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 Pet talk!

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AnyaSkywalker

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PostSubject: Pet talk!   Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:11 am

Pets are a major part of many people's lives - it doesn't really matter what pet it is chances are that it's loved and cared for.

I've had hamsters and a rabbit before - while they are interesting, I decided for something slightly different in the form of degus (Octodon degus). They're kinda like a cross between a chinchilla and a guinea pig, with an insatiable curiosity and are pretty intelligent. They are highly destructive though. In the UK, they are exotic animals that you can own and, at the minute, there's no licensing requirements for them; they are relatively new in terms of pets here.

What pets in this community? Any funny stories about past and present pets are welcome, as are questions and answers about any pet!
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Rebel_A97

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PostSubject: Re: Pet talk!   Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:17 am

I've only seen Degus in pictures, but they seem like cool little pets. How different are their personalities from Chinchillas?

I've had dwarf and syrian hamsters before. I love both of them, their personalities are different as night and day, but I do wish they would live longer. Mine didn't bite and were hand trained, I think that's the key if one is to get a hamster.

After Chewie died, I needed to pour my heart into an animal that would last more than 3yrs. So enter the dog world again I did, except to look for hypoallergenic ones. Thus 5yrs ago I got my Luke, whom I love to bits.
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AnyaSkywalker

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PostSubject: Re: Pet talk!   Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:00 am

I don't know how different they are from chinchillas as I've never had chinchillas. They're prey animals, but are really curious about their surroundings and love new things in their environment. As with any pet, they differ from individual to individual; one of mine is very cheeky and bossy but not so smart, while the other is quiet and a bit shy, but very intelligent. My boys love running up and down the stairs while they're out playing! They live 5-8 years, maybe a bit longer so they're long lived for a small animal!

I love hamsters but it is a shame that they have such short lifespans. I had a couple of odd ones that were a tad nippy, but came around when they started to trust you. It's the trouble though, loving something so small - they never live long enough. They always get into your heart and your heart always breaks when they leave.

I'd love to have a dog, but I'm still living at home and my parents aren't animal people, unfortunately. I love unusual breeds of dog, no matter the size! I'm not allergic to pet fur or dander, but how hard was it to find Luke?
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Rebel_A97

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PostSubject: Re: Pet talk!   Sat May 03, 2014 7:30 am

Degus seem like cool animals. What are the names of your two boys? What breed of dog would you like to have one day?

Same here! I love the rare breeds, if I could have one (if I didn't have allergies) I'd get a Kooikhondje. They're Dutch dogs: http://waterboundkooikers.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/for-standard.jpg

You're so lucky you're not allergic! It wasn't really that hard to find Luke, I just had to look up Coton de Tulear breeders near my area and found one in Pennsylvania. Although expensive, he's definitely worth it. And he acts big too as if he's the alpha of the complex (which he thinks he is). Very Happy
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AnyaSkywalker

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PostSubject: Re: Pet talk!   Sat May 03, 2014 8:55 am

My boys are called Widgit and Sprocket. Widgit means "baby or male gremlin" - he's an absolute terror and is a wee bit of a biter. Sprocket is the name of the teeth on a cog or in gears, but he isn't much of a chewer. I just liked the sounds of the words, and the sound of them together!

I'd love to have a golden retriever as my first dog - I've loved the breed since losing my fear of dogs. My grandfather had a rescued Goldie, who was the biggest and friendliest thing I'd ever met. He was the most lovely shade of deep red-gold and had a fine, but happy face to him. He was a total suck though -he'd have to be at your side at all times, or else he'd be sitting in top of you if he had the chance! Having a medium size breed by your side is one thing, but having a 30kg+ male dog on your lap is another! I'd like to have a Norwegian Elkhound (http://www.petforums.co.uk/resources/images/thumb/0/01/Norwegian-Elkhound.jpg/350px-Norwegian-Elkhound.jpg), which are unusual in the UK - my aunt rescues them, and they're fantastic guard dogs and great family pets. They're loud when they need to be, but so cuddly when they don't need to be. The female Elkie my aunt has now is mental - she listens sometimes to up my aunt and uncle, and for guests, but nearly all the time to the 5 year old son. They tend to be a one-person dog; they love everyone in the family and friends circle, but they have one favourite that they'll sit beside and cuddle most - that dog would sit beside him and follow him anywhere, though when they all met her and the paperwork was being processed for her, she was very boisterous on their first walk in a local forest and knocked him into a puddle, to which he said he didn't like her and she should be given back. She's calmed down now and he loves her. I have a soft spot for the (UK) Staffordshire Bull Terrier, but they've been overbred here and have a reputation for being aggressive. The few I've met have been so cuddly and playful with everyone and every dog, so it's quite sad for them to be labelled like that.

