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how much exercise?
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Illona
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PostPosted: 01/13/03, 4:53 pm    Post subject: how much exercise? Reply with quote

Sorry this message is going to be long, but I'm in desperate need of some advice, and don't know where else to turn but you guys.

I have an 11-month old GWP rescue. We got her at 6 months of age and she was crazy. Couldn't walk her without the leash braced around your waist. She has gotten much better through constant and hard work. She took top of her obedience class, will be taking more ob. classes, and has just started agility.

She has a wonderful temperament, is keen to learn, but has a severe hunting drive. Honestly, there are days I wish a hunter had adopted her.
Her daily exercise includes: 1 to 1 1/2 hours of leash work, including long-line work, and 1-2 hours in a 5-acre leash-free park where she goes nuts with vislas and a couple GSPs. Matea now resembles a GWPitbull, her muscles are so huge.

However, I've encountered problems at the leash-free park. She was attacked 3 times by a pair of mature Ridgebacks (a brother & sister), once resulting in a gash to her shoulder. I'm not a whiner and didn't lodge a complaint, since (a) the owner is intimidating, and (b) I figure this is the risk you take a dogpark. But then in early Dec. I was confronted by the ridgeback's owner with accusations that Matea 'attacked' his dog. I saw the injury, and honestly, it looked like no more than a raw mark in the middle of ear. THere was no bleeding. However, the guy's sister is a vet tech, and he took his dog there. We were presented with a vet bill of $150 for a stitch to the dog's ear. The thing is, we wanted witnesses. Matea was 6 seconds out of my sight at the time of the alleged incident (and I should add that she's terrified of these dogs, and until that day, I always walked the other way to avoid them). When the incident occured, she was running w/ a poodle and disappeared over the hill for 6 secs. When she returned, the ridgeback was in pursuit. I called her, and we continued walking. The problem with this incident is that even the owner claims he didn't see it happen; that's why we asked for witnesses before we paid his bill. We never heard more on it, until now. Now we're banned from going to the park. At 11 months old Matea has been labelled "aggressive". No evaluation. No hearing. Nothing. Frankly, this has become a smear campaign that has been bred out of the vindictiveness of this one individual, and I have full faith that whatever witnesses there are, aren't even legitimate.

Still, I don't have the emotional energy or the finances to fight this. Matea has never shown aggression. We walk daily with a regular group at the park,and they all comment on what an asset she is to their dogs' play, and how she's gotten less defensive even though she's suffered numerous aggressions from other dogs. At this point, I don't want anything to do with this park. I'm on my own in regards to exercise, and this is where I need some advice... (again, I'm sorry this is so long-winded)

I anticipated this day would come, and have been working with Matea on a long-line for the past several weeks. In an open field, fetching a stick, she's awesome. I can even let the line go. However, I have to constantly voice-control her the entire time: 'this way' 'come back' 'here', etc. When walking her on a wooded or swamp-land trail, however, Matea is on her own. I've even tried hiding behind trees, and she doesn't care whether I'm there or not. She's terribly independent (an asset, as we can leave her alone in the house for short periods of time out-of-crate). I wouldn't trust her off-leash yet, and I'm really concerned about her getting enough exercise.

Help. Yes, I researched the breed extensively before we adopted, but we were counting on this park as an outlet and she plays so well with other dogs. So, without the park, I'm at a loss re. how much excercise she truly needs. I would love to hear from others who have GWPs as companion animals, to find out what you do for exercise, and how much. I don't feel that she gets true exercise on a leash, and although our yard is deep enough for a good romp (25' x 80') I don't think it's enough. I'm really desperate here. I only want what's best for Matea.

Thank you all.
Illona
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dualgwp
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PostPosted: 01/13/03, 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Illona, I'm sorry about your dilema and dont have anything of worth to add concerning liability.

But, Im not surprised about your Wires non ability to "fit in" with group play. In my history with the breed, once they decide someone is unsafe(either doggie or human) they simply never trust or like them ever again. To be out of your sight even for a short time with the dreaded Ridgebacks could indeed instigate a "bite". Not that I am taking anyones side here!!! Someone else certainly could have done the deed!

One thing everyone that adopts this breed just has to remember... this is a hunting dog, one bred to find, point and retrieve both furry critters and featherd critters. Furry includes such large animals such as fox, much larger than you local cat! To deny this breed his heritage is just denying that sooner or later there may be problems with city life! Sure they can be trained to ignore such things, but once they are loose, and out of sight... beware.
The sweetest bitch I have ever owned, who by the way gets along with even the most obnoxious male dogs,,,,, will kill a large groundhog or racoon! With most dogs, all she has to do is swing around, give them that look and snarl and they will leave her be. However, if they didn't.... I would be afraid of her wrath and the hurtin she would put on the offender. So therefore, I never ever get her in that postion. It's not fair to her, nor to the owner of the other dogs.

Wire's and dog parks.. I'm afraid they are just not good combinations!
Bernee Brawn
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dualgwp
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PostPosted: 01/13/03, 7:05 pm    Post subject: I didn't answer Reply with quote

Sorry, I never answered your question about what to do...

