Is there a human inside?

23 10 2009

The temperature in Denmark is dropping.
It’s autumn now, the leaves are turning into yellow-brownish and the days are short.

We can no longer let the door be open all day, it’s too cold.
Yesterday Pandora barked for the first time because she wanted to go out and pee. Great!

Our two cats are now coming into the house again although Pandora is there. She still chases Shiva the female cat occasionally, but the other cat Odin has figured out that if he lies still (superciliously on the dinner chair) Pandora simply do not know what to do with him so she leaves him alone.

Dominant brute
These days I am studying a lot of wolf background to get to know my dog better. I see the ‘light’ over and over again as the books describe the almost exact way I have trained my dogs so far. Not being a dominant brute seems to be the main keywords which suits me fine as it was never my style.
I have always trained my dogs by playing with them. I feared in the beginning that Pandora would need a tougher way of training, but it’s not the case. All the things the ‘old psychology’ dictated to show your domination, turns out to be rubbish. Such as:
Eat before your dog – well we don’t and we never did. It makes no sense anyway.
Make forbidden areas/furniture in the house – Pandora can be where she wishes to be except on the tables. Just like any other ‘animal’ in the family.
Walk through the door before your dog – Why? I couldn’t wrap my mind around that and remember it even if my life depended on it.

And I could go on. In my life with animals mutual respect has always been the issue. I don’t do things TO my dog I do things TOGETHER WITH my dog. To get her respect I have to be exciting and inspirational, just as other people have to be exciting and inspirational to get my attention. It’s quite logical.

The ‘difficulties’ with Pandora is her individuality. She’s not stupid but she can ignore things totally if she’s on to something else. Certain things are easy to teach her, other things seams to be so not interesting that she plays deaf. But with ‘tricks and treats’ I can lure her into the game.
I would never ever punish her physically and I discovered that starring into her eyes is enough punishment.
Another important thing is the way we socialized her from day one. She has met more than 30 dogs she could ‘talk’ to and she has at least 3 regular play pals. She has also been socialized with as many people as possible, and she meets other people every day and has at least 10 people who’s not afraid of her and can handle her – also playing a little roughly.

The human in the dog
Let me point this out: THERE IS NONE!
As mammals we have similar behaviour in many ways. This gives us a good base for understanding each other. But we have different bodies and therefore different body languages and visual appearance. Showing my teeth means smiling, when the dog shows its teeth it’s almost never a ‘smile’ etc.

Your dog never gets in the ‘assertive age’ or does things to provoke you; your dog is maturing and trying to stand on its own four feet just as any other teenager.
(See the sub site: Chronological Stages)

Your dog doesn’t need cakes, ice cream, chocolate, candy or any of those things it would never find in nature.
Confession: My old dog loved pizza, but Pandora has never tasted it and she never will.

A dog has fur!
Which is smart, it’ll make the dog resist cold wind, snow and rain. Your dog DOES NOT NEED clothes!
(Except for few breeds that needs a little help in the winter). Your dog DOES NOT see itself as cute in at pink pyjamas or a laced skirt.

Your dog doesn’t need to be carried around in a bag. It has four super designed legs to walk on. Let it!

Conclusion: There is just as much human in a dog as there is dog in a human. We are individual beings, behaving differently. Respect that!

We’re all in a box
A funny thing about humans is that we are just as predictable as any dog or breed.
Looking at which people chooses which dog breeds, tells us a lot of things.
It seams like those who chooses the ‘natural’-looking dogs (with long snouts, upright ears and long tales) almost never buy pink collars with rhinestones, fluffy footwear or velvet leaches to their dog.
On the other hand a lot of moloss owners buy a huge leather collar with spikes, call their dog Tyson and cut their bleached hair short. It’s really funny. Just go to dog exhibitions and see for yourself.

This was a bit different blog and I might have offended some people with my opinions, but I’ve seen so many pictures of dogs dressed up to amuse people and it disgusts me. Sorry.


Pandora watching washing machine

Pandora watching washing machine

Pandora watching a stuffed wild boar

Pandora watching a stuffed wild boar

Pandora hiding – tired of people!

Pandora hiding – tired of people!

Pandora in Jutland

21 10 2009

Facts: as last time

Clever girl
She is now much better at coming when she is called. Every time I call and she comes I give her a treat and/or much gratitude.

She now sits, lays down and walks by my side when told to.

