Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

There was a wild bull in our house, and a cowboy was trying to ride it.

The bull tried lying down...

Jumping up..

Sudden stops...

But the cowboy stayed on!

I don't know how long the cowboy will last, that bull has eyes of fire!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Birth order - does it matter?

There are many studies on the importance of birth order in humans. How it can determine personality as well as success. I've never seen a study of birth order in dogs, but from my unscientific observation, the studies work just as well for dogs. A friend has two Irish Wolfhound puppies, both male, full brothers but from different litters, about 8 months apart in age.

They follow the classic formula. The first born is serious, worried about getting things right, and feels driven to be perfect. The younger brother is carefree, not worried about anything.

Look at the photos below. Can you tell which is which?

The older brother is on the left. The whole time I was taking photos, he was focused on me, worried about what he was supposed to be doing, what did I want, wondering if he should be protecting his brother. Meanwhile his brother was enjoying life, and thinking "Yay, a human to pet me!"

I don't think birth order in a litter matters, but in a household of several dogs, it could be very important.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Tale of Tails

Dogs are very expressive with their tails. Since Irish Wolfhounds have such long tails, they have lots of expressions.

The first expression we learned from Finn was unfortunately an unhappy one. He was tired, worried and stressed from his move, and his tail hung straight down, or was curved in under his belly a bit.

Here you can see Finn, tail tucked up.

Here his tail just hangs straight down. Not fearful, just not quite happy.

A confident relaxed wolfhound has a curl at the end of their tail. Each dog is unique in the curl, some just make a 'J' at the end, some curl more.

Here is Finn sniffing something. His attention is on something else, but his tail still has a bit of a curl in it.

Out means confident.

Here is Finn with his 'swagger tail' on a walk around our neighborhood.

Up high means play.

This is Finn and Zack, 5 seconds before they both start to run and play.

It also can be used as a rudder, for sharp turns.
Of course Finn also gets 'Happy Tail' whenever we are heading out for a walk, or when we get home.