Go and find yourself a good large field. Maybe there is a hunting preserve in your area> get this dog out doing what it needs to do.. go for a long run.. at least an hour or so once or twice a week.
Are there any sporting dog clubs in your area that run hunting tests> A NAVHDA chapter? Any of these will help you run off some of Matea's steam and vinegar! Dont' give up,
Bernee
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Illona
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PostPosted: 01/13/03, 8:01 pm    Post subject: dog parks and wires Reply with quote

The sad thing is, Bernee, Matea is good in the park. I'm constantly working with her. She has way better recall than most of the other dogs there, and although she plays hard, she plays hard only with her regular playmates, whose owners do understand that it's just play. I can redirect her from dogs whose owners don't welcome her kind of play, even though their dogs are all over her wanting to engage.
Unfortunately, it's my understanding that even if my dog is happily (albeit roughly) playing with a viszla or other hunting type dog (her favorite), anyone in the park can complain, even if their dog is not affected by the play. Park-goers can lodge a complaint to the controlling committee about the type of play going on, even though their dog - in NO way - is involved, even though these are consenting dogs and owners, AND even though it is just play.
The only way I can see Matea having delivered the injury to the other dog in the few seconds, is by a running snap. The Ridgeback would always chase her and bite at her back (the reason I eventually never went in if they were there). I can see Matea throwing a nip while running away, especially since she was engaged with another dog at the time, running full steam with a poodle.

I have yet to find a sporting dog club, but will continue my search. As for the "hour once or twice a week" -- THAT I can do. We're only minutes from country-side, and Matea's got a couple friends I can probably go out running with, but it's a huge leap of faith to let her off leash. I'm terrified of losing her. I've been toying with incorporating an e-collar into her training, especially since she is so good with her commands, but I've been afraid to start.

Illona
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dualgwp
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PostPosted: 01/13/03, 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand your dilemna, I really do!!! Wires can be fiesty, even the best one, and luckily some can have good freinds to play with.
Rhodesians are sight hounds and will chase by sight... having one running after, even in play can get the best of anyone.
I'm not saying Matea was at fault, and it's a shame she caught the brunt of this, but now you just have to find a new route for her energy..

If you are leary of leaving her off leash, get yourself a long, long rope... say 50 ft of clothesline and let her drag that behind her. That way you will always be able to get at least that close to her. Most Wires won't run off, well they may for a short time, but will always coome back looking for you.

You can start to get her and you used to this by taking her out somewhere where there are a lot of trees and brush. Let her drag her rope... let her go and then when she isn't looking go and hide behind a tree or bush. call her but don't show yourself. Chances are she will start to look for you. When she finds you make a big deal over it, and then let her go immediatley! She will learn that she has to come to fiind you, but she can be free again. '

I know it's scary to let them loose, give it a shot.
It's hard to help long distance... where are you located? Maybe we can get you set up with other Wire folks nearby>?
Bernee
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Illona
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PostPosted: 01/13/03, 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only prob. with this Ridgeback is his back-biting. Plus he took her down three times when she was innocently playing with another dog. It just wasn't a good mix from the start. Honestly, even if I was allowed to take her to the park, I'm finished there. It's too much stress.

Bernee, I have been working her on a long line - 50 ft. very light climbing rope. It's going well. She's extremely responsive when we're in a big playing field or something, where the hunting instincts can't kick in. I've been working on retreiving. She loves sticks, and I reward and praise her so much that I'm hoarse at the end of a session! I'm trying to find her hobbies. As far as the long-line, I did try her along some wooded trails today, and that's when I saw her independence kick in. I've tried hiding behind a tree, and she could care less. I'll try whistling for her next time though. We play that game indoors. I'll hide, and make her work at finding me. She gets so focused running up and downstairs, desperate to find me. Frankly though, she is SO driven that when in her element -- the woods or fields -- I totally don't matter. I AM able to change directions on her, but I have to warn her ("this way") or she'd just keep on going. I can't help but feel the rel'shp would be stronger if I'd had her from a pup. However, we gotta work with what we're given, right?

At least Matea isn't sneaky. If she's not hunting, she comes no matter what. She responds better than any dog I know, and she's only 11 months! It's the hunting thing that could pose a problem with her running off, thus my consideration of an e-collar. Any suggestions there? Or should I start a new subject thread?

I can take her out with some viszlas and a GSP in a local conservation area, but I ineed to walk with the other owners first to see the lay of the land and decide if Matea will be all right in this environment at this stage. Would you recommend having a long-line on her in this environment? for the first few walks?

I have no doubt that with more work and a few more years, Matea's going to be awesome. However, in the meantime I need to exercise her. I had hoped to have access to the leash-free park for another year, buying me more time to work with her. As it is, I've had her only 5 months, and I work with her at least an hour a day, and numerous shorter periods throughout.