A short note on BARFing
We are now BARFing (eating raw meet) or she is I should say. (See more about BARFing elsewhere at this page). It has become her well.

Holiday in Jut-land
As many will know we have a huge LEGOLAND in Billund Denmark. Me and my boyfriend and two other went there in week 42 to do a fireshow every evening that week. And of course Pandora went with us. It gave us a lot of time together. Some days I laid a track for her, and she does that very well now. The last track was 60 meters long and pretty difficult. Crossing a small street, through leaves and long grass.

When we went to do the show she slept for 40 minutes in the car. It all went very well until the second last day when she almost tore the entire car apart. She tore down the ceiling and bit in the sun screen. Luckily we are going to have a new (used) car in the spring.

Pandora in LEGOLAND
Pandora in LEGOLAND

Since then she’s been in the car alone as we were doing some shopping. No problem. I guess she got bored and perhaps she was freezing a little.

We also had a wonderful trip to a forest near the Gudenå (the longest stream in Denmark) and she enjoyed herself for an hour, sniffing, digging and chasing shadows.

A tired Czech is a happy Czech they say. So she must have been very happy.

Meeting friends
Sunday we went to a dog exhibition and met Rolf with his two Czechoslovakian wolfdogs. That was a very nice experience.

Not alone were these dogs amazingly beautiful but they also obeyed Rolf’s commands which gave me the hope that somewhere inside of Pandora there is a dog of good material 🙂
(Not that I ever doubted that).

Pandora watched the two males fight and play and several times she ran away with her tale between her legs in sheer fright of the sight of these two giant dogs growling and barking. But in the end she was also curious and couldn’t resist coming closer and join them.
The younger male (18 month old) Xtreme was the one she was less afraid of. He also invited her to play. She obvious liked him but it was like she had a secret admiring for Uno the older dog (4 years old). His ‘coolness’ made her watch him on a distance but she hardly ever went close to him. He was too unreachable. And no doubt: All the time she was the small one and Xtreme had much fun telling her, it seamed. Finally he had someone he could bully.

A hundred dogs
The played on the lawn for a good half an hour or more and then we were invited into the exhibition indoor. In LEGOLAND Pandora had done what she could trying to pull my arm off every time she met another dog. At the exhibition there were more than hundred dogs so I guess she realized that she couldn’t overcome to be ‘best friend’ with each and every one of them. The result was a calm dog laying on the floor next to Xtreme and Uno. And she was worn out. All that playing and fright took her last energy away.

It was a great day. Rolf took some great photos of the three dogs and later that day he won second place as Best Dog In Show with Xtreme. Well deserved, though he deserved no. 1 of course – but I guess everybody think that about their breed.

It was also nice to meet a person who loved and cared about his dogs so I didn’t feel stupid or too geeky talking about the love of my life all the time 😀

Pandora playing with Uno & Xtreme
Pandora playing with Uno & Xtreme

Pandora in an exhibition
We have now decided to go to the next exhibition with Pandora in November. I’m just curious to see what the judge think of her, as we – of course – think she is gorgeous. She’ll go as a puppy in the show and that’s fine as I have never done an exhibition before and I might very well be the one that screw things up.

Back home and missing someone
We went back to our own home Sunday night with a tremendously tired dog. Holiday was over – back to normal.

Monday Pandora was left alone again for 3 hours before she was picked up by my parents. She was a little sad as we left the house

in the morning, but already Tuesday she had accepted the situation just fine.

The weird part was that even though she had her playmate during Monday she seamed a little sad and apathetic Monday evening. I could swear that she missed Xtreme and Uno.

I am certain that she understood that they were of her own kind and she understood their body language so well.

I hope we meet the three guys again so we can all enjoy some time with them.

Stars rising
Talking about her ‘stars’ she has only earned stars these last few days. She has been so clever, sweet and cute.

It’s like she sometimes have days where she suffers form severe brain damage and then she turns and becomes quite fantastic. And for every time she comes back to ‘normal’ she is becoming even better.

There must be a lot of hormones racing in her body right now and there will be for a long time ahead, but it’s all right. She’s a darling and after 9 days together with her 24 hours a day I miss her like crazy when I go to work.

Sometimes I even feel a little sad that I come home to a tired dog when I would love to take her for an exploring walk, but she is young and we mustn’t wear her down. Weekends are when we have fun and quality time.

