Thursday, July 11, 2013

Caravaggio loves cats

Many people ask me if my dogs get along with other animals.  Now most of the time I get this question because their dog does not get along with others very well.  Dogs in generally are very capable of getting along with other species, many other species.  Its all about training and socialization.

For example, when Nekita was a puppy, I had pet snakes.  I had a Ball Python snake named Nia.  She was a fabulous pet in her own right, but she (the snake) helped teach Nekita at a very young age how to deal with other species.  Basically its about respect and boundaries.  Nekita was taught from day one to keep a certain distance from the snakes, as well as the cats in the house.  Since then, Nekita has always approached other animals with respect and has given proper distance.  I am very thankful for that.

Caravaggio happens to love cats.  When Vaggy was a puppy, he was raised with an older, de-clawed cat.  So Caravaggio thought that being batted in the face by the cat was some sort of fun face massage.  Obviously this is not always true.  Caravaggio unfortunately learned early on that its best to get right up in the face of other animal, not what we were going for.  Since then, we have had to do some extra training with him to teach him to respect other animals.

Now for Caravaggio, it is not that he wants to ever harm another species, he just gets overly excited to meet and make friends with others.  He forgets his boundaries.

Below are some pictures I caught the other day of Caravaggio practicing how to calmly greet some of our neighborhood cats.  He now has a few new friends.

Caravaggio saying HI.
You can see by his body that he's still a little too excited.

Calmly sniffing orange kitty.

Orange kitty then got up to say hi and rubbed up on Caravaggio's face...
then pawed him in the face (just to remind him the cat's in charge here).

Monday, July 1, 2013

Breed of the Month--Miniature Australian Shepherd

Miniature Australian Shepherd

Color:  Blue merle, red merle (liver), solid black, solid (liver) red, all with or without white markings and/or tan points.
Height:  14-18 inches
Weight:  20-40 lbs
Life Span:  12-15 years

Breed Health Concerns:  epilepsy, hip dysplasia, cataracts, Collie eye anomaly (CEA), persistent pupillary membrane (PPM), and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).

Coat:  Double coat of moderate length.  Straight to slightly wavy, medium-textured, weather-resistant under and outer coat.
Country of Origin:  United States

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more informations.

The exact origin of the breed known as Australian Shepherd is not known, but these working dogs were developed in the western United States, not in Australia as the name may suggest.  As the link to my former blog states, breeds such as the Pyrenean Shepherd, Collie, Smithfield, and Border Collie contributed to the breed known as the Australian Shepherd.  The miniature version of the breed began to develop in the 1960s.  A breeder named Doris Cordova enjoyed working with smaller versions of the Australian Shepherd and began breeding them to continue a line of dogs under 18 inches.  The Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of the USA (MASCUSA) was formed in 1990 by Cordova and several other breeders.

Just like the standard sized Australian Shepherd, the Miniature Australian Shepherd is friendly and smart,  adept at herding livestock, excels in obedience training, and works with enthusiasm and grace.

The Miniature Australian Shepherd is a high-energy working dog, and needs plenty of daily physical and mental activity.  As with any working-type breed, the Miniature Australian Shepherd needs some sort of job, from playing to herding, or even baby-sitter of the house.

To keep shedding under control, the double coat of the Miniature Australian Shepherd must be given consistent care.

Using positive reinforcement training can teach this breed pretty much anything.  The Miniature Australian Shepherd is highly intelligent.  With the proper motivation, the breed can learn almost anything you might be able to think of.  This breed (and its close relatives the Australian Shepherd and Border Collie) excel at agility, competitive obedience, and trick performances.

Here is a size comparison for you.
A Miniature Australian Shepherd with a standard Australian Shepherd.