Tag: GSD

Picking a bone with Cleo!

A cautionary tale for all dog owners.

Among our group of nine dogs we have two German Shepherds.  Dear old fellow Pharaoh and his much younger female playmate Cleo.

First meeting between Pharaoh and Cleo; April 7th, 2012.
First meeting between Pharaoh and Cleo; April 7th, 2012.

Cleo was born in January, 2012 and came to us in early April that same year.  From the start, Cleo has been a warm, loving and friendly dog.

For a long time, Jean has treated our dogs by giving them sawn sections, about 3/4 in thick, of beef leg bones.  They love gnawing on the bone and the marrow at the centre is very good for dogs.

Thus it was on Saturday that all the dogs were enjoying their treat.

I was working outside the house and Jean and the dogs were inside.

All of a sudden Jean was calling to me, clearly stressed out, to come into the house straightaway.

I went in and found that Cleo had jammed her lower jaw through her piece of bone and that it was stuck hard behind her lower canines. Jean and I led Cleo outside so she was clear of all the other dogs.

We quickly discovered that once Cleo’s jaw was trapped in the bone, it had started rubbing against her gums, quickly creating a painful area.  This made it very difficult to hold Cleo still, prise her jaw apart to try and gently remove the offending bone.  The more we tried, the more agitated became Cleo.

In the end, I went inside the house to telephone a close neighbour who is also a veterinary doctor at the clinic in town where we take our dogs.  Jim G. dropped everything and promised to be over in a few minutes.

As it happened, when I returned outside Jean had managed, somehow, to remove the trapped bone. I called Jim back immediately but he was already at our front gate and suggested he just take a quick look at Cleo

Here is the piece of bone after it was removed from Cleo’s jaw.

Smaller hole is about 1 & 5/8 in (4 cms) diameter.

Innocent mistake but, nevertheless, seemed like one that should be promulgated in this place just to make other dog owners aware of this tiny risk.

Cleo cautiously eying both me and the bone.
Cleo cautiously eying both me and the bone.

So you all take care out there!

And thank you Jim for being so responsive on what was your week-end afternoon at home.

Happy Birthday dear blog!

Learning from Dogs is three years old this day.

Ironically, we are away this day but here are the ‘stats’ from yesterday, the 14th:

594,721 individual viewings

449 subscribers

An average of 1,300 readers a day (and still growing!)

3,705 comments in this period

Nearly 1,372 posts since the start

It seems a rather trite thing to say but, trust me, this is said from the bottom of my heart.  All of you who come to Learning from Dogs, whether just a couple of times or most days, have made this a wonderfully creative three years for me.


And now here’s a republication of that very first post back on July 15th, 2009.

Parenting lessons from Dogs

Much too late to make me realise the inadequacies of my own parenting skills, I learnt an important lesson when training my GSD (who is called Pharaoh, by the way).  That is that putting more emphasis into praise and reward for getting it right ‘trains’ the dog much quicker than telling it off.  The classic example is scolding a dog for running off when it should be lots of hugs and praise for returning home.  The scolding simply teaches the dog that returning home isn’t pleasant whereas praise reinforces that home is the place to be.  Like so many things in life, very obvious once understood!

Absolutely certain that it works with youngsters just the same way.

Despite being a very dominant dog, Pharaoh showed his teaching ability when working with other dogs.  In the UK there is an amazing woman, Angela Stockdale, who has proved that dogs (and horses) learn most effectively when being taught by other dogs (and horses).  Pharaoh was revealed to be a Beta Dog, (i.e. second in status below the Alpha Dog) and, therefore, was able to use his natural pack instinct to teach puppy dogs their social skills and to break up squabbles within a pack.

When you think about it, don’t kids learn much more (often to our chagrin!) from other kids than they do from their parents.  Still focusing on giving more praise than punishment seems like a much more effective strategy.

As was read somewhere, Catch them in the act of doing Right!

By Paul Handover.