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Choosing the Right Dog > Expected Size?
Chester (The- Mad Little- Turnip

Tag.....I'm It!
Barked: Tue Jan 22, '13 12:25pm PST 
Looks to me bigger than a Aussie would be at 5 mos. Maybe ask an Aussie person if his size looks bigger than the norm at that age? My GSD experience makes him look to me approximately what they'd be at that age. Maybe a little smaller, but more in the range. I am posting as Ches as there is a pic of him playing with a 5 mo Aussie puppy. Registered, so presumed purebred.
» There has since been 20 posts. Last posting by , Jan 26 7:54 am

Rescue, Adoption & Happy Endings > My dog has bitten again! Should he be rehomed or not?
Chester (The- Mad Little- Turnip

Tag.....I'm It!
Barked: Mon Mar 12, '12 1:58am PST 
I don't think owning a dog for seven years and persevering through his aggression, getting it under control until it was re-exacerbated by their growing baby is shirking responsibilities. This was a puppy who was dumped by multiple people until the OP took him on, has stood by him, and clearly now is in a difficult situation.

OP, I am a Cocker person who has had past involvement with one of the most admired Cocker rescues here in the States, and continue to take on Cockers happily through the all breed rescue I am a part of. Here, the general Cocker rescue approach is to not take on aggressive Cockers as it can be quite a problem, particularly given that most want Cockers as family pets. Unfortunately, when lesser bred the temperament of this breed can be extremely unstable. He's not at a good age....too old to likely find an experienced dog lover willing to take him on, too young (they can live quite a long time) to relegate him to a more restricted existence.

I feel the plight of your predicament and am tremendously sorry for your situation. If you have any questions, please feel welcome to ask.
» There has since been 14 posts. Last posting by , Apr 15 7:35 pm

Behavior & Training > Leerburg- I\'m speechless!

Chester (The- Mad Little- Turnip

Tag.....I'm It!
Barked: Wed Jul 13, '11 11:52am PST 
That's Ed wink I will say four dogs in his house means four veeery high drive, intense dogs with highly built confidence. Then again, it's like I said....he's too alpha head. I at the same time maintained a GSD who Leerburg would have drooled over...like I said, one of his best bitches was an imported Kirschental bitch who was an extremely close relative to Pogo's dam, and ev-ery-one wanted to import Pogo's sire, who was an stunning border patrol guard sired by the revered Held v Ritterburg himself. Kept him, and he was hard steel, with Onion, Giant Schnauzer, whose sire was out of Belgium also. Both of those males INTACT. I'll post as Chester simply because second pic down on his page is Onion, Philo (he was my Quando, and had TANKED prey drive), and Chester, who I have said many times before is crazy high drive. All crowded by a window. All three intact males.

Of course, all of them had moments where I would tell them to stop the nonsense, but that's all it was....nonsense. Leerburg's obsession with alpha-ness ultimately leads him to have overly assertive dogs, in my opinion, simply because he is too into the concept of rank squabbles to integrate the dogs, enforce that leadership he is so fond of, and get them to be of a common accord. You certainly CAN do it, though. I expect behavior from my dogs *at all times* I don't enslave myself to their intensities and drives so much that I ironically let that run the show or arrange their lives. You couldn't get three dogs like mine above to not drive you INSANE with simply the use of treats....momma is going to step in it as they learn to get along....but at the same time, looking at that window picture, who gets the front? CHESTER! Look at that body language, and it is Chester. Killer Cocker laugh out loud Actually no, Chester is brassy and he will war if you try him, and of course my German dogs, being goodly German dogs, CAN'T war with a Cocker, because they'd hurt him and they know it. So much for rank drive laugh out loud Onion was very alpha and there was no dog on the street who could issue a true threat and wouldn't face his fullest confidence and offended wrath, but back at the homestead, Chester was....is....forever will be....king wink Because he is part of the pack, willing to war more than any of them, and the most likely to be hurt in a scuffle. So they tend to yield to him. He has a VERY overinflated ego wink

You always have to take these things in context. Frawley is very aroused by highly driven dogs with fearless personalities and a lot of fight drive. So he is biased towards that interpretation. At the same time, other trainers seem to wince and struggle with the concept that dogs can be dominant, or that food treats can manipulate any behavior. If I myself have a toughie, I'll just put a lone line on the dog, and if I don't like where he is going issue my displeased grunt, pick up the line, and pull him out from a distance. Conditions him to the voice, he then starts to retreat to voice only, and after a fairly short time begins to adjust his behavior with the other dogs. THEY have to decide how to find that balance, I can't do that for them, but if one is niggling around enough to perhaps prompt a detonation, I'll just nip that in the bud. My dogs know how to modulate. I don't raise them using an ex-pen....how he is going learn to settle without being exposed to the temptations. Rather than.....have four dogs I won't have in the house together. I like that I can....they learn lots about adaptability and stress response, which serves them all well out there in the real world.

