The Week in Tweets – 25th June 2013

This is our (almost) weekly segment where we review the content posted on our Twitter over the course of the week. It’s a long post! So make sure you grab a coffee and prepare yourself for some serious reading.

Before we get started, though, here is our current foster dog “Bandit”. More details on his adoption are available on his listing on PetRescue.

Bandit the crossbreed is 3 years old. He is looking for a new home and is located in South Australia.

Bandit the crossbreed is 3 years old. He is looking for a new home and is located in South Australia.


Tweet of the Week

Joanna starts with the premise that puppies should be able $20,000 each, to cover the costs of many overheads associated with their rearing.  However, the dog breeding world looks disdainfully on people who charge a high price for their puppies.  Indeed, Joanna describes a competition-like scenario where getting less for puppies is in some way admirable. Here’s a quote;

In dog breeding… self-abnegation becomes the real pride. I lost more money than you did; I neutered more show prospects than you did; I charge $1000, well I charge $800, well I charge $600, well I give them away and also donated my kidney to a puppy buyer. I breed twice a year, I breed once a year, I breed once every five years, I’ve owned this breed for fifteen years and never once have I even LOOKED at a dog’s genitals with intent to use them.

I had no hesitation in calling this piece the Tweet of the Week. It’s well written, humorous  and covering legitimate subject matter, too. If you read nothing else this week, please read: “How much do puppies cost? How the “breeders wars” hurt our community“.


Breeds and Breeding

Fast action ratting with terriers (video).

And then, in direct conflict: Swedish study found no link between modern breeds and their traditional work.

Soundness – understanding correct pit bull conformation and why it is correct.

Bitch line is the key.

Hybrid vigour – fact or fiction?

A commentary on the COA Crossbreeding Programme from a Chinook Owner.

Breeding Dogs for Intentional Defect.

What is a samoyed?


Dog Training and Behaviour

BAT Empowers Choice.

Operant Learning Illustrated by Examples.

Is it really disobedience?

Why does my house trained dog pee-poo indoors?

Why is training recall so difficult for dog owners?

Criteria in training.

Dogs’ Sexual Behaviour (video).


Sheltering, Rescue and Associated Links

Happy Endings: Cyclone.

‘It’s not us, it’s you’ – The Lost Dogs Home discusses high kill rates.

National Desexing Network – List of participating vets in Australia.

Carter Wants a Home.

SC Shelter attempted to cover up killing of family dog.

RSPCA and the Moorook Debacle 2013.

Bandit, 3yo crossbreed, for adoption in SA.


Dog Health

How the veterinary vaccine model is broken.

Spayed or neuter dogs live longer.

Win a 150g bottle of Rose Hip Vital.

Dog gets around with four bionic paws.


Other Dog Stuff

Upcoming Canine Science Conferences.

Working dogs, working together.

EB White and the Crime of Harboing an Unlicensed Dog.

What drives the evolution of brachycephalic dogs? – this one was almost the tweet of the week just because it articulated something I’ve been thinking about for along time.

Is pet ownership sustainable?


Dogs are cool like that.

Hero dog saves girl from icy river.

The dingo woman.


Other Animal Stuff

True Facts About Sloths.

Why the mantis shrimp is my new favourite animal.

You have to watch this one – Suki the cat at 8 months.

Why ferns have more chromosones than you.



Myrtle kept jumping on the grooming table to be groomed!


Myrtle constantly on top of me!

Chloe all set to go to her new home




Predicting Adults from Puppies – in 15 Minutes!

A typical vet consult is just 15 minutes. Is this long enough for a vet to diagnose future behavioural problems in puppies? Vaccination consults seem to be an ideal time for vets to assess puppies and make recommendations for the future, but is it really enough time for a vet to reach adequate conclusions?  Pageat set out to find out.

Listen to audio:

Or read on…

Rottweiler puppy on vet table having a check up.


256 puppies were observed during a vaccination appointment at the vet.  The puppy was first allowed to ‘free range’ around the room, and then the puppy was examined. The behaviour of puppies during this consult was noted.  The owner was also asked to answer 8 questions (on fear, sleep, and self control).

Pageat wondered if the behaviours shown by the puppies and the answers given by their owner might have a correlation between the behaviour (including problem behaviour) the puppy may have as an adult.

Telephone consults occurred 1 month after the vaccination consult, then 6 months after, and then another evaluation was done when the dog came in for its vaccination 1 year afterwards.

Pageat found that there was a correlation, and referred to 6 classifications for adult dogs: ‘normal’, deprivation syndrome, hypersensitivity-hyperactivity, disorder of sensory homeostasis, phobia, and separation anxiety.