One of my close friends has one of the Staffies, and she has worked with the dog to be a good breed ambassador; it's sad to see people bundle a child or a dog away from this dog at our heels, just for her look. She's still young, and doesn't understand why she might get shouted at or have a kick aimed at her. If you were sitting at my friend's house, this dog would happily curl up in your lap and go to sleep. To me, it's irresponsible breeders breeding aggressive dogs, and irresponsible owners not caring for the dogs properly or allowing them to become aggressive.

I'm happy as long as whatever animal in my life loves me back. I may have to bribe them to love me, though! I've bribed horses to be good with Polo mints and apples! The dominant mare was tricky but I bribed her a bit and asserted myself over her, much to her displeasing! She was a big horse - over 16 1/2 hands tall, so a bit of bribing was needed to get her to behave!
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Rebel_A97

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PostSubject: Re: Pet talk!   Sun May 11, 2014 11:17 pm

Widget and Sprocket are cool names; I like how you thought into it too. Was Widget not hand raised, is that why he bites?

Golden Retrievers are awesome dogs! If I didn't have allergies, I would've gotten them although I'm quite happy with the Coton. Norwegian Elkhounds are also cool; I've never seen one before. That's cool that you have and good job to your aunt who rescues them! What do you think you would name your future dog?

Yeah bully breeds tend to get a bad reputation b/c of what they were bred to do years ago and b/c all of the attacks on people. They kick at your friend's dog? That's wrong and abusive; has your friend ever tried to call the police on them? I agree with your last statement in your third paragraph, but I still believe they can just turn like some other breeds can. I had a Husky out with me (when I worked in a kennel) and the dog was calm and friendly. Next thing I knew he was growling at me, teeth bared and all. So I believe any breed can just turn.

Oh that's so cool you get to be with horses too! I love them as well, but haven't had much experience with them. I've been near minis and one Mustang, but Cisco was older. What breeds were the horses you were near?
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Arca Hejaran

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PostSubject: Re: Pet talk!   Wed May 14, 2014 11:51 am

Yes, any breeds can turn when they're unnerved. The trick is to find out what the problem is before they turn.

I'm all into cats, I just love them :-)
My current cat (my old one was in heat and left me for a tomcat; never saw her since) is quiet but sometimes she turned on me too - it was because she didn't like me (or anyone else) to touch her belly.
My cats even taught me some of their language but it was mostly about food, water or wishing to go for a walk.
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AnyaSkywalker

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PostSubject: Re: Pet talk!   Thu May 15, 2014 2:14 am

Rebel, as far as I'm aware, my boys weren't handraised but were around people from their birth. I think Widgit may be a tad odd and it may have been a phase he was in. The pair of them are snipped though as Widgit was a vicious little bully with Sprocket - the pair of them were almost put to sleep as Sprocket was almost ripped to shreds and Widgit was too aggressive. They're a lot better now!

I tend to name animals on a theme, like the colour of their coat or their animal/breed history. If I had a Norwegian Elkhound, I'd go for a Viking name like Thor, or if I had a Golden Retriever, I'd go for a Gaelic name, like Sorcha. I may also go for a name that means something personal to me, like the nickname of a grandparent, like Bertie.

As much as the Staffie is both loved and feared here, the police won't do anything. They tend to recommend keeping the dog on a leash at all times or to walk it at unsociable times; to me, that's poor advice as dogs need to be able to run in a safe area and to interact (where able!) with other dogs and with people. The police won't do anything unless your dog is a serious danger to other people or is seriously injured by being hit/kicked or poisoned.

The police do get it wrong about dangerous dogs here; we have 4 banned breeds (Pit bull, Filo Braziliero, Japanese Tosa and Dogo Argentino) and any crosses of them. If someone is found to have one, it needs to be assessed to see if it's safe to be around people and animals - if it is, it is neutered and tattooed for additional identification, has to be muzzled and kept on a leash at all times, and walked by someone over the age of 16, who is also able to control it. If it isn't, it is destroyed. It has been extended to include any dog that displays severe aggression and/or has bitten/attacked people. This amendment isn't cited by the public as many people want to highlight the four banned breeds, and how this law hasn't been implemented well. In my opinion, some people don't want to admit that their dog is a dangerous dog, even though it isn't one of the banned breeds. As Arca has said, any dog can turn - it can be the nicest dog, but something simple, like moving too quickly or hearing a car, can cause it to become unnerved and flip out. I think it comes down to the breed history and each individual dog. You can have two dogs from the same litter - one can be the sweetest thing, and the other can be the nastiest little creature.