So like I say, not perfect, but he is truly a master trainer....he has trained dogs no one here could handle or would want to, some who even think they don't exist, yah wink.....who does know what he is doing and lots of people raise and train dogs by primarily positive methods thanks to him. If he is going down an avenue you find a bit unnecessary, and I am sure Michael Ellis has those sentiments from time to time, no need to get your knickers in a knot....you don't have to use them, but they are effective approaches. We all need to do what feels right to us. We all need to be real, equally, that they are not the "only" way to have a well managed pet who is enjoying his life. And that the type of dogs we are on generally have a lot to do with the choices we make. I mean, a lot of people wince at not having your dogs all out together, but would not wince at shielding a dog from triggers. Frawley wouldn't do that. He has dogs that can hold their own in any setting....he's just not going to "go there" in his house and be driven nuts by it. The only way for my dogs to learn not to tear my house apart or act like a bunch o' banshees is to give them that opportunity. Then in the long term, they are all out, my large dogs are never crated, and life is just a simpler affair, and I daresay my dogs are more adaptable for the experience. And I am sure Ed would say he doesn't give a sh^t wink
» There has since been 124 posts. Last posting by , Jul 19 11:29 am

Choosing the Right Dog > Field Spaniels?

Chester (The- Mad Little- Turnip

Tag.....I'm It!
Barked: Tue Jul 13, '10 8:14pm PST 
Do You Mean A Black Who Looks Somethin' Like THIS
» There has since been 10 posts. Last posting by , Jul 15 9:14 pm

Behavior & Training > someone tried to Cesar my dog...

Chester (The- Mad Little- Turnip

Tag.....I'm It!
Barked: Sun Oct 18, '09 2:22pm PST 

DUPPY!!!!!!! way to go

From the brilliant and high drive Am Cocker who is trained R+ only for every second of his life, for he is loo-loo but a very sensitive little feller who takes every scrap of everything to heart
» There has since been 2 posts. Last posting by , Oct 19 1:08 pm

Choosing the Right Dog > Tell me about you dog's breed a 'quiz' for dog owners
Chester (The- Mad Little- Turnip

Tag.....I'm It!
Barked: Sun Apr 26, '09 9:36pm PST 
1.) What is your dogs breed?

American Cocker Spaniel
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2.) List ten pros and ten cons about owning this breed.

.....Stylish, beautiful and darling
.....Quirky - every Cocker is an ultra distinct individual
.....Very joyous, and it is contagious
.....Innocent without being precious
.....Surprisingly adventurous and big hearted
.....Extremely high learning rate (when you know what you doing)
.....Highly social (when well bred and socialized correctly)
.....INCREDIBLY sweet
.....Super affectionate without being clingy
.....Very silly

.....Housebreaking nightmare
.....Requiring of intensive socialization
.....Highly sensitive and prone to stress response - this breed does not take pressure well.
.....Not too thrilled with being left alone
.....Professionals - groomers, trainers, vet - very often loathe this breed. You have to watch who you align with and ensure they are not handling your dog with negative bias.
.....Lots of maintenance - coat, ears are highly prone to infection
.....Easily spoilable - not a breed for the weak of will
.....There is a huge difference between a well-bred and ill-bred Cocker temperamentally, and no matter what the prestige of the breeder, if they do not breed for temperament the end result may be little better than a BYB.
....No matter how carefully bred, at the breed's current state, this is not a dog to be left undersupervised with children. If you are not a generally good sentry for your dog, perhaps not the breed for you.
.....Soft but not fawning, this breed can be stubborn
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3.) Would you or have you ever but your dog in a small crate under your seat on the plane?

