Respectful Insolence

Bailey discovers squirrels

It’s Saturday and therefore time for some lazy non-science blogging, especially since after I finish this post I’m going to bury myself in grant writing. Multiple grant deadlines are approaching, and, given that most of my grant support expires towards the middle of next year, I have to go full tilt to keep my lab funded and keep my people employed. Such is how it will be throughout most of 2009 until I obtain some more funding.

As I mentioned nearly weeks ago, we have a new six month old puppy named Bailey. He’s definitely changed our life in a lot of good ways. One thing that I’ve noticed is that when he first arrived here from the shelter he was very quiet, submissive, and mellow. Or so it seemed. However, it didn’t take long for his true personality to reveal itself, and it turns out that he’s actually exhaustingly energetic (well, he is a six-month-old puppy), very intelligent, and more than a little strong-willed. Although he appears to be finally (mostly) house trained (at least, it’s been a few days since any “accidents” and he does now–usually–go to the back door when he needs to relieve himself), there were more a few bumps along the way, and occasionally Bailey went a bit full mental jacket, requiring a little Dog Whisperer or Victoria Stilwell action on him. For a while, we despaired that the methods weren’t working because we could see no effect, but then one day, almost like switching on a light, Bailey seemed to start to “get it” and accept us as dominant. That’s not to say that he doesn’t sometimes still have a little rebellious moment, but they are now usually rapidly overcome. He is, however, scary smart, probably the smartest dog I’ve had since an incredibly smart terrier my family had when I was a teenager; if only we were more competent at harnessing that intelligence to train him.

Overall, Bailey’s a great dog, but he still has a way to go before he’s a good canine citizen. For one thing, he has a bit of a problem with liking to chew various cloth things. (Actually, it’s more than a bit of a problem; excuse me for a moment while I correct him for trying to chew on the rug by our back door…OK, I’m back.) Unlike Echo, who learned this lesson very quickly, he is also much more persistent in learning that he is not allowed to jump on tables to get food or jumping on people who are eating, which means (for the moment, at least) he often ends up in the crate during mealtime when he refuses to listen, after which he usually goes straight to sleep.

One thing that really helped with his rebelliousness was our getting our yard fenced in. Even though my wife would walk him once a day, sometimes for more than an hour, it turns out that that’s not enough. Bailey needs periods of time to run full-out like a maniac. I’m not a runner; my endurance trying to run with him on a walk is far too short, but in the yard I can get him chasing the ball for long periods of time until he basically collapses in exhaustion. My wife bought him a rubber playground ball, which it took him less than a half hour to puncture and deflate; now he trots around the yard with it in a display most comical. Unfortunately, he hasn’t yet figured out two things. First, he doesn’t reliably bring the ball back. Second, I’m having a heck of a time getting him to get the idea of actually catching the ball. I don’t recall its being this difficult with my previous dogs, but maybe that’s just selective memory at work. Echo, I seem to recall, picked it up very quickly and got pretty good at it; Chui (the dog I had as a teenager) was the most skilled ball-catching dog I’ve ever had. I can tell by the way Bailey runs and moves that he could be a pretty darned good Frisbee-catching dog, but I first have to figure out how to get him there. Right now, he just kind of looks at it and then chases it after it’s past him.

Of course, since we’ve gotten a fence installed, one of the most amusing things to watch is how Bailey has discovered squirrels. I wish I could say I took these pictures, but in fact my wife did:

i-e58e95e1ef5eace877653853f565903a-BaileyExplores.jpg

i-650ba9359e603f8a5e90609e9e753c77-BaileySquirrel.jpg

And, in a bit of shameless dog blogging, I can’t resist a couple more. Perhaps one of the most hilarious things about Bailey is how he frequently eats his dinner:

i-b0dc7c699c85c9a85f956e49907db019-LazyBailey.jpg

I’ve never seen another dog eat this way, other than a very old dog. Certainly, I’ve never seen a puppy eat this way.

Finally, Bailey also seems to think that he can help me blog:

i-d0a559503c010883bc75ce265f25e009-BaileyBlog1.jpg

i-a43681c47ab712f4e5e3c381587ddbec-BaileyBlog2.jpg

I wonder if I can come up with a blatant ripoff of Chad’s dialogues with his dog, only about quackery and medicine. Hmmmm. I might have to get Bailey his own Facebook page, just like Chad’s dog Emmy.