The most famous dangerous dog trial here was the case of Lennox, a Labrador/American Bulldog cross - I'm on the fence about this dog as I've heard both really good things and really bad things about the dog. He was removed from his house for one of two reasons - he looked like a pitbull cross or he was extremely aggressive towards deliverymen over a period of time. He was kept for over 2 years in the council pound, where he was assessed; I've heard that he was lovely to people he trusted and vicious to others. The family kept pleading with the council and with the courts to allow the dog to come home as he was their dog; they were unsuccessfully in all of their cases and he was ultimately destroyed. I'm on the fence as dogs can be extremely loyal to their family, but if he was aggressive to delivery men over a period of time and they didn't control him or remove him from the front of their house, he could have bitten them. I know from volunteering in a dog shelter, dogs can be stressed by living away from their usual surroundings, so a bit of slack could have been given there. I think both the council and the family should have conducted it better as the council has been painted by so many organisations as the aggressor here; the family painted them as bullies and cowards for doing their jobs and trying to prevent even more dog bites.

I think more needs to be done to educate dog owners, as some owners do their dogs a disservice by not training, socialising or looking after them properly, causing a string of poorly behaved and aggressive dogs. There are plenty of small dogs that are good family pets, but the majority I've seen have no boundaries - they are vicious little ankle biters, that'll flip as soon as you look at them. If a medium sized dog, like a Golden Retriever, was jumping up on people or biting people, they'd be put to sleep because they're big and can do some damage to people - smaller dogs get away with it because of ignorant owners, who aren't willing to take time to teach their dogs manners. Just a small pet peeve of mine.

When I was on work experience with the horses, they were Irish Sports Horses (also known as Irish Hunters) - a mixture of Irish Draught and Thoroughbred. They can be used for just about every event, but the two mares that were broken in, and the filly that was about to be broken in, were dressage and show jump horses. The dominant mare needed some serious bribing from me - I hadn't worked with horses before so I was chucked in at the deep end. I love working with animals so it was easy for me to go there and clean them out, put them into the field and feed them. She told me that she's never seen someone with no horse experience work with confidence around her horses, especially the dominant mare - the dominant mare was in control but she could be difficult to manage at times. The second broken in mare was amazing to work with - she was so laid back that she was almost horizontal. You could have done almost anything to that horse and she would have let you do it. Her foal, the filly, was between her temperament and the dominant mare's - she could be difficult to handle, but she was still young. Those three horses are so incredibly beautiful. The dominant mare and the second mare were chestnut coloured, and the filly was a dark bay colour. The woman also had a couple of ponies there that were stabled there - I don't know the breeds of them, but they were fire crackers. They were great to watch in the field - the dominant mare was in a field with one of the ponies and they would chase each other and squeak and whinny to each other. They were so close - they even had to go on hacks together!! I've worked with Shetland ponies a bit too - they can be nasty. They can be really stubborn and a bit nippy if they're unhappy.

Arca, I'm not so keen on cats as I've had really bad experiences with them. I've been bitten and scratched by them so many times - I've read cat books and everything to see where I've gone wrong but I can't seem to find the answer. I've met a couple of cats which are pretty awesome; one was a semi-feral stable cat that wanted her head scratched all the time - her behaviour was textbook and so easy to read. She would meow at you and wrap herself around your feet when you were opening the feed store - she'd be up on the counter when you'd be getting the horses' breakfast ready, and would be giving kitty headbutts, meowing loudly, until you would pet her. If you didn't pet her enough, she'd start batting a hand so you'd pet her again. She was incredibly odd. The other cat that was nice, was a house cat and would curl onto your lap - I know that cats tend to ignore people if they fuss over them, but he was happy for people to ignore him or fuss over him. He would give kitty headbutts, and purr so loudly - I've never heard any cat purr so loudly in my life. He was so chilled out about everything - I'd make the fur between his ears into a little fauxhawk and he wouldn't care. All he wanted was a lap to keep warm on! I want a couple more cats to restore my faith in them!

I fully understand people's preferences to certain animals, because of allergies or personal experiences and all. It's good to see people gain a better understanding of animals, especially of their own pets.
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Rebel_A97

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PostSubject: Re: Pet talk!   Tue May 20, 2014 1:38 pm

The trick is to find out what the problem is before they turn.
^Yes, but there are some that just can turn. I had a Lab out with me one time, was fine, tail wagging, and then just a second later he decides to attack me. Luckily I grabbed his scruff and someone else took him back. Happened to another person at the kennel too, she said the dog was fine with her and then just cornered her growling.