This preliminary study showed that there was some merit to Pageat’s ideas. Below are the behaviour classifications that Pageat created and how they correlate to the behaviours and questionnaire responses seen in puppyhood.


Normal Dogs

Pups that were likely to have a ‘normal development’, unsurprisingly, displayed normal behaviours in the vet clinic, like:

  • sought comfort from their owner,
  • checked out the room while ocassionally checking in with the owner or vet,
  • sought vet’s contact,
  • had submissive posture when vet reached over the puppy, and
  • sometimes cried when restrained, but soon settled.
  • On the questionnaire, owners said there were no fears, no sleep problems, and no excessive biting.

So: Puppies that act normally in the vet seem to act normally as adults.


Deprivation Syndrome

‘Deprivation syndrome’ is the term that Pageat used, which means dogs that are under socialised and so fearful of most things, which in turn leads to fear aggression. (source)

In the vet consult, pups were more likely to grow up with deprivation syndrome if they:

  • were stationary (didn’t move around the exam room),
  • reacted fearfully when touched by the vet,
  • remained fearful even when the owner interacted with them,
  • persistantly tried to escape and bite from restraint, and.
  • if they appeared to calm when restrained, they started fighting again when the restraint was lessened.
  • The owner’s responses to the questionnaire described the puppy as ‘fearful’ towards loud noises, moving objects, and people.

That is: puppies that acted fearful during the 15 minute vet consult will probably stay fearful. They should immediately start an intensive socialisation program to try to reduce their fearful reactions.


Hypersensitivity-Hyperactivity Syndrome

‘Hypersensitivity-hyperactivity syndrome’ is basically a dog with lack of control, especially bite inhibition. They are often not-aggressive but nonetheless hurt their owners and others because of their lack of bite inhibition in ‘over the top’ play.

In the vet consult, pups were more likely to grow up with this syndrome if they:

  • were active, ran everywhere,
  • repeatedly interacted with ‘every thing’ they could in the exam room,
  • if this interaction included chewing and often destroying items,
  • immediately started to play during the physical exam,
  • growled and bit,
  • tried to escape restraint by biting, urinating, or defecating, and if this fighting may continue for 30 seconds or more,
  • had an owner who’s presence didn’t influence the puppy’s behaviour, and
  • had an owner who was covered in bites themselves.
  • Owners on the questionnaire indicated the puppy didn’t sleep solidly (i.e. made noise at night) and described the puppy as rough or bitey when playing.

That is: Puppies who seemed hyperactive and orally fixated would stay that way into adulthood. Puppies in this category should be put in puppy playgroups and otherwise taught to inhibit their bite.


Disorder of Sensory Homeostasis

This was the most confusing classification that Pageat used. Here are a couple of definitions I was able to come up with in regard to ‘sensory homeostasis’:

  • “the ability to react in a suitable manner to sensory stimulations coming from the external environment” (source)
  • “The normal state can be regarded as the normosensoperceptive [normal sensory perceptive] condition to be maintained in the physiological range by means of various cooperative and coordinated mechanisms” (source)

That is, ‘dealing with’ (behaviourally, psychologically, and physically) the environment in a normal way. So, a dog who has ‘sensory homeostasis’ could be described as ‘a dog that reacts suitably to sensory input from its environment’.

The behaviours of puppies in this group were diverse:

  • Puppies were active, running everywhere and chewing everything – or they did the opposite, staying in one place resting and not moving much.
  • Puppies either began to play when you interacted with them, or just stayed still.
  • These puppies bit when they were restrained – sometimes with urinating and defecating as well, but always did not submit.
  • The owners reported these puppies were fearful, that they didn’t sleep well or were active, and they were rough biting and playful.

As you can see, there is a lot of variety in this category, and I’m not sure what conclusions can actually be reached. This is especially true when you compare with the rather logical and conclusive results made under different headings.


Phobic Adult Dogs

Dogs were more likely to be fearful adults if they were puppies that:

  • sought comfort from owners in new environments,
  • if the explored, they checked in with the owner or vet as exploring,
  • adopted a submissive posture during handling,
  • cried softly during restraint, or
  • moved legs when restrained, but soon calms down and is submissive.

That is, the pups that overall seemed quite soft and ‘submissive’ and sought reassurance from people were likely to be fearful dogs in adulthood.  These puppies could also have their behaviour remedied by socialisation where they could learn to be more outgoing (as they realise the world is a not-so-scary place).


Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is basically a fear of being alone.  Pups that exhibited the following behaviours were more likely to have separation anxiety as an adult:

  • rests as close as possible to the place it was left,
  • vet has to initate contact, and
  • pup exhibits fearful behaviours like escaping, biting, urinating, defecating or anal sac excretion, but when the owner approaches, these behaviours stops.
  • The owner answered ‘yes’ to fearful behaivours on the questionnaire.

