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An Ethologist Reacts

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Cleo38, Oct 12, 2020.


  1. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Just watched this fascinating discussion with Roger Abrantes, Michael MacManus & Runar Ness.

    They discuss two videos, the first being a clip of a GR mother & her puppies that was doing the rounds on social media a while ago (it might have been discussed in here as well). The second is a wolf pack interaction that goes wrong at a zoo in Germany (I think).

    It's 52mins but I thought it was worth posting in case anyone here was interested, well worth it IMO

    https://ethology.eu/an-ethologist-r...iNZ6BFryv7GLfby-xyNKOQVBrT996K5g-w142lQKLzmoY
     
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  2. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    I'm still working my way through the video, thank you for sharing, it's an interesting discussion so far!
     
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  3. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    So far only watched the bit with the GR.

    I had seen the video several times on FB as it turns up regularly on the GR group I belong to. There are always a mix of comments from owners and breeders of GR’s. Some are shocked at the bitches behaviour others more phlegmatic.

    Personally I was a bit shocked as it seems so awful that she was treating her pups aggressively, but it’s well known that bitches get throughly fed up with their pups particularly if it’s a large litter. I noticed that the puppies were very respectful after they had been told off and not scared to death, all the bitch had to do was stiffen slightly and the puppy would stop, lie down and look somewhere else. It does though seem very dramatic to see such a kind and friendly dog as a golden behaving in this way and I’m still a bit in two minds over exactly what I think

    When I went to pick Isla up at 8 weeks she was in with most of the adult dogs that the breeder had, not with the rest of the puppies. It had been very hot that summer and the puppies had in an outside run which they much preferred to be in rather then indoors. So the breeder would bring indoors for 24 hours the next puppy to leave. When we arrived Isla was wandering around the legs of all the adults, weaving in between them and leaving them alone. I noticed a small interaction between Isla and her mother. Her mother picked up a toy which Isla had just left after having a chew, Isla noticed this and went over to reclaim it. As she approached her mother, who was lying with the toy between her front paws in a tempting manner, went very still and stared at Isla. Isla stopped in her tracks, ears and tail went down and she carefully skirted round her mother and went quietly away. I thought this was a little lesson that Isla learned, something easily missed but not by Isla.
    I‘ve noticed over the years that Isla is good at reading an approaching dog and behaves accordingly, It looks like she did have a mother who was good at teaching her puppies some manners.
     
  4. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    I have no experience of breeding, puppies interacting with their mother/siblings, etc so initially I remember being quite surprised when I saw the video. But on watching it again although it might appear quite severe to me the puppies do not appear scared or worried, instead they quieten down, don't mob her & are more respectful which is probably what she wanted.

    When I initially went to see Archer his mum was just going back in with the pups after having some time on her own. Although she didn't make any noise towards them all the puppies hung back & waited until she settled & I remarked at the time how well behaved. they were. After chatting I was told that although she was a good mother she was very strict with them when they were older & didn't put up with them leaping all over her.

    Interesting to think that when Archer came home to live with me & my older dogs although he was typical mischievous, cheeky puppy he was very respectful of them & didn't jump all over them or bug them (not that I would have allowed it tbh). It seems that Roxy took over the strong bitch role & although she obviously was fascinated by him (something that took me by surprise) again she didn't take any sh*t from him & only had to look at him & he would calm down (same as now!). From what I know all the puppies from the litter were similar when going to homes with other dogs.

    Interesting to hear that this type of behaviour is common in all sorts of dogs
     
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  5. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    When I was growing up my parents used to breed working JR's and I would not be happy if our bitches ever acted that stressed, but then all our bitches had a chance to leave the pups if needed, the bitches were never shut behind a gate with the pups.

    I watched the clip without sound, and whilst the bitch isn't escalating the snarl, she isn't happy either.
    I would want to see how she acts when given an escape route.

    Still working my way through the video, I'm interested in others thoughts for sure :)
     
  6. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Yes, although she never goes back to the gate looking for a way out. As discussed this behaviour has also been seen with street dogs that have ample opportunity to leave & with other domestic dogs.

    It's just so interesting & as I said I haven't ever bred any animals (nor do I intend to) but there is such difference of opinions between those who do so I find it fascinating. I just wanted to read opinions of others here as well :)

    And the wolf video .... :eek::(
     
    #6 Cleo38, Oct 13, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
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  7. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
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    Just finished watching it.

