Kota has also been learning the ropes of being a demonstration dog for my dog obedience classes.
He is trying really hard to do everything correctly and seems to enjoy showing off for other dog owners. He is impressing clients by being so focused on me and what I am telling him.
Porcupines are everywhere!
Recently, Kota and I were on the trail of a porcupine to help some tribal members collect quills without hurting the porcupine. The quills have native craft and ceremonial uses. Working with porcupines is a tricky business, we want to find them, but not touch them. Signs of porcupines were all around us, but we didn’t have any luck finding the actual animals. We will try again soon. Wish us luck!
Dogs don’t trust liars!
Research shows dogs use their experience with particular human beings to determine whether they can be trusted. They size-up individuals as quickly as a 5 year old and can distinguish between people who lie to them and those who tell the truth! So, the next time you call your dog promising a treat, you better deliver. And when you tell him to get off the furniture, make sure he stays off! Otherwise, he probably won’t listen the next time. The old adage holds true, ‘no one believes a liar, even when he’s telling the truth.’
To read more about the research, go to https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/201502/study-dogs-can-identify-liars-and-they-dont-trust-them
Photo Credit: Disney // dog-bows.com
Joyful play is essential for good health!
Kota loves his dog park time!
Once a week we go to the local dog park to let off some steam and wrestle and run with his friends. Every week, Kota loves playing tug with these two! Sometimes he lets them win, sometimes not. Tug and fetch are his two favorite games. As the weather gets warmer, more dogs will be at the park and there will be more fun to be had. Finally, this might be something that tires Kota out!
Kota is sharpening his skills to find mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, and wolf scents. This work helps to establish the range for each of these species.
With the New Year came a new job for Carrie who is now a professor at a local college while also maintaining some of her previous wildlife responsibilities on the reservation. As a result of the new job, Kota is in his crate a bit more, but that doesn’t mean he has stopped working at developing his skills. He is continuing his training in finding mountain lion scent here in North Dakota and we have added a few more species to the list: Bobcat, coyote, and wolves. To the average person it looks like we are just taking a walk down the trail with an occasional “good boy” and enthusiastic jumping and tail wagging when that is heard. Actually, people look at us like we are crazy when we are training, but hey, who doesn’t want to find poop buried in the snow. On this particular day, we found both coyote and bobcat scat and urine marks. Boy was Kota excited to find those! From Kota’s finds, we now know the western edge of this bobcat’s range.
Kota finding bobcat scat
Research shows that the management of dogs and cats exposed to a rabid or potentially rabid animal should be the same for pets with current and with out-of-date rabies vaccination status.
Current recommendations in the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control state that unvaccinated dogs and cats be quarantined for 6 months or euthanized if exposed to a rabid or potentially rabid animal, while those with current in-date rabies vaccination status should be administered a rabies booster and observed for 45 days, usually under the owner’s supervision. Recommendations for dogs and cats with out-of-date rabies status (i.e., overdue for rabies vaccination) is evaluated on a case by case basis. However, out of an overabundance of caution, the recommendations for unvaccinated dogs and cats are usually followed in animals with out-of-date vaccination status. Thus, many of these animals are euthanized.
Research conducted at the Kansas State University demonstrates that the immune response to a rabies vaccine booster in dogs and cats with out-of-date vaccination status is no worse than the response in dogs and cats with a current rabies vaccination status. In fact, dogs and cats with an out-of-date rabies vaccination status often had a higher median titer (i.e., better response) following booster vaccination compared with dogs whose rabies vaccination status was current!
It is hoped that this new information will lead to a change in recommendations for the management of dogs and cats with out-of-date rabies status who are exposed to a rabid or potentially rabid animal.
There is an interesting aside to this research. When queried, the rabies vaccine manufacturer confirmed that the 1- and 3-year rabies vaccines are identical. Therefore, in this study dogs and cats who had received either the 1- or 3-year rabies vaccine where classified as having current vaccination status if the vaccine was administered <3 years prior to enrollment in the study.
You can read the entire study (Moore, et al. Comparison of anamnestic responses to rabies vaccination in dogs and cats with current and out-of-date vaccination status. JAVMA. 2015;246(2):205-211) at http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/pdf/10.2460/javma.246.2.205
Many pet owners have concerns with the required frequency of rabies vaccine administration. The Rabies Challenge fund is a charitable trust that is conducting research to document the duration of protection for the rabies vaccine, with the goal of extending the legally required interval for rabies boosters. Click here for more information. http://abbeyrosefoundation.org/what-is-the-rabies-challenge-fund/
Kota got new shoes!
Kota needs shoes during the winter because he has sensitive feet. When the temperature is below zero or there is snow on the ground, his feet get very red and he doesn’t want to walk. Shoes for dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and these are the classic mitten shaped ones. On the first night, he wouldn’t let me tighten them correctly, but he did well for a trial run. He is between sizes, so no matter what, they will be a bit big. When I first put his shoes on he wouldn’t move and acted like he was glued to the ground. I coaxed him to move with treats, then with the basketball. Recently we have been out in the snow and he learned that his feet don’t bother him anymore with the boots on. He is not to the point of asking for the boots yet when we go out like he does with the coat, but we are getting there.
Have you noticed that some people and their pets share a resemblance? Research shows that in about 80% of cases, they do!
In one study, 61 people were asked to look at photos of dog-human pairs and judge which pairs showed a physical resemblance. Some of the photo pairs were of people and their own pets (real pairs) and others were photos of people and dogs who were not their pets (fake pairs). The photos were simple head shots and did not show any interaction between the pair. Approximately 80% of judges identified the images of real-life pairs as those showing a resemblance. In an attempt to identify what enables us to correctly link owners and their dogs, psychologist Sadahiko Nakajima enlisted the help of 520 Japanese undergrads to judge photo pairs in which various features were blocked out. When only the mouths were masked, judges were 73% correct in identifying real pairs. When the eyes were masked, the ability to correctly select real pairs was lost. When all facial features were blocked except for the eyes, 74% of judges still chose the true pairs! The reason the eyes are such a powerful cue for correct selection of pairs is unknown. To read more about this study go to http://goo.gl/Bti0j4.
Kota learned the importance of stillness recently when two bison strolled by the car he was sitting in with Carrie. Sometime it is important to be invisible when we do our work!
A few days later, when Carrie and Kota were in the bison pasture mending fences, Kota showed he had learned his lesson well. Kota’s job was to watch for bison and let Carrie know if one got close. Carrie saw the bison first – it was less than 200 feet away. Kota saw the bison and quietly stood his ground between it and Carrie. Carrie snapped this photo, said lets go, and Kota turned to follow her to the truck. Good boy Kota!
It is getting cooler here in North Dakota and summer items are being put away until next year. Going through summer gear brought back memories of Katie. I was going through pictures and it looks like Kota is following in Katie’s footprints.