A vet could recommend that puppies displaying these behaviours begin to engage in a separation anxiety program before issues become apparent. Undertaking anti-separation anxiety procedures are good practice, anyway, but could be applied with more emphasis in puppies like this.



Unfortunately, this research is almost 10 years old and hasn’t been as revolutionary as first hoped.  However, it shows there is still promise in the original suggestion:  Vets could have a role in preventing problem behaviours from developing or becoming more pronounced by making recommendations based on behaviours seen in a 15 minute consult.  Vets are a major source of information for dog owners, including new puppy owners, and almost all puppies will visit a vet for at least their first vaccination. Because of this, it’s vital that we make the most of these consults and direct puppy buyers to appropriate resources.


Links of Interest

Resources for New Puppy Owners

How to Stop Puppy Biting




Pageat, P 2004, ‘Evaluating the quality of behavor development in puppies: preliminary results of a new scale’, Proceedings of the 10th European Congress on Companion Animal Behavioural Medicine.


I haven’t earned any money from breeding.

Many readers know I am a breeder of Border Terriers.  It’s hard to believe, but I haven’t made any money from dog breeding. Here’s a detailed list of expenses and income that I’ve made from dog breeding, as was accurate at the end of my 2012 litter.  I am posting this just to illustrate the price of ethical breeding from someone who partakes in a number of dog shows and have the best interests of the breed at heart.


Our first litter, born in 2010.

Our first litter, born in 2010.


Breeding Related Expenses

Purchasing Clover: $1000

Purchasing Chip: $7500

Dog shows: $4765.50

Dog memberships (to Dogs SA/ANKC affiliated clubs): $954.75


First Litter

Stud fee: My dog (no fee)

Ultrasound: $55

Puppy check up: $55

Worming products: $43.45

Clover check ups: $98+ $55

Vaccinations and chips: $180

Puppy hernia check up: $55

Total expenses for first litter: $541.45


Second litter

Stud fee: $1000

Progesterone tests to determine AI: $600

Pre AI antibiotics: $22.15

Semen storage and transport expenses: $740

AI: $410

Pregnancy x-rays: $172

Progesterone tests to determine C-section: $171.24

C-section: $784.30

Total expenses for second litter: $3899.69


Third litter

Stud fee: $800

Ultrasound: $75

Flight for bitch: $90

Post birth vet check: $59

Chips and vax: $360

Worming suspension: $44

Flea and worm treatment: $131.70

Total expense for third litter: $1384




TOTAL EXPENSES: $20,045.39



Stud fees from Chip: $5600

Puppies from first litter: $1500

Puppies from second litter: $0

Puppies from third litter: $7800



Net position from first litter: $958.55

Net position from second litter: -$3899.69

Net position from third litter: $6416

Net position from all litters: $3474.86


TOTAL EXPENSES: $20,045.39


TOTAL LOSS: $5145.39


I don’t need a medal or praise.  I have beautiful dogs that I love in my house and life that I wouldn’t have without this breeding program, so I am in no means bitter about the financial loss I have made.  This is purely an illustrative post to attempt to demonstrate that my hobby is not profit-minded.

There is a lot of reasons to breed a litter – money isn’t one of them.


Further reading:

The Sin of Breeding Dogs


The Week in Tweets – 9th June 2013

This is our (almost) weekly segment where we review the content posted on our Twitter over the course of the week. It’s a long post! So make sure you grab a coffee and prepare yourself for some serious reading.


My matching border terriers - Clover and Myrtle, mother and daughter.

My matching border terriers – Clover and Myrtle, mother and daughter.


Tweet of the Week

This is my favourite tweet from the week just gone: Puppies taken from litter too soon develop behavior problems as adults. While there’s lots of questions to be asked about the specifics of the conclusions made, it’s still an overall interesting study.


Training and Behaviour

Somersault Dog Trick – Just Jesse the Jack Russell.

Target Stick training video from the Dog Trick Academy.

“He’s very protective”.

K9 Body Language – What’s my dog saying?

The Deception of the Dog Whisperer.


Rescue and Sheltering

Think what you could be saving this tax time.

Unhappy with rescue group’s adoption policies.

Know the opposition: Anatomy of a distraction.

Stop the Killing.

Crappy Dog – a story on pet adoption.

Only 2% of dogs die in shelters yearly – an oldie but a goodie from BorderWars.

Non-surgical sterilization: Getting shelters and spay/neuter clinics up to speed.

Why you shouldn’t adopt a dog.

Humane cat management.


