, his Mom was able to work with him, and train him, and give him a wonderful life!

" Very often, what is labeled as 'aggression' is actually a useful and meaningful communication meant to avoid any violence."    Suzanne Clothier


Aggression Basics

A brief look at the causes of aggression,

and how to begin sorting out what's what…


Part and parcel of canine communications are growls, snarls, snaps and even bites - even among the nicest of dogs and the mildest of breeds.  We find these behaviors frightening, and sometimes don't quite know what to do.  Unfortunately, there is a widespread misunderstanding of what constitutes aggressive behavior.  Very often, what is labeled as 'aggression' is actually a useful and meaningful communication meant to avoid any violence.  And at times, we overlook the fact that should a dog feel the need to act in a threatening way (whether to people, other dogs or other animals), there's a reason.

In my experience, dog behavior - especially that which we find frightening - is often poorly understood, leading to misunderstanding and frustration on both ends of the leash.  No matter how fearsome we may find their behavior, we can find some relief in the knowledge that dogs act aggressively for the same basic reasons we do: 

Fear (of a specific situation/person/other animal, or the fear that springs from incomplete socialization - the dog literally does not have the skills to adequately handle the dog-to-dog interactions) 

Pain (this can be quite subtle at times - a dog who is tired and/or who has physical problems can have a much shorter fuse for being bumped by or even in the presence of exuberant dogs) 

Irritation (this can vary widely from individual dog to dog; again, physical/mental fatigue can make a dog more irritable than usual) 

Anger (redirection of anger onto another dog or even the dog's handler is possible with a highly aroused and frustrated dog) 

Protection of territory (this may be the dog's home yard or a familiar practice area or even the handler's vehicle) 

Protection of family (in a sound dog, this should happen only when a serious threat is made; dogs quick to perceive a threat to the handler should be evaluated carefully - such hair trigger responses can be dangerous.) 

Self defense (perhaps the most common cause of dog-to-dog interactions) 

Protecting resources & possessions (this could be proximity to a special person, or actual resources like toys, food, crate, etc) 

Sexual conflict

Social status (excluding the odd occasional spat, resolving social conflict with aggression is a sign of inadequate socialization with other dogs) 

Hunger

NOTE: Like humans, dogs can act aggressively in abnormal ways due to biochemical imbalances, various diseases, genetic defects, psychological and/or physical abuse, drugs or chemicals, and for reasons science cannot explain. Like their human counterparts, such abnormal dogs are rare but can be extremely dangerous. 

Important Concepts in Understanding Aggression

Dunbar's Fight/Bite Ratio:  How many fights has the dog been in?  How many times has he done damage that required veterinary attention (incidental punctures on ear/head/face do not count.)  A dog who has been in 3 fights and damaged other dogs every time is a more dangerous & difficult dog than a dog who has been in 30 fights and never damaged another dog.  The Fight/Bite ratio tells you a good deal about the dog's bite inhibition. 

Much of what we call aggression is actually behavior designed to avoid real conflict.  Warning looks, growls, snarls and even threatening snaps & charges are intended to warn.  A dog who intends to connect his teeth with another dog will do so unless something physically interferes with him (length of leash, barrier, etc.) 

Handler involvement is critical:  Without meaning to, handlers can contribute to aggressive behavior in any number of ways: tight leash, holding their breath/tensing muscles, punishing the dog for acting 'aggressively,' failing to recognize signs that the dog feels pressured, failing to set clear boundaries for behavior, failing to protect the dog from other rude dogs.  One clear sign that the handler's involvement is key is this: The dog is aggressive on leash, is fine in off leash situations. 

Need for clear assessment of the situation:  Where were the dogs relative to each other?  Where were the handlers and what were they doing?  Very often, a dog is tagged as aggressive when the incident occurred while the dog was quietly laying down or sitting and simply responded to another dog who climbed onto him or invaded his space.  This is very different from the dog who actively seeks out confrontation, and will move toward another dog in order to provoke conflict.  As with any training problem, the careful trainer takes the time to clearly assess the problem before deciding on a course of action. 

ALL DOGS are capable of aggressive behavior, regardless of breed:  The world's sweetest Labrador or Golden is still 100% canine, and fully capable of the entire behavioral spectrum, including snarls, growls, snap and bites. 

Aggression that occurs in the handler's vicinity is the handler's responsibility:  Regardless of whether the problem was provoked by another dog (in which case the handler needed to protect/defend his dog) or his dog was the provocateur, handlers need to be proactive in their management of their dogs, provide clear leadership, intervene as necessary, and set clear boundaries for their dog's behavior. 

