Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pupdate - ACD Foster ... Red-dog

Well it's been an interesting adventure with our foster dog, Red (which is what we tend to call her). As I mentioned in an earlier post, she is a 2 year old, deaf Australian Cattle Dog. I have to say that it's been an adventure. Working with a deaf dog is new to me so it's been a great challenge.

When Red first came home, she spent hours trying to attack the dogs. She tried to eat the cats. She couldn't even begin to comprehend the farm animals in our barn (and we didn't take her there for the first three weeks). She would be out of her crate or kennel for an hour and be mentally exhausted. (Thank goodness that we have both!)

I spoke with some people and found out that when people are in jail, they tend to sleep a lot when they've been "in" for a while. I believe Red had a similar experience. I wonder if it is a form of depression? I'm no shrink so I can't really begin to speculate.

It's been a month now and we've learned a lot about her. First, let me update her "ad" for you ...

Red is a 2 year old ACD. While she seems to be deaf, there are instances when no other animals are around and she does seem to hear sounds so we wonder if there is a hearing impairment coupled with some selective hearing. For the time being and for all intensive purposes, we consider her to be deaf. She is super affectionate with people and will melt anyone's heart and while she does not like cats at all, she does seem to genuinely like some dogs. Like most ACD's, Red needs a strong, firm but fair leader - no pushovers please!

We have learned a few things about Red ...

She will attack a dog that seems fearful, weak or is unable to defend itself (it may be sleeping or have something in its mouth). In that way, she is a bully.

She loves dogs who are older, bigger or have boat-loads of confidence.

She LOVES to swim. We take her to the pond every few days and she will swim around just for the sake of swimming. For the days we don't want to go to the pond, we do have a toddler pool that she enjoys using.

She gets the “zoomies” now. It’s so funny to see. Her “zoomie” time is usually after dinner during our evening walk.

She is mimicking my dogs’ behaviour and that of dogs who visit us. She watches them intently and then does exactly the same thing. Very entertaining.

Red is not yet ready to go to a new home. She is only able to take 4 hours of mental stimulation before getting irritable (at which point, she will take her frustration out on anything with 4 legs). She can only take about an hour of physical stimulation (running around the field on a long line or swimming and splashing around the pond). We are looking to get a vibrating collar courtesy of BAS ... we'll see. I'd like to teach her to come when it vibrates (I know, most people use the vibration as a "reward" but I don't want that ... I want something that will tell her to come back - this is how a hunter I know trains his redbones). If she will come when it vibrates, it will make me feel a whole lot better because I would know that there is a way for me to communicate with her when she's far away.

** Note the two "kiddie pools" below ... note the price difference. You can get them cheap if you go and buy a kids pool rather than a "dog" pool.


OldMorgans said...

Such a handsome dog. You have truly taken on a project. My hat is off to you.
It is possible that the dog pool is made of tougher plastic that dog toenails won't tear up so easily as the cheap children's pool. Possibly... or not. But still not that much price difference.

Leigh said...

That's great that she's adjusting well, she's such a pretty dog.

I miss taking in foster dogs, but as our JRT gets older, he's getting more and more territorial.

bichonpawz said...

I admire your ability to help these dogs! Red is a very handsome guy and I hope he will be ready for his furever home at some point. It's terrific that he is watching your other dogs. That is what my LadyBug...who is a rescue...did with Chloe. She watched and watched and then watched some more. Gradually, little by little...she came around. It is good when they have another dog to teach them good manners! I wonder if by chance Red could be suffering from some sort of trauma...affecting his hearing? Do Dogs get PTSD? Not sure??

GoLightly said...

That's an ACD in a nutshell. They are superior canine beings, and they will always point that out to inferiors.
Great to hear your Red is learning to control that better:)

My old red dog would do the same thing. She delighted in tripping/dropping/cartwheeling any inferior dogs she'd play with.
Her worst enemies were Jack Russells, surprise, surprise:)
They'd immediately attack her, her attitude just pissed them right off..

Husband's GSD admired and respected my red dog, but she'd still move out of his way. He was 100 lbs to her thirty five, and she was a whiz at survival.


Great post, Good Luck, Red