Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Red Coat in Snow

Miles is pretty tired today after playing with the lure pole several times yesterday and exploring the forest on leash in the snow. Most of the earlier photos he was not wearing a coat but we actually started out with one. He slides, falls, digs and rolls in the snow so the coat was quickly heavy, cold and wet. We dumped the coat because his fur seemed to shed the snow better. He was running around so much he really wasn't cold and actually laid in the snow panting to cool off a few times. Here are some of the early photos when he was actually wearing the coat.

Miles is a smiler. When he is happy he grins like his mother Sara did. He is pretty happy running and will grin at me as he runs toward me then swerves at the last second. Makes him look pretty fierce in his photos.

Have suddenly seen some new behavior out of Miles in the last few days. He has never been the best eater since he has really never been hungry. It is a constant challenge to keep weight on the pups with the amount of energy they burn every day. I feed Miles raw meat, eggs, milk, veggies, supplements and occasionally some grains. I add some fat and oils to help boost the calories. Beef is our staple since it is higher in fat and because Miles is not fond of chicken at all and only likes pork and venison slightly better. Miles picks at his food and may or may not finish it. We are on 2 meals a day most of the time to get him to be hungry enough to finish a bowl. He gets about 10 minutes to eat then it is picked up and put away until the next meal. He often skips meals if it is chicken. He always gets the same chicken for the next meal so it doesn't really help. He is more likely to eat his food if Otto or Pinky are in the room with him to keep them from getting it. If he leaves food in his crate he runs in quickly if another dog gets near the crate. Funny how he doesn't want the food but doesn't want anyone else to have it either which leads to his strange behavior over the last couple of days.

My dogs have always gotten to clean off plates after we are done eating. They do this together and never have been allowed to growl or be possessive of the plate while they are sharing it. The other night Miles growled and snapped at Pinky when they were sharing a plate. Totally new behavior for him and odd since he is so laid back about eating. He even licks off the plate very slowly in no hurry. We made it pretty clear that that was just the WORST thing he could have done and he lost the plate for a couple of moments. Then was allowed to rejoin Pinky and has shared the plate nicely since.

Last night Miles had a bone and Pinky walked by him. He charged at Pinky growling at him and snapped at him. There was contact and Pinky yelped but there was no damage. I went after Miles since I was standing nearby. He realized right away he had made a huge mistake and ran for his crate. He was running so fast he slid on the wood floor and hit the door hard and yelped. Once he made it to the crate he stood there whimpering and shaking. Funny how he ended up punishing himself for his behavior much more severely than we would have. He stayed in his crate (door was always open) for a long time in self exile. After about an hour I called him in to the bedroom for bed. He slunk in with his head and tail down, nervous and very submissive. He waited for permission to get up on the bed and had to be invited a couple of times before he got the courage to join us. I think he probably learned from his mistake and isn't likely to repeat it.

Funny how he remembered what he had done for so long and was so upset about it even an hour later. You always hear how dogs don't remember what they did wrong and don't show shame or feel guilt. I am not sure that is true. I can tell when I get home if a dog has done something wrong just by their greeting. If they come up glancing around, head lowered, slinking or don't come up at all, I know I need to look through the house to see what they did wrong and WILL find something. A normal greeting is happy, tail wagging and much different than an "I screwed up" greeting. I have always heard that any "guilt" the dog shows is actually the dog responding to a human's disapproval. There is no way I could be giving off disapproving signals when I have no idea a crime has been committed though.

We only disapproved of Miles behavior instantly last night but didn't speak to him or reinforce our disapproval in any way for the hour he stayed in his crate. When I called him into the bedroom I intentionally kept my voice upbeat and normal since his misbehavior was long over. Still he was obviously sorry and very cautious when coming back into his pack because of his bad behavior.

Miles really hates to get into trouble and just a look or a word is usually all it takes. "No" just means not to do that and is the lightest correction word I use. An "ACK!" is usually what I use instead. Big transgressions get an UH OH like chewing on my things or growling at Pinky. Miles hates to hear UH OH and I have to watch that I don't use it accidentally in conversation because he will slink off if he hears it even if he has done nothing wrong.

Another behavior that just started in the last few days is being protective of the house. The night that the snow started there was something outside the fence. Miles was very concerned and stared and stared into the dark and paced by the windows looking out and growling. He wanted out frequently and would pace on the porch barking and growling. He was too nervous to get off the porch and go to the area of the yard he was barking out or where he could actually see out of the fence though (bushes obstruct the view through the fence). He has never done anything like that before and sounded scary enough that I hope whatever was out there left.

The coyotes are always out there so I don't think that would have set him off. A neighbor reported seeing a large black cat crossing our road and coming onto our property a week or so ago. He thought it was a panther or something. I haven't heard of any being in this area and hope one didn't escape from the zoo. Probably a big black dog. There was a bear that ended up in a nearby shopping center a could years ago but those are really rare in this area too. It definitely wasn't a human because Miles would run to the fence to say "Hi".

I am sure that there are more behaviors to come as Miles goes from the submissive puppy stage to a more confident adult.


Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Love the photos! A blog is such a great way to keep all the stories and pictures as the grow up!

Hiking Hounds said...

I love it when their ears flop up like in the first picture. It sounds like Miles eats a lot like Zephyr and Astro. Especially Zephyr, but he has done better since having Astro. Zephyr did a few of the snaps at Astro too and I told him it wasn't okay. Poor Miles really punished himself though. :-) I feed a mostly raw diet too. My guys love the chicken though. They also like lamb and usually beef goes over well. But, they don't like turkey. Same thing happens here when they don't finish a meal.