Pandora in Strib by Rolf Larsen

Pandora in Strib by Rolf Larsen

Short update

20 10 2009

Pandora facts: 58 cm tall and weights 20 kg

New banner:
I have change the banner a little, mainly because Pandora herself is now a part of it in the right side.

New sub page:
In the top of this site you can now find a sub page about BARFing. We started BARFing 10 days ago and not to let it take over the entire blog I have made the sub page dedicated to BARFing.

Portrait picture
Pandora met two other Czechoslovakian wolfdogs two days ago and thanks to their owner Rolf Larsen I got these wonderful pictures. Here’s one of them.
More about the meeting in the next blog.


Pandora by Rolf Larsen

Sleeping beauty and the track

14 10 2009

(This blog is written a week ago and a lot have happened since. Next blog will be about BARFing)

Facts: As last time
We love mornings
Waking up with a sleepy dog. Mostly she’s lying in the foot end of my bed. Lazy, small eyes, yawning. Everything stupid she did yesterday is forgiven. The night takes the badness away. She is gorgeous.
And now, as we leave her in the morning, there’s no panic. Actually this morning she would hardly get out of bed.

Ten days ago I laid a track for her. All made up be shrimps and salmon.
(Before we started at all, Pandora tried to wear her track harness half an hour or so, to get comfortable with it so it wouldn’t distract her on the track.
Careful if there is a lot of wind the track will actually blow sideways (or wherever the wind comes from)
Leave it for at least 15-20 minutes the first time to make the grass leave some smells as it starts to putrescent. When the dog gets older and hard core to do tracking a track can be several hours old, even days.
Don’t EVER punish your dog, don’t shout, don’t do ANYTHING negative as the dog follows the track. You can ruin months of work, or even destroy the dogs ability to walk a track ever again!

Without the dog

The track was app. 10 meters (30 feet) long.
 I use wooden Chinese chopsticks to mark my track (natural smell, no bright colours) which is important so I can guide the dog in the EXACT direction in the beginning.
 At this first track, I took very small steps so that one footstep would touch the next. I did it at a lawn with well grown green grass. No obstacles were distracting (such as dead birds or more exciting obstacles – whatever would be more interesting than salmon?). For every 5-6 steps I put shrimps or salmon on the ground. As I know that she is very good at using her nose, I bend the track just a little. When I left the track, I made sure not to cross it again.

With the dog

After 15 minutes or so I returned to the track with Pandora wearing her track harness.
I showed her the beginning of the track and just few centimetres in I had left the first piece of goodie. Now she kind of understood that here was something exciting.  All the time, I showed her with my hand near the grass saying: seek, seeeeek in a soft tone, but animating.
 At this first track I almost showed her every bite I had put on the grass. She was a little unconcentrated, but then again she had no idea of what was expected from her. She ran around, and crossed her own track a couple of times.
The last few metres she started to react as she had understood the deal, but then the track ended. 
At the end of the track, a little more salmon was waiting, and she had millions of praises. Good dog, so clever, beautiful …

Track no 2

Yesterday I laid a new track. 15 metres long. Salmon and raw beef. Again marking every 1-2 meter with a wooden chopstick.
First she was a little confused again, then it was like she remembered! Ouh, meet!
And then she did an almost perfect track. Finding every bite on the ground. Of course she ran around herself a few times, but she didn’t miss a bite, she walked the exact perfect direction (and for every finding  I ‘clicked’ the clicker). A the end of the track a huge bite of salmon was put, but she didn’t want to end the track, so she follow my footsteps for several metres where I had walked as I left the track.
All the way home we walk in the side of the street and she couldn’t stop sniffing in the grass. It was like she suddenly had an urge to use her best ability. Sniffing. Using the nose.

The rest of the evening she was relaxed and calm. I had a walk with her later and she walk perfectly in the leach.
Right by my side, and sitting everytime we stopped to cross the street.
 It was obvious that the stimulating track gave her something important, and that it kind of took the stress out of her.
From now on I’ll lay tracks for her often.
The next 10 days we’ll be away from home together with her, so there’ll be lots of time to play, lay tracks and so. I’m really looking foreward to that.

Worries and food
I have made a discition to change Pandoras food as soon as we get home form our holyday.
 Right now she is getting dry food. Expensive, with the right amount of protein and stuff, but she drinks so much water and she pees indoor. Last night and the night before, she peed indoor 5 times – in the evening!
 That’s crazy. That’s too much. I’m afraid that she’s getting ill and loose too much weight.
I’ll look a little more into BARF (raw meet). It kind of appeals to me because she’s ‘half’ wolf. More about that next time.