Comments

  1. #1 Daniel J. Andrews
    March 28, 2009

    So Bailey is a scary smart dog, probably the smartest since the one you had as a teen, but isn’t able to learn things, like not jumping on tables, playing catch, as well as previous dogs? Do I detect a the fond parent bias here? I.e. my child is soooo smart..!!! :-))

    Bailey reminds me of the dog, Zeus, on the farm where I was hired to work for a summer back in the early 80s. Great dog, played with him every day, he was always glad to see me. Too bad I ended up eating him. :->

    Not intentionally. I was working on a Korean vegetable farm in southern Canada and one day they cooked him up and served him as part of the meal. Didn’t find out till two weeks later…I’d been riding up and down back country roads looking in ditches trying to see if the dog had been hit by a car. I was heart-broken….serves me right for playing with my food. ha ha…sighhhhh…I’m probably going to hell.

  2. #2 storkdok
    March 28, 2009

    He sounds a lot like my 4 year old son! So, you finally got the fence done, eh? He sounds like a great dog, very smart. He might be smart enough to not chase the ball!

    Our squirrels taunt our dog. They climb up the snow banks to look into the house and sit there, once they figured out the dog couldn’t get to them unless we opened the door.

  3. #3 Danio
    March 28, 2009

    Such is how it will be throughout most of 2009 until I either obtain some more funding or

    indeed, the completion of this sentence is too depressing to contemplate!

    Bailey looks like he’s got a lot of Border Collie in him. According to Patricia McConnell, the rule of thumb for Border Collies is that they need to exercise 4 hours/day to keep from going nuts. (Manifestations of ‘going nuts’ include destructive chewing and escape artistry). Great pictures!

  4. #4 jamesnvc
    March 28, 2009

    Heh, you have the same doggie bowl as I have for my dog, also a scary smart Border Collie!

  5. #5 Thony C.
    March 28, 2009

    When my Border Collie mix, Gypsy, was a puppy four hours a day of hard walking through the mountains combined with massive amounts of stick and ball throwing was usually enough to get her to the point where she was slightly less than hyper! She is now twelve years old and only slightly more energetic than your “average” sixth month old puppy. There is nothing average about a Border Collie, smart is an integral part of the package but so is a great desire and willingness to learn, a devotion to the pack above and beyond the normal and an inquisitiveness that can drive you to distraction. I wish you all many happy, exasperating and exhausting days together.

  6. #6 Orac
    March 28, 2009

    Actually, as far as we know, Bailey is not a Border Collie. Every bit of his documentation identifies him as a smooth collie mix. As for Dan Andrews, I do not appreciate your attempt at “humor” at all. I’m half-tempted to delete your comment.

  7. #7 David C. Brayton
    March 28, 2009

    Here’s some free advice from the owner of a very energetic, brilliant dog.

    The key to training is consistency. Never let her get away with anything. Is she ever does anything, regardless of how small, that is not acceptable, your response should be unambiguous and immediate.

    Also, any behavior that would not be acceptable in a full grown dog should not be tolerated in a puppy regardless of how cute or harmless it seems.

    And of course, lots of positive reinforcement. Dogs love to please.

  8. #8 Ruth B
    March 28, 2009

    Congratulations on your new family member. He looks (and acts) like an Australian Shepherd. I hope you can find the time to get him involved in some dog sports to channel his energy. Obedience, rally and agility are good outlets. Try some bitter apple spray on the edges of your rugs to discourage chewing.

    Ruth B, Australian Shepherd owner since 1996

  9. #9 Shay
    March 28, 2009

    Strongly recommend you get Bailey a Kong. It is the only toy our German Shepherds have never managed to destroy. Also, because of the odd shape, when you give it a good hard fling and it hits the ground, it will bounce in unexpected directions. Watching a working dog change course in mid-gallop is almost as good as watching a good cutting horse. Poetry in motion.

  10. #10 Orac
    March 28, 2009

    Bailey does indeed have a Kong. He can’t have any squeaky toys because he destroys them in no time flat, but so far he hasn’t managed to put a dent in the Kong. He really loves it when we put a dog biscuit that’s too big to pull out easily, along with a big glob of peanut butter. He usually manages to pull out one end of the treat and eat it without too much challenge, but getting the second half of it can take him hours.

