Willow in her natural environment. She has taken to eating all the snow she can find. Right now it’s melting, and there is an ice path leading along the side of my apartment that is covered in water. (Water on top, ice on bottom.) No picture of that, though. This is her on Valentine’s Day.
Posts Tagged ‘australian shepherds’
Tags: australian shepherds, dogs, ice, snow, valentines day
Tags: animal communication, australian shepherds, beagles, dog barks, dogs, neural networks
Being in close proximity to two dogs for many hours per day over the past two years, I have come to recognize different barks that my dogs make as meaning different things.
Willow, my Australian Shepherd, has a bark that is very strained, urgent, fast, and loud that she uses to say she is in kill mode. She uses this bark on things like cats and people or dogs that come onto our property at night. She has another bark that says, “Pick up the damn ball I just dropped at your feet and play!” This particular bark makes me want to smack her, but of course, I don’t. Its insolence is simultaneously annoying and endearing.
My beagle Daedalus has a wider array of barks. The best is the beagle howl. This isn’t like a howling wolf, but more of a trumpeting ARRROOOOOOOOOOOOOO. It is crazy loud and at first it was annoying, but now it just cracks me up. He has a much more annoying bark he uses to say “Willow has a treat and I want it!” This bark is loud, quick, and incessant. He also uses this bark to alert us to the presence of animals. When we visited my mother over Christmas, he would bark at her ferrets this way. He wouldn’t attack them outright, since that isn’t really his nature, but he would get very close and bark and bark and bark and bark. This is beagle breeding kicking in, since they are bred to track game and alert the hunters to its location.
So a new study reveals what most dog owners probably already took for granted. There really is a dog language that other dogs understand and use to communicate with each other. Using a neural network, Hungarian researchers were able to detect key features in barks that indicated the situation that caused them. Accuracy of the software was different based on the situation. But that the system was able to abstract similarities between the barks was pretty good evidence that there are common barking patterns for different activities. My hope is that this research will encourage further studies that may be more accurate. Perhaps being more accurate just isn’t possible, but that would also be interesting to know.
I see a valuable commercial interest here: create a collar attachment that monitors the dog and whenever it barks, it speaks aloud — in English — the sentiment the dog is expressing.
WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!
“Aggression… Aggression… Aggression…”
Tags: australian shepherds, dog parks, dogs, frick park
Tags: australian shepherds, digital cameras, dogs, photography, snow, winter
It snowed yesterday enough to cover the ground, but freezing rain turned to rain overnight and it was all gone by morning. It’s back to flurrying today and there was one stretch that was particularly beautiful as the snow was whipped around by the wind. It could have been a blizzard if it lasted for more than 10 minutes.
That picture came out better than I expected, actually. I’ve had difficulty in the past getting snow to show up on film and be anything more than a gray fuzz in the air. I used flash with the “action shot” setting on my camera. Speaking of cameras, I need a new one. This one is going on four years old. And I guess film is the wrong word there since this is a digital camera, so what I would call it? Showing up on silicon?
Tags: australian shepherds, dog park, dogs, frick park, frisbee, puddles, water
The dog park over winter has no operating water fountains, so we either have to bring in water or find it. Willow prefers to find it. Granted, she was really hot (and thirsty) after our first round of frisbee. School is just about over (minus one final) so I’ve been working from home for the past couple days. The result is that my dog obsession is peaking again.
Tags: australian shepherds, dog park, dogs, frick park, frisbee, obsession, pit bulls, toy possession
Look at that cute little dirty nose. Went to the dog park. Daedal was being good today, but Willow was being possessive with her frisbee and attacking any dog that got too close. Multiple dominations were required and it was hard to keep my cool, which doesn’t help. On the way out, we were throwing the frisbee and someone released their dog to go “play” with her. So the pit bull charges Willow down as she’s bringing back the frisbee and she snaps at it and they get into a scuffle. For one thing, damn pit bulls. For another, why does she insist on picking on dogs so much scarier? One of the dogs she was getting snappy with was a great dane three or four times her size. She’s a fierce little devil.
Australian shepherds are supposed to be good protectors. She’s so scrawny, it’s hard to believe she could be. Contrary to the name, Australian shepherds didn’t originate in Australia. They were bred from several different breeds in the western United States in the 1800′s. Originally, one of their ancestors probably came from Spain where Basque farmers used them with their livestock. During the landrushes of the 1800′s, many breeds were mixed in the American West. Dogs of UK and Spanish descent are believed to have contributed the most to the breed that came to be known as Australian Shepherds. The name seems to have come more from the fact that herding dogs were bred for specific landscapes in Australia and that practice was applied to this emerging breed. So Australian Shepherds are to Australia as Continental Breakfasts are to Europe.
I’m no expert here, so if I’m wrong, hopefully someone with more knowledge will fill in the gaps and/or correct bad info. As I understand it, there is a good deal of controversy.