A tired dog

A tired dog

Total Recall

6 10 2009

Facts: 56 cm, 19.5 kg
Lost 2 more teeth. Double canine in the lower jaw, or else they are all changed.

Total recall
This last week Pandora earned a lot of stars in her imaginary book.
Every day she behaved even better. Until yesterday!

I had a long walk with her and she was perfect. Every time I called, she came (lured by shrimps that is). She ran free and enjoyed the autumn sun and all the smells from wild animals on the ground.

As we arrived home, she snapped!
She started by jumping into the stream. I called her: No, come back here. Then she jumped out at the other side of the stream, running through the neighbours ground, jumped his fence, ran into the street, all along our ground (which she passed), till the next neighbours field where she ran in, all around our house and came into the garden at the complete opposite side.
I was jus screaming and shouting, so disappointed how quick she switched from a darling to an idiot. As I was  shouting, she didn’t want to get into the house and as she finally did I turned my back to her.
Not taking eye contact is rejection to wolfs and to the wolfdog.
This made her very sad. Her reaction was to go away and sleep, but I swear the look on her face was sadness.
Of course I couldn’t resist her for more than half an hour, then I had to pet and caress her again.

But the stars didn’t jump right back. They are still waiting for a nice dog at the end of the week.

But of course this happens. It happens a lot. Three steps forward and two backwards. The worst is when she runs into the street as we get scared that she might get hurt. All the other stupid things she does are OK to deal with.
And she is getting better by the hour …

The cats are passing right by her now and Pandora has to swallow all her eagerness not to chase them, but she’s doing fine.
And being left alone in the morning has definitely gotten better.
She no longer whines or tries to get out by throwing herself at the door. She doesn’t attack the window as we leave the entrance, but is now quit ad calm. She looks a little sad but she doesn’t make a sound any more and she doesn’t try to run out together with us in the morning. That is so nice.

Pandora watches the stream

Pandora watches the stream

This is not a dog
Things I think differs from my former dogs.

Her  fur
Is a little stiff and thick. Not as soft as the German Shepherd. The vet notice every time.

Sleeping outside
She loves to stay out in the evening in the dark, alone.
Now as it gets colder, she still likes to stay outside. Sometimes when I think she gets too cold, I cover her with a blanket, but she moves away. She hates the cover.

Her ways of being ‘cool’.

I scream, she gives me the look.
I beg, she laughs
I laugh, she leaves.
If she feels misunderstood, she talks!
She never crawl, but she does show that she is below me in rank. She does it shortly, bending her neck, looking at me out of the corner of her eye (and I swear it sometimes looks like she is smiling secretly).
As she has shown her rank she leaves or ‘tells’ me that she has understood and there’s no longer any point in screaming and shouting. It will no longer affect her.

The pack
Me , my boyfriend and one of the neighbours are the only one who can really make her foolishly happy more than once a day.
Everybody else is interesting for 2 minutes, perhaps less. They can make her wag her tail once and then it’s over.
As we play now, which we do many times a day, I always end up showing her that I am stronger. If we fight for fun, I’ll put her down in the end, careful and with fun and lots of caresses, but she must know that I am stronger than her. She loves to crawl around on my back or even put her paws into my hair, and I let her but end up bringing her to the ground, being bigger than her and having my face above hers.

Pandora watches the stream and the street is right ahead

Pandora watches the stream and the street is right ahead

She learns extremely fast. And as she has understood a command, she looses interest. That means I have to continue if it is stuff like: TO THE SIDE, STAY, IN PLACE and so on.
She is never afraid for more than a few seconds.
Fireworks, crowded places, canon balls, fire show, shotguns. Nothing affects her. The only thing that can make her show fear are obstacles that she cannot recognise. A trash bin, a plastic bag or stuff like that. Then she’ll sit down and observe (in a safe distance) until I show her that it isn’t dangerous (she trust my judgement), or until she sees the object move, so that she can recognise it. In this state it is important to be trustworthy to the dog. She’s relying on me and I cannot fail or cheat.
Now the vacuum cleaner and the hairdryer are the most dangerous species.

The coming week we are going to do some fireshow in LEGOLAND in Denmark. Pandora will go with us of course.
And we’ll go to an KHKG exhibition in Strib Sunday the 18. October where other wolfdogs will attend . I’m looking forward to that.

Pandora smiles

Pandora smiles