    We also did wonder if he is an Australian Shepherd. He really does look like a black tricolor variety of that breed. Perhaps the identification of his mother as a smooth collie was in error, because he really does look more like an Australian Shepherd than a smooth collie.

  11. #11 Bob Calder
    March 28, 2009

    My condolences. A very smart dog is a fine companion, but they are demanding. Imagine the future of breeding with genetic modification for mental traits. Quite depressing on a weekend. Sorry.

  12. #12 Enkidu
    March 28, 2009

    Bailey is adorable and has quite the personality! Does he chase the squirrels, or just watch them in the trees? I think the first of my dogs to actually catch a squirrel will be looked up to as a God/Goddess by the others. :o)

  13. #13 Thomas
    March 28, 2009

    Daniel Andrews: That is the worst and funniest thing I´ve heard. Thanks for giving me todays laugh.

  14. #14 Joshua Zelinsky
    March 28, 2009

    Daniel, smart and willing to listen to what people want are not the same thing. People frequently confuse the two.

  15. #15 Paul
    March 28, 2009

    I always say that my dog is smart enough to decide whether or not he is going to listen to me.

  16. #16 Paul
    March 28, 2009

    Also, Orac, on topic, as a working breed, Bailey will do best if given a “job” to do. Many Border Collie/Aussie owners will pick one specific toy, and make it the dog’s job to bring it along wherever they go. A note of advice: if you do this, bring a completely different toy when Bailey will be interacting with other dogs, because he’ll be insanely protective of the one it’s his job to carry.

  17. #17 D. C. Sessions
    March 28, 2009

    We also did wonder if he is an Australian Shepherd. He really does look like a black tricolor variety of that breed. Perhaps the identification of his mother as a smooth collie was in error, because he really does look more like an Australian Shepherd than a smooth collie.

    Except for the tail, that was my thought.

    Best advice I can suggest on the subject: watch his full-tilt running gait carefully. An Aussie’s flat-out run is different from any other breed in that the Aussie gets near-equal power from the front and hind legs; other dogs use the hind legs for thrust and the front mostly idle along for guidance.

    It’s a good thing that Aussies are smart, because they are also extremely pack-defensive. Mine, who was terminally mellow, scared my mother white one day when we left her with my (infant) sons and didn’t take the time to clear her with the dog. She closed the door before he got in, which was good for all concerned. We never saw anything of the kind when we were around, though.

    Aussies aren’t big dogs, but I’ve seen them do standing high jumps of more then five feet. There’s a reason they do so well with Frisbies, and the same moves would work just fine for taking out someone’s throat if the need arose.

  18. #18 Orac
    March 28, 2009

    Reading up on Australian Shepherds, I did find that they can have tails. Also, remember, Bailey’s mixed. We don’t know what his other half is made up of. Speculations abound.

  19. #19 CanadianChick
    March 28, 2009

    cute puppy!

    but please, don’t follow the advice of “the dog whisperer” – that guy is a purveyor of what can only be described as canine woo. Totally inappropriate training methods based on long-out-of-date hypothesis about dog behaviour.

  20. #20 BlackOrchid
    March 28, 2009

    what a handsome young dog! he seems very sharp (attentive) and fun!

    simplest training advice I can give you – NILIF – “nothing in life is free” – works like a charm. if you are interested, here’s a link to a pretty good rundown:

    http://www.k9deb.com/nilif.htm

  21. #21 D. C. Sessions
    March 28, 2009

    Reading up on Australian Shepherds, I did find that they can have tails. Also, remember, Bailey’s mixed. We don’t know what his other half is made up of. Speculations abound.

    All Aussies are mixed — it’s part of their charm. Looks like Bailey got a hefty shot of the good stuff, wherever it came from. I’ll second the other advice, though, about keeping him busy and giving him things to do.

    Awesome dogs — If I were looking for another, it would be no contest.

  22. #22 storkdok
    March 28, 2009

    For hours of fun for the family and the family pets, I recommend The Yankee Flipper (this is not my video, haven’t taken the time to upload a video yet)…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bv9wTYMw5iA

    After repatriating dozens of squirrels to the local college (couldn’t bear to hurt them), we finally got a Yankee Flipper, partly because we almost got caught releasing them on campus after an article in the paper described a “sudden increase in the squirrel population at Bowdoin College”!