Off leash socialization through early adulthood is the best prevention for aggression problems:  While many handlers utilize puppy kindergarten classes to help socialize their young dogs, it is the adolescent dogs who actually require more work.  Generally speaking, a puppy's only real goal in life is to play, and in doing so, learn how to be a dog.  Adolescent dog, like adolescent humans, have mastered those basic skills and now must employ them on a much more serious level: Who's in charge here?  What are the rules?  Where do I fit in?  Unfortunately, during the critical months of adolescents and young adulthood, many handlers no longer permit their dogs to socialize with other dogs off lead - a time when they most need this experience.




"Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Clothier. Used by permission of Suzanne Clothier. All rights reserved. For more information about Suzanne please visit SuzanneClothier.com"



Read More Training Tips from Suzanne Clothier:





Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wacky Wednesday!

Wednesday is the day to be WACKY! Each week we will showcase a terrierific cairn picture with an appropriate caption. If you have a terrierific cairn and would like us to consider YOUR picture and caption for an upcoming "Wacky Wednesday" send it to us at cpcrnblog@gmail.com! All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.

 A big shout out to Gonzo  for being our Wacky Wednesday model this week!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Blackberry is Berry Happy in Forever!

Written by Berry fka CP Blackberry

CP Blackberry nka Berry has his own floatie…


Well, Hello Col. Potter Friends!  It’s been a couple years now since my Foster Dad told me I had found a Forever Home.  You might remember me as CP Blackberry, the Cairn who ate the cell phone, but now I am just Berry, and I just have to say that I am Berry, Berry Happy! 


…or he can hitch a ride with Mom!


My new Mom and Dad fit me right into their family, and I love everyone, especially my older brother, Alex.   It’s summer here in Virginia and that means that Alex and I get to play in the pool!  I have my own “floatie” that I love, and I also love to fetch my ball in the pool!  I am an excellent swimmer, and I know how to get in and out of the pool – all by myself! 


Berry loves big brother Alex, also a rescued family member.
Berry and Alex consider jumping in after the ball.
Berry loves to ride in the boat!


I also love cruising on our family boat!  I love being part of a family that includes me on so many adventures, big and small.  I guess that’s what Love is all about!  Thank you Col. Potter, and Foster Dad, and everyone else for everything you did to bring so much Love into my life!


Berry likes to keep his eye on the ball!

Read my Intake Story here:

Read my 1st Post Adoption Report here:

Who knew that getting in a CP basket could lead to such adventures?!!




Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Sweets!

Sunday is full of SWEETS!  Each week we will showcase the sweeter side of Cairns. If you have a sweet filled Cairn and would like us to consider YOUR picture for an upcoming "Sunday Sweets!" send it to us at cpcrnblog@gmail.com! (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.)

Foster Clermont

Paul is Home!

Foster MacPerry

Rennie fka CP Bumby

Gem

Miri

Smokey

Mollie and Rosie

Kady Jo











Thursday, June 19, 2014

Understanding the Details Helps Us Train our Dogs

Seeing and understanding the importance of the details, CP Zander’s Mom was able to train him and turn his life around!

" Generally speaking, I don't care what position a dog is in until I also know the specifics of the body language."    Suzanne Clothier

Dog is in the Details

One trainer wrote:  “A dog who puts its feet on you, a dog who seems to like pinning you down in your chair with its head on your lap is not being affectionate but rather treating you like a member of the pack that can be pushed, stepped on, and held down.   Dr. Karen Overall warns that such signs should be read for what they are.  Dominance aggression in an overt form should come as no sudden surprise if this kind of behavior has been observed in the past." 

It is unfortunate that this sweeping condemnation of dogs seeking contact is fairly often heard.  What’s lacking here are the details, because details make a difference.  Not all nose nudges, head in lap, climbing on you, sleeping on your pillow, etc, means “dominance.”  But how do you know the difference?

This strikes me as yet another problem with "labels" - they do not accurately describe the nuances, context, interactions.   In my seminars, I pose this question:   "A woman is running towards you screaming - is this good or bad?"  Reflexively, many answer "Not good!" (especially the men, for some odd reason...).  I point out it's just your grandmother who is delighted that you've finally arrived for an overdue visit.

“A woman is running towards you screaming and she has a knife!  Is this good or bad?"  Again, the reflexive answer is "Bad!"  I point out it's the same grandmother who happened to be chopping vegetables for your favorite soup when she heard you had arrived and dashed from the kitchen with knife in hand. 

Generally speaking, I don't care what position a dog is in until I also know the specifics of the body language:


  • Orientation

  • Muscular tension

  • Body compressed or expanded?  Curving or straight?