No. Too large, and at any rate this is still a sporting breed. Being "mummie's little woo-woo" portie dog does not suit their character.
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4.) How much room do they need?

Not much. They can be fine apartment dogs, but do equally well in a countryside expanse.
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5.) Are they diggers?

Can be, dependent on the individuals, but not as bad as some will go.
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6.) Do they have to have a job?

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7.) Can they be left alone for long periods of time

No. Am Cockers are a very socially-inclined breed and refer to their families for a sense of stability. They do not typically thrive at their best with an in-and-out lifestyle. They are not as SA prone as some breeds, but somewhat SA inclined.
» There has since been 20 posts. Last posting by , May 15 9:24 pm

Behavior & Training > Social corrections and environmental punishers

Chester (The- Mad Little- Turnip

Tag.....I'm It!
Barked: Thu Apr 2, '09 11:12am PST 
The Dr Michael Fox study on stressing puppies is very interesting and foundational, Tia, although I think you'd have a hard time finding a site on it. When did the internet become the cave of truth anyway? laugh out loud At any rate, that is science. Mildly stressing puppies leads to more social confidence, higher learning rates, larger brains. That's social, or I have always thought it was, particularly when layered against the hellfire reputation that surprise singleton puppies often have. Many of the breeders I know and respect, and ALL of the breeders I have gotten a puppy from, practice what this study recommends, as do I when I am puppy raising. Well over two decades now, and the only dog I ever had a problem with is this kook head, whose tyranny my big dogs indulged. One day he got a stern correction from a foster, and that sort of popped Chester's bubble for a time. That's worth mentioning as well in the subject at hand, given my large dogs' reluctance to correct Chester's tyranny in his formative stage. That one burp was it in all my years of raising dogs, though. PERIOD. And given that I traffic in two of the most infamous breeds in terms of social behavior meltdowns on the planet....the Am Cocker and the Giant Schnauzer....who are absolutely marvelous ambassadors for their respective breeds, I continue to find Dr Fox's study to be fascinating and to have tremendous rates of applications as regards raising dogs into sound adults. Most breeders who put it into practice feel that it does much to decrease the odds of fear-based aggressive response. Many, including myself, feel, when practiced with compassion, that it develops in the growing dog a solid capacity to sustain well under stress, which really to me the puppy raiser is the greatest gift I can offer. Both my dogs and myself have enjoyed the fruits of that and the life's liberties it brings for many years. With plenty more to come.

WHAT THE HEY!!!! - I'll put this up from the goodly Dr Fox....

Finding The Wolf In Your Dog

by Dr. Michael W. Fox*

Of all the myriad members of the animal kingdom, the domesticated dog (Canis familiaris) is closest to us. With individual exceptions in other species, this canine species is the most understanding, if not also the most observant, of human behavior—our actions and intentions. This is why dogs are so responsive to us, even mirroring or mimicking our behavior. And it is why dogs are so trainable.

Fear in un-socialized and abused dogs interferes with their attentiveness to and interpretation of human behavior and intentions. This is one reason why wild species like the coyote and wolf, even when born and raised in captivity, are difficult to train. The wolf ‘Tiny’, whom I bottle-raised and intensely socialized during her formative early days never really lost her fear and distrust of strangers.

As I describe in my book Dog Body, Dog Mind, ‘Tiny’ did not start mirroring and mimicking human behavior until she was close to 9 years old; at which time she began to mimic the human-to-human greeting grin, revealing her front teeth as she curled her lips into a snarly smile. In my experience, dogs who can do this do so at a much earlier age, even as early as 4-6 months.

In comparing and contrasting how socialized (human-bonded) wolves and dogs have related to me as their parent/care-giver figure, alpha pack leader and playmate, as well as to my family members, friends and strangers—I would say that the main difference between the two species is this fear factor. Differences in trainability hinge on this and, as I theorize in my new book, domestication has altered the tuning of the dog’s adrenal and autonomic nervous systems. This tuning (to dampen adrenal fright, flight and fight reactions and possibly alter brain serotonin levels) is accomplished through selective breeding for docility and gentle handling during the critical period for socialization. For dog pups and wolf cubs, this happens from soon after their eyes open to around 8 weeks of age. According to the earlier research of my mentors Drs. John Paul Scott and John L. Fuller of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, pups with no human contact during this critical period (that ends around 12-16 weeks of age) are wild and unapproachable.

