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  1. Trust me, we tried. Food, praise, everything. Our approach in the past was to get him to come up one step to get a food reward. However, prior to this weekend, his back feet never left the ground. The problem was that he was clearly very stressed when were trying to do this (he'd start trembling, crying and whining) so we decided it just wasn't worth putting him through the stress and stopped. He just decided that he was going to go up for some reason.
  2. Funny what we can learn from our dogs. This past weekend, my wife and I both learned some valuable life lessons from Travis. When we bought the cottage, the stairs to 2nd level were really more of a ladder than stairs, and so the upstairs went unused. Even for us, it was tricky to get down in the middle of the night. The dogs absolutely refused to go up and down. Therefore, one of the first things I did was to tear down the old stairs and build a new set of stairs at a more relaxed angle. Its still steeper than code, but much more tolerable. The dogs also found this acceptable and immediately started going upstairs to sleep with us, except for Travis. Travis would just sit at the bottom and stare forlornly up the stairs, and finally shuffle off to the bathtub to spend the night alone. We had tried to coax him to go up the stairs, but he was terrified. Just picking him up and putting him on the bottom step would cause him to start trembling and panicking. He was just petrified. This was the status quo for the last two years. Then, a couple weekends ago, Travis just sat at the bottom of the stairs crying. After 20 minutes of trying to sleep and of listening to him cry and claw at the stairs, I got fed up, went downstairs, picked him up, and carried him upstairs. For the first time, he saw the upstairs and was able to sleep with the rest of the family. But, 120 lbs terrified GSD + steep stairs = something you only do once. I was not about to try that again. So this past weekend, on Friday night, when he started whining and trying to get upstairs, my wife and I decided to just leave him. He’ll tire himself out and go to sleep. We both slept quite fitfully. All through the night, we kept getting woken up by the sounds of him trying to climb the stairs, crying and whining. Finally, at 5:30 am I hear the click-click-clicking of a dog walking into the room, but otherwise silence. I crack open an eye and there in the room stands Travis, proud as can be. For 6 hours he fought those stairs! 6 hours of struggling, of jumping off, getting back on. 6 hours of facing what I can only imagine was one of his worst fears, in the dark, on his own. I wake my wife up, who stares at Travis in disbelief. After much hugs and kisses, all 6 of us found a spot on the mattress and slept. Saturday night, within 5 minutes he was upstairs sleeping soundly. I feel so proud, yet somehow humbled and more than a little awed; like I witnessed something profound. A life lesson from a dog… “One step at a time.”
  3. Seriously though, good job on trying to stop this from happening again.
  4. I think Doberfanatic has some handcuff's you can borrow. :)
  5. I was thinking that all of us mixed breed dog owners should make up fancy names for our mutts so we could feel all important too. "Yeah, this is a purebreed Beagalab. Very rare. Can you believe I got him at the local shelter? Gets along great with my Labrashepherd."
  6. Its an interesting question, and I guess it depends on what you mean by sense of humor. My dogs do stuff that make me laugh all the time, but I don't think they are always doing it because they think its funny. Alot of times they are just being goofs; they aren't consciously thinking "Man, this is funny! This should get a good laugh". I do think, however, that dogs find certain things humorous which will elicit a " doggy-smile". Someone who doesn't know dogs would likely confuse a "smile" for panting, but they are different. With my boys, anyways, I can tell the difference between "I'm hot" and "I'm happy". The funniest thing is the "Ha!", or getting "Ha'd" as we call it. It frequently seems that our dogs, especially Travis, will "Ha" in response to something we've just said or done. I was a bit skeptical at first, but it just happens so much. We'll say something or do something silly and Travis will just look at us and "Ha!".
  7. An interesting URL on the subject. [url]http://www.resteddoginn.ca/laugh.php[/url]
  8. My 4 dogs are horrible for that!!! They react to two things - the TV and my notebook. We have a projection TV so it makes a very audible click when you turn it off. The notebook is just the lid clicking shut. The *instant* they hear that click, they all jump up, run to the door, and start crying. [quote name='Kelly'] What they do react to is the sound of me pushing the button to turn the laptop off. Its really is hilarious tho, because they will both be sound asleep [or look so anyway] and I'll be sitting on the bed. As soon as they hear the little click of that button they both bounce up and run to the door, knowing we are going outside. Its especially funny when I only have to restart the computer- because they both jump up, run to the door, and give me a look like "umm Mom were're susposed to go now.. hurry up, etc"[/quote]
  9. As I posted earlier, Zeke responds to "Who let the dogs out" song when played on the TV - happened again this weekend during the hockey game. Dogs barking on TV can get them all barking. Riley and Zeke often respond to the sound of baby's crying - they come right up to the tv and cock their heads. They even sometimes leave nose smudges on the screen. Riley and Zeke have also responded to visual stuff. We were watching some flyball a few weeks ago and Riley was more or less in a trance.