Police Brutality

Police Shootings of Dogs.

Cops raid wrong house, threaten children and kill their dog.


Dog Science, Studies, Surveys

How do hand-reared wolves and dogs interact with humans?

Clues to cancer: Golden retriever cancer study (video).

Dogs and Kids Survey.

Puppy classes and canine parvovirus.

Interactions between shelter dogs: some new research.


Dog Health

Review: Rose-Hip Vital Canine.

Pfizer Pays for Another Rimadyl Death.

Do small dogs live longer?


How to go to the vet.

Not so Great Dane.

Dr Karen Becker and Dr Ronald Schultz on Pet Vaccines.

Questioning Traditional Neutering Recommendations for Dogs.



Dog Humour 

There’s a reason dogs are mans best friend.

15 Dogs Who Don’t Know They’re Big.


Other Stuff

Quirky Lyme Disease Bacteria: Unlike most organisms, they don’t need iron, but crave manganese.

Show Dogs Escape After Crash.

Considerations of a Puppy Buyer – Tips to establishing a relationship with your breeder.

A Sniff Is A Search By Any Other Name, But Is It Reliable?  Florida v. Jardines and Florida v. Harris.



The Range of Imitation in Dogs

ResearchBlogging.orgThis is a brief review of the extensive work by German researcher Friederike Range, looking at imitation or modelling behaviour in dogs. Previously, I posted anecdotal evidence on modelling in dogs (which many people shared their experiences on). This post is more sciencey!

Border terrier and young woman running in large paddock with bushes behind them.

Dogs can imitate the behaviour of both dogs and people. Imitation success depends on a range of factors, including:

  • The task at hand, including its complexity, has a role in imitation.
  • If a human is modelling the behaviour, if they are talking, this can either help or hinder the dog’s modelling, depending on the task. Eye contact can also help (or hinder) a dog in a task. It can help, as it may illustrate to the dogs bits that it should pay particular attention to. However, it make hinder as it may distract the dog from the task at hand.
  • Training plays a role. Dogs that are ‘better trained’ are better at making deduction on behaviour from witnessing a model.
  • The dog’s individual personality.

Interestingly, dogs don’t ‘blindly model’ behaviour of other dogs. They will try to be more efficient, they will learn from the other model’s mistakes, and make adjustments based on particular circumstances. For example, if a dog witnesses the model dog carrying a ball and pushing a lever with its foot, the dog will imitate by pushing the lever with its mouth. The dog seems to realise the model dog used its foot because its mouth was occupied. However, if the model dog pushed the lever with its foot without anything in his mouth, the dog will imitate the foot-push. (Almost, the dog imitates superstitious behaviours.)

Fascinatingly, several dogs have been trained to imitate behaviour.  A dog called Joy was trained with the cue ‘Do it!’.  The experimenter would do one of eight behaviours, say ‘do it’, and Joy would then do the behaviour just demonstrated. After several weeks, they then asked Joy to ‘do’ a behaviour that the experimenter had never demonstrated behaviour. Joy did it. Joy understood the concept of ‘do what I do’. You can see more videos of dogs ‘doing it’.

The conclusions are: Yes, of course dogs model the behaviour of people and dogs. Indeed, they can be trained to do so. There is still a lot of research going on about all the facets of imitation, and it’s all truly fascinating. Definitely a space to watch.



Links of Interest

Do dogs imitate? by Patricia McConnell.

Dogs show human-like learning ability.

If you’re aggressive, your dog probably will be to.

Dogs automatically imitate people.



Huber, L, Range, F, Viranyi, Z & Voelkl, B 2008, ‘The evolution of imitation: Old wine in new bottles?’ (PDF).

Range, F., Heucke, S., Gruber, C., Konz, A., Huber, L., & Virányi, Z. (2009). The effect of ostensive cues on dogs’ performance in a manipulative social learning task Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 120 (3-4), 170-178 DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2009.05.012

Range, F., & Viranyi, Z. (2009). Different aspects of social learning in dogs Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 4 (6) DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2009.05.007

Range, F., Viranyi, Z., & Huber, L. (2007). Selective Imitation in Domestic Dogs Current Biology, 17 (10), 868-872 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2007.04.026

Szucsich, A, Range, F, Miklosi, A, Huber, L 2008, ‘Imitative ability of dogs‘.

Tiefenthaler, M, Range, F, & Huber, L 2008, ‘Personality in dogs and its influence on social learning behaviour‘.

Virányi, Z., & Range, F. (2009). How does ostensive communication influence social learning in dogs? Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 4 (2) DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2008.10.023

Viranyi, Z, Range, F, & Huber L 2008, ‘The influence of ostensive demonstration on selective imitation in dogs‘.