In the 1970’s, I developed the Super Dog Project for the US Army to improve the performance and stress resistance of dogs in combat in Vietnam. This was based on my earlier research on early handling and tuning of the autonomic nervous system.

When we peel off the wolf’s innate fearfulness and put it on the dog, we turn the dog into a feral facsimile of a wolf. But a human-socialized wolf without fear could be an extremely dangerous animal, attacking a human perceived as a pack rival. This happened to me during the filming of the NBC documentary “The Wolf Men”. An alpha male wolf, along with his female cagemate who was in heat, had been released into a large, wooded compound belonging to my friend, the late wildlife illustrator and conservationist Dick Grossenheider. The she-wolf had greeted and solicited me, a total stranger, earlier when I had visited the two wolves in their enclosure.

I am not saying that a male dog would not react to me in a similar way under comparable circumstances. The closest to it was my being urinated on by the alpha male lead sled dog of a well-known racing pack that greeted me and solicited my attentions between the wires of their enclosure.

The genetic, neurochemical, physical, sensory and cognitive differences between dogs and wolves are considerable and are a consequence of the domestication process where docile, easy to handle/eager to please and compliant dogs were preferentially bred to better serve various human uses. Similarly, the differences between breeds (as a consequence of selective breeding) are no less considerable. Therefore, within their own species, dogs differ far more from each other than do wolves amongst themselves. But in their deep heart’s core, there is a commonality of origin, spirit, emotional intelligence and empathetic sensibility. While the wild wolf looks through us, the dog looks to us.

These evident differences in canine temperament I see as indicating that dogs initially domesticated themselves. Those who could most easily tolerate close human presence became the shepherds’ and livestock keepers’ ally against wild predators, poachers and thieves; or the game hunters’ super-extended senses and agile cohort for the chase, alone or in a pack.

We see many things in our dogs’ eyes, the windows of their souls. They are also mirrors of the human soul since every pair of dog’s eyes reflects how well that dog has been treated by our own kind, for better and for worse.

We see devotion, patience, expectation, joy and pain in dogs’ eyes just as we do in each other’s. Dogs read our eyes and are attentive ethologists of human behavior, action, emotion and intuition. A change in tone of voice can make a dog tremble in fear or dance and yap for joy. Such ability to read human behavior, intentions and emotions was naturally selected for as dogs domesticated themselves and adapted to life with Homo sapiens, the killer ape.

The secure, well-loved and understood dog is more often an extrovert than an ambivert wary of strangers. Secure, well-loved and understood wolves, in contrast (with few exceptions, some of whom become more easy-going around new people and in new places as they grow older as did Tiny in her early teens), are more often ambiverts or introverts. They are fearful when meeting unfamiliar people.

Differences in individual, breed and species autonomic tuning (sympathetic-adrenal-parasympathetic balance and tonus) account for differences in disease resistance, temperament and learning ability.

But regardless of these dog and wolf differences and similarities, divergences and convergences of their evolutionary biology, at the spirit-core of their being they are identical. The dogs and wolves and other wild canids whom I have raised since soon after birth and shared my life with have the same deep heart’s essence that I saw in their eyes and which they expressed in their gestures and demeanor toward me: trust, tenderness, empathy, playfulness and full awareness (not simply conditioned obedience) of social boundaries and which behaviors were acceptable or not. I call this ‘canid conscience’, which in many respects is far better developed than the conscience of many of our own kind (a far less gentle species indeed, considering our killer ape origins and propensity for war).

The good dog, like the tame wolf, can see and respond to our own deep heart’s core of love and devotion because it is from this center of our own being that we embrace and celebrate theirs. That is what Franz Kafka in his essay “Investigation of a Dog” meant, I believe, when he wrote: “All knowledge, the totality of all questions and all awareness, is contained in the dog.” And this is why the ancient Egyptians believed that the dog was our guide in the afterlife because the dog was such a good guide and loyal companion in real life. Embodying finer qualities of feeling and sensibility than the relatively irresponsible and emotionally challenged average human, we should all look up to our dogs in awe and gratitude. We should also help others of our own kind feel and know that in the deep heart’s core of all good dogs and wild wolves lies the source of an abiding affection that we, in moments of grace and communion, may share.