    Now we all get to enjoy their antics, including our dog, Sophie, who is now 16 years old and not as nimble as she once was. She is a mix, terrier and possibly Lhasa Apso according to our vet. Wonderful dog.

  23. #23 Thony C.
    March 28, 2009

    You say he’s not got Border Collie in him!?

  24. #24 Mrs. Orac
    March 28, 2009

    Hi this is Mrs. Orac and I’m feeling a little defensive right now in light of some of the “advice” given here.

    You know what, Bailey’s come a long way in the last 3 weeks. Sure he’s a little uncivilized, but he’s a puppy who spent most of his life in the tight quarters of a shelter cubicle with his brother. I have spent several hours a day since his arrival making sure he is adequately challenged, both physically and cognitively. BTW, I have a Master’s in clinical psych and am very skilled at consistently implementing behavioral interventions (not so different for a puppy, than for an impulsive child-praise what he does right, withdraw attention for undesirable behaviors, and add in some redirection or time outs when needed) Also, because I consider myself a responsible pet owner, I researched the temperament and activity level of collies/herding dogs before deciding to adopt Bailey, so I am aware of his needs. Oh yeah, and he has a Kong and any other semi-stimulating toy I could find that I thought might last more than 10 minutes in his busy little jaws. And he starts obedience class on Wednesday.

  25. #25 Mr. Orac
    March 28, 2009

    Oh and he hates Lysol (unfortunately so do I), so I spray it on anything I want him to leave alone or stop chewing.

  26. #26 D. C. Sessions
    March 28, 2009

    Hi this is Mrs. Orac and I’m feeling a little defensive right now in light of some of the “advice” given here.

    Huh? I honestly don’t see why you should.

    You have a beautiful little 6mo that we all agree is:
    1) Cuter than the law should allow,
    2) Sweet enough to cause tooth decay,
    3) Full of potential to be an awesome doggie,
    4) Shaping up quite nicely, and
    5) One seriously lucky dog.

    At that point, of course, the irresistable impulse comes in to offer “helpful” suggestions based on our own experiences [1] because we’re freaking envious.

    Go ahead — pet him. You know you want to.

    [1] As with kids, the one certain rule is that YMMV.

  27. #27 Rita
    March 28, 2009

    We’ve found the best way to solve any dog problems, get them fit, happy etc etc is have at least two – less work for you, much better for them. Oh, and don’t believe any trainer (actually dogs house train themselves, given the chance) who’s still talking that dominance rubbish.
    Rita

  28. #28 Mike
    March 28, 2009

    This situation is VERY similar to how my friend and I got a dog. She got her from the pound, and when we got her she was docile, sheepish, etc. Little did we suspect it was probably the anesthesia from getting her “fixed”. After a few days she went nuts. Running away constantly, jumping out of car windows while the car was running, etc.
    It’s been two years, and she has turned out to be a great dog. (Well, she still goes nuts over squirrels, but she’s a Lab, and people say that’s normal for the breed)
    So, give your new buddy some time, I’m sure the same will happen. Good luck!

  29. #29 IBY
    March 28, 2009

    What precisely does a smart dog mean? I can tell what a smart human is, but I don’t know what a smart dog is able to do. Anyways, congrats on the new dog. ^_^

  30. #30 D. C. Sessions
    March 28, 2009

    What precisely does a smart dog mean?

    That they are constantly figuring out ways to do things you don’t want them to, and just when you’re about to explode they demonstrate that they also figured out a way to do something cute or sweet or convenient and you just melt.


    dcs
    who has had two dogs who figured out doorknobs

  31. #31 Joseph C.
    March 28, 2009

    It’s great to hear that your dog is working out so well, Mr. and Mrs. Orac. My wife and I are looking forward to getting a dog later this year after we move so that I can start medical school. We’re probably going to get a Westie because we both really like that breed.

  32. #32 liz
    March 28, 2009

    I’m so happy you have a new puppy! And I agree about the peanut-butter-in-the-kong: my basset hound could spend hours trying to get every last speck out. What a hilarious sight! Since your new pup is so young, he has a lot to learn– I’m glad you and Mrs. Orac can be his teachers. Have fun– Liz

  33. #33 The Perky Skeptic
    March 29, 2009

    Oh, he is heart-meltingly precious!!!! :) You’re a lucky, lucky family!