    My initial reaction was one of "poor puppies!" But then I looked at the size of the puppies and thought, "they look like they're closer to 8 weeks than new born, so I wonder if she's starting to wean them.". And so noticed that the panel mentioned that too.

    As for the wolf video. "Let's take dog treats into a wolf enclosure and give a wild animal a butt scratch. What's the worst that could happen?" . . :Banghead
     
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  8. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Finally made it through the discussion on the golden, paused at the initial wolf video (had the same reaction as @LinznMilly - major eyeroll).

    I remember seeing the golden mom video a while back and I remember thinking that poor mum!
    Once you take the emotion out of it and just observe, it's clearly an appropriate correction, the pups are fine.

    For me it's hard to separate the context of a seasoned mom dealing with her own pups, and what I would do bringing a puppy home to our resident dog. I'm watching the mom and pup video thinking in terms of what I would do with my own dogs. I don't mind the correction, but the prolonged part is where I would step in and help the adult dog. Obviously with dam and pups me stepping in would be unnecessary and potentially confuse the whole thing, but with single pup and unrelated adult dog, totally different scenario.

    Last night I managed to catch a good video of Bates correcting Penny. If you turn the sound on, it's very similar to golden mom roaring at her pups.
    It's totally appropriate though, Penny is obviously not horrified by it, but it does settle her even if just for a second. Bates has done this to countless puppies, he's excellent with puppies, very tolerant, but he will correct as needed. And considering how the pups he has helped me raise turned out, he knows what he's doing.


    This was shortly after the correction, notice he looks at me right at the end, and the video ends because I do step in and help calm Penny down with slow pets. I don't separate them, just help Penny understand it's relax time.


    Okay, going to watch the wolf discussion this afternoon :)
     
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  9. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    This!!! I think at times we are too emotional in our assumptions (I know I am at times). As I said when I first watched the GR clip I was quite shocked but then read more & re-watched it several times trying not to let my initial assumption cloud my judgement. I think behaviour is so very complex that it's never easy to dissect. With the GR mum she was very obvious to the pups (& also to us) in her body language so the pups understood, confusion comes for us humans (IMO) when we fail to notice subtle changes so assume everything is ok. How many times do we read of dog suddenly snapping' for no reason'?

    When I think back to when I initially got Roxy & her behaviour/body language there were never any obvious signs to me of her going to bite (other dogs but she did snap at a couple of people as well). It was only when I learnt to watch her & really see her there were many signs; stiffening of her body, ears flicking, tail very low & swaying then very still the moment before she lunged) .... those signs were far more worrying than an obvious growl or snarl (which she never did).

    Nice video of Bates as well, lots of noise but no real worry is there? Be really interested in hearing people's comments of the wolf video :)
     
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  10. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    And her 5th litter according to what they said.
     
  11. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Yep! It never ceases to amaze me just how stupid some people are. But the keeper was so concerned with chatting that she failed to spot the man feeding the wolf & then missed the sign of the other wolf realising what he was missing out on. So many triggers here & lack of judgement. I obviously have no experience of wolves or working with them but surely any captive animal is going to be more a risk so standing round having a chat is just not sensible behaviour ... poor wolves :(
     
    #11 Cleo38, Oct 14, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
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  12. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Finally finished! Great talk, thanks for sharing!

    The wolf part was fascinating and I was mostly stuck by how different wolves and dogs are - not just in behavior, but in how they relate to humans. A good reminder that even the correct information we know about wolves doesn't always translate well in to our relationships with domestic dogs.
    Though one part I did relate to with my domestic dogs was the bit about possession. How even a dominant wolf will yawn and lick and show they're not interested. Makes me think about all the stuff humans do around dogs and how much we break those social norms about possession yet most dogs end up handing it despite our incompetence.

    I also found the part about Alien vs Mate really interesting and how wolves don't want to hurt pack members.

