Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

Dogs don’t want to be left out

Posted: 9 December 2008 in Uncategorized
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A recent finding by a University of Vienna team shows that dogs have a sense of fairness when it comes to getting treats. If you treat one dog in the presence of another and don’t treat that dog, it knows you did it wrong.  Yep, no surprise there.

And is it just me or is the dog in that article really a werewolf?

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Herding Bee

Posted: 23 November 2008 in Uncategorized
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We took Willow herding yesterday.  There is a nice little setup near Cumming, GA that offers herding lessons for beginning and intermediate dogs.  We got three sessions in the circular pen with three sheep.  Willow did really well the first time and it seemed like her herding instincts had kicked in full-force.  She kept trying to get at the sheep afterwards, unable to rest as long as she wasn’t in the pen.  The sheep got changed out and were replaced with three sheep who were more “dog-broke” (meaning, they were less afraid of dogs).  Willow, being a fearful girl with low self-esteem, didn’t take to these sheep and decided it was better to run away.  So in the end, we had two failed attempts and one successful.  We’ll probably head back in a couple weeks and hope for either more skittish sheep or a more confident dog.

My australian shepherd Willow herding sheep!

My australian shepherd Willow herding sheep!

After we got back, I took Daedal out for a walk and there were a bunch of deer moving through the woods.  I went sneaking after them and Daedalus was happy to oblige.  The bug was sniffing like crazy and making his typical beagle hunting noises, which did nothing for our sneaking.  I got a couple shots, none of them excellent.  But this one wasn’t so bad.

Six-point buck (I think) in the woods behind my apartment.

Six-point buck (I think) in the woods behind my apartment.

Dog of Man

Posted: 11 November 2008 in Uncategorized
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I’m a big fan of David Firth.  His flash animations are the most genuinely demented things I’ve come across.  It’s delightful!

Warning:  Don’t click the image below if utterly twisted crap spooks you.

Dog of Man by David Firth

Dog of Man by David Firth

Daedal on the hunt

Posted: 11 October 2008 in Uncategorized
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Daedalus does a great job of finding where animals are or have been.  He tends to let the smells consume his attention, though, and he fails to notice when the animal scurries away, mere feet from him.  Today was one such day.  I watched the chipmunks he was pursuing all slip away to safer places.

If I watch this video with the sound turned on, it drives both my dogs crazy.

New Dog Park

Posted: 12 September 2008 in Uncategorized
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Well, we have finally completed our move to Atlanta, GA.  It amuses me how each city in the US arranges itself differently.  Of course, this process can be traced by looking at the city’s history, if you’re really interested, but I’m not going to go into that further.  Whereas Pittsburgh was arranged into neighborhoods, Atlanta is like a star system.  At the center of the system is the city proper.  Radiating out from the center are numerous suburbs (planets).  We live in one of the northern suburbs, Alpharetta.  We are very close to a park again, which is nice, but so far we haven’t found a dog park like Frick Park in Pittsburgh.  Our new dog park is a bit more strict about being off-leash.  Also, the off-leash area is a good deal smaller.  Another drawback is the prevalence of sand in the South, which means Willow gets it in her fur and then tracks it into the apartment.  We’re still trying to figure out how to deal with that.

My Australian Shepherd Willow at our new dog park in Alpharetta, GA.

My Australian Shepherd Willow at our new dog park in Alpharetta, GA.

Despite these minor complaints, we’re really enjoying our new place.  The location is amazing for shopping, which is a major plus for my wife.  It’s also about one mile from my new job (for a rapidly growing software startup), which is a major plus for me.  If I want, I can walk through the park straight to my office.  I haven’t quite figured out how to get to this trail, but I know it exists.  I’m going to try to find it tomorrow morning.

As for my new job, I will be mainly working on opinion mining, which I have written about before.  I expect I will be writing about it a bit more here in the near future.

Creature Comforts

Posted: 29 August 2008 in Uncategorized
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Let’s say you are standing next to a 10-foot tall box filled to the brim with blankets.  Wouldn’t you bark at it so the giant could lift you up and put you in it?

My lemon beagle Daedalus seeking out the comfort only a box of blankets can provide.

My lemon beagle Daedalus seeking out the comfort only a box of blankets can provide.

After a short period of discomfort, because he didn’t know what he was getting himself into, the little buddy is sleeping peacefully.

Daedalus now sleeping comfortably in the box of blankets.

Daedalus now sleeping comfortably in the box of blankets.

The mind of Daedalus

Posted: 23 August 2008 in Uncategorized
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Donna is visiting family with Willow, while I have remained behind in Pittsburgh with Daedalus to pack and show the place.  The Jason sweepstakes (hat tip for the great term) have ended, and I may talk about that further in the near future.  Suffice it to say, it turned out very well for me, and I’m glad the stress and monumental effort involved in juggling dozens of phone calls per week and plane trips is over.

As a dog-obsessed person, I am always observing the behavior of my dogs and trying to guess what they are thinking and what motivates them.  Dogs are great creatures.  They are simple in their basic needs:  food and companionship.  Different dogs have different levels of needs in both categories.  For Daedalus, the food need is paramount.  It trumps all else.  For Willow, the companionship need is paramount.  She would rather go hungry than be left alone.  Not that we give her that choice, but she will abandon her food even when hungry for the chance to be petted or to not be left behind when we leave.

So this weekend has given me some time to reflect on what is going on in Daedal’s head.  We watched Donna and Willow pull away in the car around noon.  Daedal followed them with his eyes for a little bit before going back to his sniffing.  Food trumps companionship.  Later that evening, whenever we went out, he would go to the end of the walkway and look out on the street.  This wasn’t his usual pattern, so I assumed he wanted to go on a walk or something.  A white car (not the same white car Donna drives) passed by and parked.  Daedal went freakin nuts.  He never cares about neighbors parking, so I think he must have thought it was Donna and Willow.  Every time I took him out, he would continue to stand watch for them.  Even though food trumps companionship, it was sweet to see how much he missed his pack.

A secondary need for Daedalus is comfort.  During the day, he will find the one sliver of sunlight to bask in.  I’ve even seem him get up and move to follow the sliver as it progresses across the floor.  I normally keep the shades closed to keep it cooler, but I had to lift it a little today to give him a bit more sunlight (below).  Also in search of comfort, he enjoys sleeping on pillows even when on the bed or the couch.

Daedalus - a dog apart

Daedalus - a dog apart

At the dog park, Daedalus is like a dog apart.  He may greet a dog or two, but for the most part he is interested in sniffing.  He immediately goes to the borders of whatever enclosure we’re in and will sniff around the edges.  Most dogs will stick around the center, where the action is, but Daedalus prefers to wander.

Daedalus is an odd mixture of dominant and submissive, so when a dominant dog encounters him, they are often confused.  They will try to hump him, which usually prompts Daedal’s characteristic snarl-bark.  It sounds kind of vicious, but he never bites so it’s really all warning and show.  He only ever escalates with Willow, because Willow is the thorn in his side.  The dominant dog will hear this snarl-bark and back off, not knowing what to make of it.  Whereas with another dog that might prompt a fight, with Daedal they take it seriously.  For a few seconds.  Then they come back and try to hump him again, and the process repeats.  The thing is, when they do it, Daedal doesn’t give a crap about the perpetrator.  He is bothered by the fact that his sniffing is being interrupted.  He completely ignores them otherwise.