  34. #34 Hank Roberts
    March 29, 2009

    > exercise
    http://www.google.com/search?q=dog+bicycle+exerciser

    Lifesaver. Attachment point is down at axle level so if the dog lunges sideways the wheel just skids an inch or two laterally (if the leash were attached up high the dog could pull you over). Attachment is short enough the dog can’t duck in between the wheels or in front of the bicycle.

    Thoughts in case useful:

    We adopted a full grown Akita many years ago, unexpectedly, after her owner died. Talk about scary smart. Wonderful years with her. The bicycle exerciser is really, really good for a dog that loves to run.

    Be visible with it. Given the curly Akita tail, we just put a big bright red flashing LED on her tail with a Velcro tie for added safety.

    People would pull up next to us, match our speed, roll down the window, lean over, pointing, laughing, almost in tears and stammer out ” t — t — t — TAIL light! –” and then drive off still laughing.

    It’s good to be noticed if you’ve got a dog next to your bike at night. Well worth trying.

    Two other recommendations: puppy class; it’s for the humans as well as the dog; it’s wonderful reassurance for the dog to learn the basics with a class like that. We took the Akita, though she was full grown, and she did as well as the puppies.

    And hand signals along with voice signals. Dogs love that stuff. I’ve known several that could recognize 40 or more different signals in each of whistle and voice and hand sign modes. Karen Pryor’s clickertraining is wonderful (so are her books on animal training).

    Or, heck, forget all that and just get a flock of sheep, or a kindergarden class, and let your pup get all the exercise and intellectual stimulus she needs keeping them bunched up (grin).

  35. #35 Phoenix Woman
    March 29, 2009

    Hmmm. Let’s see, here:

    – Smart as a whip. Check.

    – Stubborn as heck. Check.

    – Eats sitting down with paws tucked under his body. Check.

    – Attempts to help pet human with computer keyboard. Check.

    You have a cat in dog form, Orac!

  36. #36 CulturalIconography
    March 29, 2009

    And congratulations on the new family member! He sounds like a wonderful companion. We were owned for 13+ years by a Boston Terrier named Casey. We thought he was quite a sharp little fellow. Quite well mannered (most of the time) and of course, incredibly lovable. We were (and really still are) crazy about him. We’d like to think he had a good life with us.

    Of course Bailey has to help you blog! That’s one of his jobs, although I’m sure to him it’s a labor of love. He probably wonders how you got along without his assistance (yikes, rampant anthropomorphism, I know–but I have a soft spot for dogs and cats)!

    To paraphrase Bogart, I’m sure this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I don’t know if Bailey is a hugger, but if he is, please give him a hug for me. If not, I’m sure a treat will do nicely (I’m a bad influence, I know).

  37. #37 DLC
    March 29, 2009

    I’m more of a cat fan, but I have to admit, Dogs can be highly amusing to watch. Glad Bailey is working out for you, Orac.

  38. #38 Liesl
    March 29, 2009

    Puuuuuuuuuppy! Yay! I’m really glad y’all got another dog.

  39. #39 MikeMa
    March 29, 2009

    Bailey looks very much like many Aussie’s I’ve known. I’ve had an Aussie for nearly 12 years and she is a marvel – a mix of ingenuity and pugnacious intransigence. As part of a 4H training project, she learned to sit, down and heal beautifully but could never learn to stay. She hated ‘staying’ when we were not in sight. She also could never quite bring the ball back. The best we could ever get was about 6 feet away and she would actually toss the ball toward us with mixed results.
    I concur with the ‘Aussie’s need a job’ sentiment. If you don’t give them one they often find one you might not like. Enjoy the whole training experience because what you teach early they will keep for many years.
    Oh, and enjoy all the hair. We had friends who would collect it from us and spin it into yarn.

  40. #40 Daniel J. Andrews
    March 29, 2009

    “Daniel, smart and willing to listen to what people want are not the same thing. People frequently confuse the two. ”

    Quite right, Joshua. I did confuse the two. I should have known better. Thanks.