    Oh, and I meant to add to Bates' correction, that was actually one of Bates' quieter corrections. He can get really loud and rumbly about it.
    I think I've told the story before of coming in to the training building after a puppy class was leaving. One owner let her puppy launch himself on to Bates' face and attach to it like an octopus. I looked at the owner assuming she was going to do something (stupid of me, I know), and she didn't, so Bates did. He roared at the puppy who took off kai-yai-ing and peeing himself. No teeth, no contact at all really, just a giant roar. The owner was horrified, said something about how could an obedience dog behave like that, so aggressive. The trainer and I tried to explain that it was totally appropriate, that's a normal pup reaction, and maybe don't let him octopus himself on to random dogs. Nope, my dog was a monster.

    I'm all for dog friendly training and the power of R+ but I think we do dogs a disservice by assuming they can't handle a little stress, an appropriate correction - particularly from a stable dog.
    The other side of that though is how easy it is to paint yourself in to a corner where all you have left is a confrontation like the zookeeper in the wolf situation. Too many of those and you ruin the relationship entirely.
    So much better to manage the situation and avoid the confrontation to begin with.
     
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  13. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    So many interesting observations & information ... I found it fascinating but also wanted to ask more questions! I hope they do some more of these as I really enjoyed it.

    I definitely agree with your point regarding our emotions in regards to animals, something that was touched upon in the discussion. I was thinking about this the other day when in with my chickens. It is also so interesting when I get new girls (usually ex-battery hens), watching them become 'normal' chickens; being able to scratch & peck around, feel the sun on them, interact with the others (at times not nice!), meet Dandy (the cockerel) ..... I watch them for ages some days.

    But much as it's a lovely thing to be able to offer hens that were previously in horrible conditions a nice home it's not a Disney story, they don't all become allies & get on, sometimes establishing a pecking order is brutal. Obviously I will intervene if a hen is becoming injured but it is so difficult to stand back & let them get on with it due to my emotional response.

    I was in with them the other day, digging up worms for them. The most dominant hens were right next to me, climbing all over me trying to get the best worms & the lower ranking ones held back. Obviously I feel sorry for them so tried to make sure I was also chucking them the odd worm as I felt they were missing out. This didn't sit well with the more dominant ones & resulted in them attacking the lower ones. I suddenly realised what I was doing & despite my own feelings I was not respecting the hierarchy so despite my good intentions may have created more stress for the lower ranking hens instead of helping them out. It was very difficult for me to stand back tbh

    And yes I also agree with stress, again it's something that is part of life & although should always be acknowledged I don't think it 'bad' for a dog to experience either in training or with another dog. Again, it's part of being a skilled trainer to build up tolerance & know when & where to either help out or let the dog problem solve ....

    I think that's why I find bitework in dog sports fascinating as again it's another normal behaviour that can be manipulated, controlled, encouraged, letting the dog then control a situation, etc (when done carefully & considerately by people who now what they are doing obviously!). I love the way that the dogs can switch from a prey drive behaviour to aggression by someone who is very skilled, & get to utilise emotions/behaviours that are not usually seen as 'desirable' by owners.
     
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  14. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    That's a great example about your hens and respecting the hierarchy - as chickens are much more linear in those relationships than dogs are aren't they?

    I battle all the time with wanting to step in and 'help' even in parenting, and you have to learn that our role as leaders (how's that for a can of worms) is not to manage the hardship for them, but to support them as they navigate the hardship themselves.
    Like with Penny and things she spooks at, I don't make the scary thing go away, but I do encourage her to investigate the scary thing and figure out for herself that it's not that scary. I'm here for you, but you have to do the work. It's *so* hard to do sometimes!
     
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  15. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Definitely! I am so guilty of trying to 'help' & with training I have to remember to be more mindful; watch my dog & let her/him work it out but be ready to give the right guidance when needed. This is why I find tracking & other nosework actvities so interesting to watch especially as each dog will have it's own style.

    With Archer it was interesting to see him fit in with everyone. Talking to people at my IGP club some people have had such issues with dogs (especially males) challenging the resident dog but Archer has never been like that, he took corrections from both Toby & Roxy with no problems so seemed to accept this was how things were instantly. Maybe I was lucky, maybe his strict mother helped & maybe having Roxy helped keep things in order
     
    #15 Cleo38, Oct 16, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
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  16. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    I seriously don't know how to raise a puppy without an adult dog in the house! I've never done it LOL.
    And I do think a good bitch with a young male pup is worth her weight in gold ;)
     
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