Since this core is evident as much in a tame wolf as in a toy poodle, it is clear that neither domestication nor wildness has altered their true natures. In the heart of every dog is the spirit of the wolf that embodies the finer qualities of human nature that we call love and devotion.
» There has since been 9 posts. Last posting by , Apr 24 6:26 pm

Choosing the Right Dog > Top 5 things to know about YOUR breed!

Chester (The- Mad Little- Turnip

Tag.....I'm It!
Barked: Wed Dec 31, '08 9:52am PST 
Breed #5


1. Forget what you hear....Am Cocker Spaniels are rowdy and adventurous spirits who can show a touching fearlessness when in their element and raised right. Give a Cocker a life....let him be more than a cute couch dog....and he will give you the world. This is a dog of HUGE heart.

2. Am Cocker Spaniels have almost no capacity to process pressure. They live in a joyful meadow....take that away and you'll lose the best of what they are, but protect them without coddling and you will find a dog of limitless potential.

3. Am Cocker Spaniels are silly as all heck. A joyful, infectious silly muffin head who will challenge every sour mood you have away. I self medicate my life through this breed and would feel stripped raw without it.

4. Am Cocker Spaniels are totally BOHEMIAN. They are oddballs and I have never worked a breed that has quirk specific to the individual as much as this one does. A good place to note that colors in this breed lend to different Cocker personality types....they blacks are the cuddlers, the partis are the good natured clowns and the easiest to train, and the buffs are the hellions. Every field line of Am Cockers I know of has been buff.

5. Despite their popularity, this is a high management breed deserving of the right owner. Their coat/ear work is extensive, they need PATIENCE, and they need someone to indulge their capriciously innocent side. If you buy into an Am Cocker's version of the world, you will find liberty there. I never in my life would have thoughtI would adore this breed as much as I do....whatever effort they take is a ridiculously small toll to pay for entry into their universe. Nurture them, encourage them on their own pace and time, and let them claim the world....you will find something quite surprising there.
» There has since been 68 posts. Last posting by , Oct 25 2:42 pm

Dog Laws & Legislation > N.B. vets to stop cosmetic surgeries

Chester (The- Mad Little- Turnip

Tag.....I'm It!
Barked: Sun Oct 19, '08 11:18pm PST 
The Royal Poo here....Tiller's dogmate - we think it's time for a little Cocker power laugh out loud Where I myself bristle amongst all of this is when it becomes clear that pro dock ban posters who scoff at the premise of injury have made little effort to educate themselves. There have been ignorant statements on this thread ranging from the entertaining to the astounding. And yes, it is a little bit hurtful to see some driven more generally (i.e.,towards a universal docking ban), given to insinuate their own personal concerns on another breed in laying support of a proposition that would effect it so drastically without taking the time to learn of the potential consequences. Not to change their argument, mind you, but just so they will always know what they were asking and that to them it was worth it. Just so they don't disavow their own consequence through ignorance's convenience in the midst of their beliefs and campaigns.

So for the record....and a happy excuse for some good ol' breed education, which as some of you know is Tiller's stock and trade....sporting breeds are divided into four groups - retrievers, setters/pointers, flushing spaniels and the all purpose gun dogs. All of these dogs are versatile, but have their particular niche. The retrievers (and water fowl gun dogs) primarily work water fowl. They are amongst the most obedient of all breeds (think Goldens and Labs) because they need to stay tight to and quiet by their master's sides until sent after a downed bird, often in the water. Setters/pointers search out birds that will flush easily. When a bird is discovered, these dogs will "freeze" on point, marking where the bird is for the hunter's notice, but standing motionless so as not frighten the bird. This gives time for the hunter to arrive to the location, at which time the bird is flushed, takes wing, and then the hunter fires. These two sporting dog types are NOT typically docked (please note the Irish Water Spaniel to be a retriever, despite the spaniel-y name) . The next two groupings....the flushing spaniels and all-purpose gun dogs....., on the other hand, ARE typically docked, so to find any suggestion that not all gun dog breeds being docked lending itself to question why ANY are stems from a lack of education. Does everyone have the responsibility to understand sporting breeds? Surely not, BUT if one is to have opinion as to how prone to injury sporting breeds might be, then, yah, they ought to have that if they are to be being responsible in their convictions.