    Orac, what exactly didn’t you appreciate? My reference about a potential and understandable North American bias on your part towards your new family member? Apologies there, no insult intended, just poking fun at the fond parent syndrome.

    Or perhaps it was food preferences of different cultures? The Korean family I lived with were disgusted with North Americans because we kill millions of unwanted dogs per year. In their eyes that is the far greater cruelty, and a waste because with so many people hungry that food could have been put to charitable use.

    I was very upset at the time, but by the end of the summer over 25 years ago I lost my knee-jerk North American reaction to this topic. So no apologies for my, or other cultures’ views, but apologies for offending yours, or any other readers, normal emotional North American biases.

    Many of my friends have also lived in other cultures, taught English in foreign countries, and we all have managed to put our foot in our mouths at time because cross-cultural experiences have changed our views, and we sometimes forget others still have that reflex reaction. And if you think NA’s are touchy, you should see the look on some peoples’ faces when they learn what we do with our cows.

    You’ll be glad to know, however, that none of us cross-cultural travellers have broadened our views sufficiently to literally endorse Swift’s satirical modest proposal. :->

    If you want to delete this comment, that is your perogative. I’ll still cheer you on as you take on antivaxxers and the other stupid. Glad to know though that Orac does have some typical human reactions left in his clear plastic box of lights. :)

  41. #41 Denice Walter
    March 29, 2009

    Orac and Ms.Orac: just wait a bit(BTW,he’s gorgeous!).Four years ago, I adopted a 6 month old tabby cat,called at first,”cuckoo” by my SO and proclaimed “wild” by others.He had great jumping ability even then,which has since developed.Along the way, he destroyed an antique 3′x 6′ mirror**,probably a dozen cups and glasses,various other household items, *and* learned to catch tossed soda straws in midair , play “fetch”(a feat for cats),and find (deliberately) hidden objects.Unlike dogs, cats like to “look down” at us(i.e. perch on cabinets, bookcases,etc. that they’ve leapt upon)- at least, you don’t have to worry about *that*.Although he remains active and intelligent,he *did* calm down – now , everyone loves and admires him.**(I don’t believe in bad luck)

  42. #42 David
    March 29, 2009

    I vote border collie. I’ve had 2 aussies and 1 b.c. – IMHO the difference is the higher energy level of the border collie, and the tendency to go nuts and chew if not occupied. Paul’s idea of having a job to do is a good one. I teach mine a new trick about once a month. There is no finer dog.

  43. #43 Faithful Reader
    March 29, 2009

    Congrats! I must have missed the announcement of Bailey’s arrival. Good for you for getting him out of a shelter. Sometimes that tough early environment can make civilizing a bit harder because you don’t really know what his puppy days were like.

    Lots of exercise and a job to do are the keys to a smart, high-energy dog.

  44. #44 medrecgal
    March 29, 2009

    Glad to see you guys have a new canine friend. Looks like he’s pretty cute, and from your description he’s like most other puppies…a world of trouble! Here’s to hoping Bailey will bring you both many years of companionship, love, and a little mischief along the way.

  45. #45 rrt
    March 29, 2009

    I have no advice to give…just want to echo “Puuuupppyyy!” and express my vicarious joy at YOUR joy. Dogs are awesome, and I’m so glad you have one back in your life.

  46. #46 Skeptyk
    March 29, 2009

    Aussie mix is my guess, too. And I concur with most of the Aussie advice you are getting here. My Aussie-Lab is super smart, athletic, snuggly and also eats lying down like that. We adopted him as a sickly 7-year old two years ago. He herds the cats. Consider setting up an agility course for him. He’ll love it, and Aussies tend to kick butt if you ever compete. It’s a great workout for both of you.

    You have a couple fun years ahead. Adolescent dogs are always testing the hierarchy, and crave leadership even as they challenge it.

  47. #47 Snout
    March 29, 2009

    Finally, Bailey also seems to think that he can help me blog…
    …I wonder if I can come up with a blatant ripoff of Chad’s dialogues with his dog, only about quackery and medicine. Hmmmm. I might have to get Bailey his own Facebook page, just like Chad’s dog Emmy.

    Whaddya mean “seems to think”? As a Smooth collie/Border Collie cross myself, let me assure you that blogging about pseudoscience and quackery is in our genes: as satisfying as rounding up sheep and kind of the same in a way.