  • Flexion of joints or no flexion?  Movement with the flexion??

  • Angle of head?  Angle of neck?

  • Rotation of ears?

  • Direction of glance?

  • Breathing rate?

  • Blink rate? 

  • Is the dog is moving and how it is moving (speed, rhythm, amplitude)? 

  • All these points, and many other bits of information, that taken together provide the meta-message of the full communication.


Each of these interact with the other signals to provide the total message, and a shift here or increase there or absence of or presence of all combine to create very specific information. 

I once had a mature German Shepherd perched on my head and shoulders.  Was he dominating me?  Hardly!  He had been knocked over by a wave at the beach, and in his panicked response to being knocked off his feet, he climbed the only available safe place: me.  Anyone observing the dog's body language would have known there was nothing aggressive or challenging in his behavior.

We all know this in our human/human interactions.   A simple bit of eye contact with someone can be inviting, challenging, flirting, warning, threatening, etc, etc, but it is hardly covered by the label of "he made eye contact with me."  Take a moment to think about the multitude of other signals that accompany just the act of making eye contact any of the conditions I've listed above.   Someone who was flirting with you would also be doing what?  Someone who was threatening you would be doing . . . what?

People often mis-read or misunderstand dog language, relying instead on a crude understanding of basic postures (the dog was leaning on me) and categorizing them as bad or okay without any sensitivity to the gorgeous complexities of how dogs convey, in precise detail, what they are trying to say.

Tell me the dog leaned on you, and tell me he did so with ears laid softly back, soft eyes, normal blink rate, normal breathing, little muscle tension, relaxed lips, curves in his body/head/neck, flexion (often active) of the joints and many other signals, and it's one thing (a good thing!).

Tell me the dog leans on you with a slow or absent blink rate, with muscle tension throughout, with altered breathing, no active flexion in his joints, etc, etc, and then I'll say it's something else altogether.  A dog could be plastered on top of you while you're lying on the floor and be absolutely 100% friendly and affectionate (ask me about my German Shepherd blankets!).  Or you could be in very big trouble.   But the gross posture is not the clue; the complete, detailed picture is what's important if you want to know what's going on with that dog. 

This is why I'm disturbed and puzzled by the scales used for determining aggression by so many top professionals & researchers. 

This from Dr. Karen Overall's aggression assessment form:
NR=no reaction; SL=snarl/lift lip; BG=bark/growl; SB=snap/bite

What I find incredible is that in the absence of a snarl/lip lift (the first level response noted), bark/growl or snap/bite, the dog is rated as not aggressive!  Perhaps not overtly to the average untrained eye, but I am dismayed that top researchers appear to be content with this rather coarse scale, instead of more accurately ranking the very specific behaviors that long precede a growl, snarl or snap.  Long before a snarl/lip lift or growl, a dog may stiffen, hold his breath, head/neck movements may cease, and cut his eyes towards the person.  Push past that clear warning, and yes, you'll probably encounter a snarl, growl, lip lift or worse.

Seems to me as trainers, we are people who deliberately journey into the territory known as Dog.  Unlike casual tourists, I feel we have an obligation to become fluent in the native language, lest we misunderstand and, without meaning to, respond inappropriately to those we seek to understand.  To become fluent requires that we never fail to see - really, truly, accurately see - the dog before us, in all his glorious detail and nuance.

They say God is in the details.   So is Dog.


"Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Clothier. Used by permission of Suzanne Clothier. All rights reserved. For more information about Suzanne please visit SuzanneClothier.com"

Read More Training Tips from Suzanne Clothier:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wacky Wednesday!

Wednesday is the day to be WACKY! Each week we will showcase a terrierific cairn picture with an appropriate caption. If you have a terrierific cairn and would like us to consider YOUR picture and caption for an upcoming "Wacky Wednesday" send it to us at cpcrnblog@gmail.com! All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.

 A big shout out to Gem and Abbie for being our Wacky Wednesday models this week!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday Sweets!

Sunday is full of SWEETS!  Each week we will showcase the sweeter side of Cairns. If you have a sweet filled Cairn and would like us to consider YOUR picture for an upcoming "Sunday Sweets!" send it to us at cpcrnblog@gmail.com! (All photo submissions become the property of CPCRN and may be used for fundraising, promotion and/or outreach purposes.)

Caruso

Dougie 10 Years Old!

Sadie Jo

Lucy O

Gem and Abbie

Fosters Smokey and Eddie Albert


Coswell

Cody

Foster Arrow

Luigi Earl aka WiiGii