That's cool you take your cats for a walk! How long do you walk them for? Or is it just to let them sniff the grass?

That's cool with the theme name, Anya.

and kept on a leash at all times, and walked by someone over the age of 16, who is also able to control it. If it isn't, it is destroyed.
^I think the destroyed part is a bit over the top, but I agree with the rest. Those dogs are strong! There's a leash law here but some don't listen and there's this one Pit that's off his leash. My dog isn't fond of them and it would be nice if that dog was leashed (for other people's safety too).

It has been extended to include any dog that has bitten/attacked people.
^That I agree with. I think if a dog has bitten someone repeatably, they should be put down. I don't even think dogs that have fought other dogs should be adopted out either, why risk it?

The most famous dangerous dog trial here was the case of Lennox, a Labrador/American Bulldog cross
^I heard about that dog too. I heard that Victoria Stilwell was advocating for the dog to be released; I like her as a trainer.

I think more needs to be done to educate dog owners, as some owners do their dogs a disservice by not training, socialising or looking after them properly, causing a string of poorly behaved and aggressive dogs.
^How right you are!! There are some dog owners here that just tie up their dogs to the back yard and think "they're fine". No walks ever, how is that stimulating for a dog? I pass one all the time when walking Luke and feel so bad for her, she's sweet too (she's escaped multiple times).

There are plenty of small dogs that are good family pets, but the majority I've seen have no boundaries - they are vicious little ankle biterst
^I have yet to see that yet in small dogs although I have heard it. There was a website that called it Small Dog Syndrome and I totally think a lot of small dog owners have that. "Oh that's so cute my dog jumped up." Yeah if it was a bigger dog you'd be saying that dog didn't have manners, seriously a Chihuahua is a dog too. Teach them.

That's still neat that you got to work with horses! I've never seen an Irish Sport Horse, but I've seen pictures of them and they're beautiful, so are Shetlands. I've heard miniature horses have more of an attitude than the bigger ones, is this true?

Oh hey Arca--since you know cats--my aunt/uncle had a Russian Blue that was mean as anything. They'd even tell my brother and I to watch out if Santana was in the room. Well one time when we were visiting, we were watching a movie on the floor and Santana walked by and rubbed against my leg. I had to do a double take to see if it was the same cat, why do you think he did that? Finally showing some sweetness in his old age?

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AnyaSkywalker

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PostSubject: Re: Pet talk!   Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:56 pm

It's all health and safety over here Sad. I can see why they want to protect people - having a dangerous or aggressive dog destroyed is basically the ultimate public protection against future attacks. I know there's a whole school of thought that every dog can be rehabilitated, but sometimes your good intentions are misguided and don't work. What kind of life would the dog have if it was confined to a kennel, and the only exercise it would have would be a leashed and muzzled walk, possibly during the dead of night?

Victoria Stilwell is a very good trainer and I respect her a lot. I wish that she brought more light to the case, and presented it fairly - it was so poorly managed.

In the UK, there are specific dog laws (like the Dangerous Dogs Act, and the Breeding of Dogs Act) along with more generalised animal welfare laws (like the Animal Welfare Act and the Abandonment of Animals Act) - people have been charged with animal welfare charges for cruel confinement if their dogs are kept in a crate unfairly or kept on a chain without adequate care, although some farmers here keep watch dogs on chains (to prevent the dog from getting hold of someone). Crate training is good, but not if the dog is kept in there all the time.

I honestly think that a dog should be treated like a dog - its paws should be on the ground, and it shouldn't be wearing anything but its own fur (although in certain climates, short haired dogs can wear jumpers or any dog can wear booties if needed). Training is necessary to prevent any unwanted and aggressive behaviour.

Irish Sports Horses are lovely to work with. Even in the breed, they have a range of personalities - some are very Thoroughbred-like and highly strung, and some are very Irish Draught-like and so laid back they were almost horizontal. Big horses have an attitude, but if you train them right, they can be lovely. You have to remember that horses can spook at anything, and an animal that can weigh 600kgs+ can do some serious damage to you, itself, other people and animals, and to property. Smaller horses are like smaller dogs - they have that Small Dog/Horse attitude and will try to take advantage of you if you let your guard slip. I was putting a saddle onto a Shetland pony one day and he turned round and bit my thigh - he got a bit of a hit from me to stop his attitude and had me shout at him so he knew I was the dominant "mare" over him. He was a nasty little creature - an adorable but nasty little creature. I had an apple sized bruise on the inner back side of my right thigh for 3 weeks after he chomped me. He just turned sour quickly and didn't give me much warning on how unhappy he was.
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