    Just get him his own laptop (once he’s past the chewing stage) and let him run free.

  48. #48 dessessopsid
    March 29, 2009

    Just waiting on some gratuitous ihasahotdog input from Orac now… I’m sure the captions will be filled with insolence.

  49. #49 Laurie
    March 30, 2009

    No advice, just a comment. Many dogs that have been in crowded conditions with other dogs lay down at feeding time to eat. It seems to lessen the rivalry for food, and seems to be something the dogs arrive at on their own.

    Since your dog came from a shelter, that probably explains the behavior during mealtimes.

    Be sure to keep him busy. Tired dogs are happy dogs.

  50. #50 Tracy W
    March 30, 2009

    Iby: What precisely does a smart dog mean? I can tell what a smart human is, but I don’t know what a smart dog is able to do.

    One example. As a teenager I was at home alone one day studying for exams. The dog was inside at the time and suddenly came to the door of the room I was in, barked to get my attention, and then walked away, then came back to see if I was following. I got up and followed, to discover that the rest of my family had forgotten their keys and were locked out, and were yelling and hammering but the layout of the house meant I hadn’t heard them.
    We had not trained the dog to do this and she never did it again, despite getting lots of praise for her good deed, presumably because the family didn’t lock themselves out again with me studying in the other end of the house.

    This dog was a stray we discovered, couldn’t find the owners, and couldn’t let be put down. The vet’s guess was that she was a German shepherd-corgi mix, which makes the mind boggle.

    Opposite example. My uncle’s new dog wanted to get through a doorway with a screen door that was partially open with his stick. Problem, the stick was too wide for the dog to walk through the gap holding the stick in his mouth in the middle. Okay, dog tries holding the stick in his mouth at the left end and going through the gap. Same problem. Dog holds stick in his mouth at the right end and tries to go through the gap. Same problem. Dog drops stick, apparently thinking, one can almost see the lightbulb go off. Dog picks up stick in the middle and tries to go through the gap.

  51. #51 DonZilla
    March 30, 2009

    Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Orac on Bailey! I’m so happy for you.

    Obedience classes will be great. My little soon-to-be five month old pup graduated puppy kindergarten last week. He’s on to obedience next.

    I’m sure Echo is smiling down from the Rainbow Bridge to make sure you’ll give Bailey the same great life you gave her . . . oops, woo slip . . .

    Donzilla

  52. #52 JustaTech
    March 30, 2009

    More pointless suggestions: My parents have a Aussie-ish mix (tail-less and very dainty) that they keep talking about getting trained to herd. Specifically, trained to herd Canada geese off golf-courses. It’s less destructive to the geese and good for the greens, and the dog gets a job. Somehow they’ve never gotten around to it, but I think it would be very cool. (It is very time-demanding of the humans involved.)

  53. #53 HolfordWatch
    March 31, 2009

    Did someone mention collies rounding up sheep? Get ready for extreme shepherding.

    Congratulations on Bailey – a handsome, wicked smart, healthy dog.

  54. #54 Mike Dunford
    April 2, 2009

    Way late to the party here, but…

    I have no idea how reliable the documentation you got is, so I could wind up being wrong, but I’d be shocked if he’s not mostly or all border collie. Every picture you’ve put up, and everything in your description of his personality, is totally consistent with the breed – especially if he’s from an American Border Collie Association line instead of an AKC line. (The ABCA breeds for working standards and not looks, so there’s a lot of variability in appearance.)

    Of course, since you’re treating Bailey like Bailey and not like a generic representative of a breed, it doesn’t make much difference what breed(s) are in him.

    It looks like all 3 of you really got lucky.

  55. #55 John Luiza
    April 2, 2009

    Beautiful dog! We just got our own 8 month old and she will keep my GF company while I study when I start med school in the fall! Best of luck and thank you for your blogging. I am enjoying catching up on your posts.

  56. #56 spondee
    April 6, 2009

    Bailey appears to be the chic dog name of the moment. I just got my Brittany as a rescue dog last week and we named him Bailey. Then I found out that my mom’s coworker has a Bailey, my co-worker has a Bailey, there’s another Bailey in the Brittany rescue system where I got my Bailey, and now Orac.

    WTF is up with Bailey?