Flushing spaniels are smaller because the hunter needed to be able to keep up with them in order to be close by the dog when hunting birds that are likely to run off, like the woodcock. This is why spaniels, incidentally, are more biddable than the setters/pointers - as workers, they are meant for being more tightly bonded to the handler. Interesting stuff, no? Anyway, the birds hunted being far more likely to hoof it made the pointers and setters less suited to hunt them....as soon as their presence is noticed, the birds bolt and are hidden in the brush all over again. So enter the flushing spaniel. Also enter a far more razzling dog as these birds so willing to scurry need a more aggressive flush in order to take wing. This is why you will find spaniels more bombastic in their basic affect. Spaniels are at greater risk not only for that affect and their more aggressive style of flushing, but they are little guys, and thereby more "in and amongst" dense and prickly cover. Belittling the intensity of flushing in thick cover with a trained dog by phrasing it as little more than the hobby pursuit of small game in one's backyard is incredibly off the mark. Spaniels have precious little prey drive and no predatory inclination whatsoever. Spaniels do not chase, they FLUSH....they attempt to rile androuse a bird into flight while in thick cover.

The all-pupose hunting breeds (the GSP, GWP, Weim, Vizsla) are,like Cockers, also harder hitting dogs out in the field than the setters/pointers, and appreciably more intense. They, and the larger spaniels, have their tails cropped longer, whereas the small Cocker needs that shorter docked tail due to his smaller size putting him more within the thick bush. Docking was not done to spare amputation at a later date....a rather bizarre propsition.....but to prevent injury. The longer crop indicates the desire to keep as much tail as possible whilst keeping it safer from injury. A hunter WANTS a tail on a dog as it helps him read if his dog is onto something...docking was far from a fashion, but rather a functional need and today speaks to the working character of the dog, be he bench or field.

Docking does keep these breeds safer and sounder....it is why it was done. It keeps field dogs safer to this very day and maintains the look of the dog as intended, true to their history and speaking towards their function. Do these dogs need their tails? Nope - they are structured to do fine without it. Does it remove a natural communicator from them? I highly think not, given that out in the field they communicate with hunters beautifully and spaniels also well known as one of the most social of dogs, readily accepted by their canine friends. Ches and Daniel the Spaniel share their doggie brotherhood with a Giant Schnauzer...a very dominant breed, and docked himself, and yet these guys interrelate as seamlessly as my Dachs did with my Shepherd.

Now are these docked tails necessary for the pet in the average home? Certainly not. But when on earth did the breeding of purebred dogs become about breeding pets? I thought breeding for the the pet market was a BYB thing and that the responsible breeding of dogs was about preserving the breed, breeding to type, and keeping it as true to its function as can be done...those not ending up in show or working placements finding their way into properly screened and educated pet homes. Were what is perfectly suitable for pet homes to rule the day we'd have lesser boned Mastiffs, long muzzled Bostons, sparsely coated Shih Tzus, sunken-eyed Pekes, compact bodied Dachshunds, and oversized Chis. And much of the sense gone from the breeding of purebred dogs.....much to the glee of AR agenda. Fortunately for us, we've got not only the AKC on our side (bearing in mind that two docked breeds....the Am Cocker and Boxer, rank amongst the ring's most elite showmen), but the recreational hunters as well, who have long packed muscle on legislative issues. Still, these are all aspects worth thinking about in forming one's own opinions.
» There has since been 56 posts. Last posting by , Oct 25 8:38 am

Behavior & Training > Please help. Vet is closed today
Chester (The- Mad Little- Turnip

Tag.....I'm It!
Barked: Sun Oct 12, '08 4:59pm PST 
Glad you've evened out somewhat, little Lacie smile You wouldn't have been able to find out any significant info on the Health Forum as the symptoms you were showing were very general....sort of like fevers, cold sweats or fast pulses - those aren't the problem, but rather symptoms of your body trying to COPE with a problem. You either were in significant physical distress (hard to tell how much, as Lhasas are very stoic whilst Malties are far more fragile and sensitive) or in a state of abject fear....that you haven't "climbed out" fully yet recommends physical distress. Call your regular your vet AS SOON as s/he is back open. This is indicating something is probably going on, but far better to have that dealt with by a vet who knows your dog. smile
» There has since been 1 post. Last posting by , Oct 12 5:46 pm

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