  10. Yeah, the boys get all excited when the see the cooler and the backpacks because its means cottage-time! Its pretty funny to watch.
  11. Lol "Girls gone wil...uhh, exoti...uhh undomesticated" [quote name='rotten_two']and here i thought 'exotic' referred to dancing men in leopard print thongs and 'wild' was more like guys you find at a frat party! geez i really should expand my vocabulary :oops:[/quote]
  12. I think you are confusing instinct with learned skills/knowledge. An animal will not lose its "wild" instinct, acquired over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, within a single generation. We still see in domesticated cats and dogs several residual instincts. What will be lacking in a human raised animal is the "education" that biological parent would give said animal. In the case of big cats, there is a significant amount of teaching that is done by the mother to the cub(s). In your example, the cheetas still had the wild instinct to hunt, they just didn't know any better with regards to their selected prey because nobody showed them. [quote name='Millie']Their "wild" instincts have changed, they would not be able to survive in the wild because they are now dependent upon humans for survival. Did you recently see the cheetah story on Animal Planet? Where two cheetah cubs, were raised by a human and the human released them into the wild. The one cheetah brother, did not know any better that Lions kill cheetahs, so he tormented the lions, until one male lion killed him. They also went after bigger game then the "wild" cheetah would naturally. Their instincts of being wild were almost gone. So you can not take a lion, tiger, cheetah, etc, that was bred domestically and return them to the wild, thinkig they are going to survive. Scientists, Rehabbers, Zoologists, have proven this as a fact and not fiction. [/quote]
  13. My only comment regarding the fact that wild/exotic (i.e.: non-domesticated) animals being perfectly happy in captivity would be to point out the fact that many zoo animals engage in repetitive, obsessive behaviour (also known as stereotypic) such as pacing, rocking, feather-plucking, etc. This is very common in captive bears, elephants, big cats. One study found that zoo lions spend half their waking hours pacing. Even smaller mammals such as racoons exhibit these behaviours. These behaviours do not exist in the wild and most experts think it is a reaction to stress and/or boredom. With regards to the argument that captive born animals, having never known the wild, cannot possibly spend their days daydreaming of running free in the bush, I fully agree. An elephant born in captivity simply cannot know of the lush jungles of Thailand, or the plains of Africa. It does not mean, however, that said elephant doesn't feel boredom, stress and anxiety from being kept in an enclosure that is a million times smaller that its natural habitat. The elephant may not know *why* it is feeling bored and anxious, but it doesn't prevent it from feeling those emotions. This is hardwired into the animal. One can lock a child in a windowless room for its entire life, slipping it food and water under the door. The child will know nothing of the outside world, but it will not prevent the child from being miserable.
  14. A little background to this story... During the day while we're at work, we keep the dogs in a 10 x 10 run in the basement. Its basically an chainlink outdoor run set up inside. Whoever get home first lets them out. When I get home first, I liked to get them all riled up by singing very loudly (and badly) "Who let the dogs out!?!? Who!? Who?! Who?! Who let the dogs out!?!?" This gets them all hyper-excited, especially Zeke who starts howling and yipping and making all sorts of high pitched noises. Its really cute. Anyhow, last Friday we're at the cottage watching South Park (Turd Sandwich vs. Giant Douche episode) when during the show they play about 15-20 seconds of "Who let the dogs out?!". Zeke, who was half asleep, suddenly jumps up, starts howling and yipping and runs over to me acting all sucky. I turn to my wife and say "You think he recognizes the song?". He'd never heard before aside from my lame rendition. "We'll do an experiment tomorrow" I say. So, on Saturday, I fire up the notebook and download a short clip of "Who let the dogs out" but don't play it yet. I first play 5 other songs, watching Zeke for a reaction - nothing. Doesn't even bat an eye. Then I play the clip. By the word "the" in the first line "Who let the dogs out", Zeke has jumped up, come running to me crying and whining. I kept letting the clip play and he got so agited he tried to climb into my lap. Then we tried a different tack and I sang a few refrains from some favorite songs - no reaction. "Who let the dogs out?!?" Zeke flips out again. I was just amazed. He actually recognizes the song. I'm not sure what goes through his head when he hears it, but he acts the same way he does when I'm actually letting them out. Just thought it was neat.
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