As far as location.... I'm in south-western Ontario, (Waterloo to be exact). A few months ago I tried e-mailing a couple Wire breeders within the province, but received no response.

Thanks for the tips, Bernee. Your help is VERY appreciated. If you have any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Illona
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Keith
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PostPosted: 01/15/03, 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was going to mention an e-collar and I am glad you brought it up. This current dog I have is the first dog I have raised from puppyhood to 3 years old with the full use of a collar. I love it and I will never train a dog without one again. If used properly and only to reinforce known commands a dog is ignoring I think they are the greatest training aid ever invented. What it allows you to do is let the dog run free and know that no matter what comes up you will be able to recall the dog. I have used the collar to break one male I had that loved to fight with other dogs. I have also used the collar to break them off of chasing unwanted game. Just this weekend my dog started running toward a busy highway while we were out hunting. I didn't have to use the collar because she came when called but I loved the peace of mind that it provided. I think the collar can be a real life saver in some circumstances.
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Illona
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PostPosted: 01/16/03, 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the response, Keith. We should be getting our Tri-tronics Sport 60 any day now. It's on order. I'm hoping the video and training booklet help ease my mind. I'm pretty nervous about using it; really want to make sure I'm doing things right.

I've yet to find any hunting dog groups in my area, but am continuing to ask around. I think it would be most helpful to have someone evaluate Matea in person. I KNOW she'll be great; she's a super dog. I don't want to ruin her.

I guess the biggest question for me is range. How much faith do I put in her? i.e. how far do I let her range and for how long before I call her back? I realize I can't expect her to stay always within 50 or 100 feet of me. I grew up with German Shepherds so this whole hunting mentality is new and I don't want to expect the wrong things from Matea.

Yesterday I let go of her leash and let her run in the small 1 acre woods behind our house (bordered by open back yards). It was frightening. She thrashed and crashed through the bush at full speed, nose to the ground, oblivious of my happy calls "this way! come on!" However, after a terrifying minute for me, she did come back. Now...if I had the e-collar on her and knew she was reliable for recalls, I could have let her have far more freedom and for a lot longer. But as it was, I was too afraid to let go of the control. ...if that makes sense. I really wish I could find someone who has experience with these dogs to take a look at her, because I'm quite sure they would ease my mind a lot, and be of great benefit to her.

In the meantime, I'll muddle through. Being able to chat with other GWP owners on-line is VERY helpful, and any advice you might be able to give on those first lessons w/ the e-collar, range, expectations, etc. would be so awesome, Keith.

Thanks so much,
Illona
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Illona
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PostPosted: 01/16/03, 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and one more question, Keith.... how much exercise do you figure I should aim for with Matea? ...given that she was used to this dog-park where she could run with other dogs for an hour+ a day.

thanks
Illona
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Keith
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PostPosted: 01/16/03, 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can expect your dog to hunt for something when you take it walking. Wirehairs are hunting machines and they thrive on it. My 3 year old never stops hunting even in the yard. It would be unsual for a wirehair to really run off. It is in their nature to want to hunt close to medium in range and even though occasionally they will get out of sight if you maintain your speed and direction or just wait where you last saw your dog they will almost always circle back. They want to know where you are. You just have to use your own judgement about the area you are running in and if a dog would get into trouble being out of sight for even a short time. I use a loud dog whistle to bring my dog back in if she is gone for a long time. She knows that the collar can reinforce the whistle if she chooses to ignore it. My dogs don't live in the house with me so I don't know how much exercise it would take to keep their restlessness to a miminum. They are very high energy dogs but some are calmer than others in the house. I suppose the best way would just be by trial and error.
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J Shelton
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PostPosted: 01/16/03, 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Illona-

We will be in the same boat using the e-collars. I am expecting mine on Monday.
I have a 9 month female and from everything I've read and talked to people about the e-collar, am very excited to use it (correctly, of course). As you've already read, to use it only on commands they already know. I will be using the e-collar to recall mine as well. As Keith said, they don't ever run away, but rather take their tiime in coming back (at least with mine). I need the e-collar more for safety than anthing else at this point. I have a great field to run her in, but everything that borders it, could be deadly for Elli; train track, cement factory, interstate, and busy road with cows on the opposite side of it. She has not taken off for the cows yet, but would not put it past her. Once she gets the scent of basically anything right now, she goes nuts and I could be 5ft from her yelling "come' and she totally ignores me until shes done chasing. Extremely frustrating, especially when up until a month ago, she did listen to me when I called.

Good luck, let me know how it works for you---
Jen
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abbygwp
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PostPosted: 01/16/03, 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our 21month old GWP lives with us inside. She is crated during the day when we work. When she is in the house she is very docile, but outside watch out! We work her with the ball for about an hour or so every day, then she rough houses with our other dog for a while. When she gets bored she lays down and sighs at you until you pay attention to her. On the weekends she gets much more exercise, goes to the beach etc. During the summer she goes on 2 mile walks everyday..it's too dark in the morning and evening where we live to take her now.

Hope that helps some.
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K2K
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PostPosted: 01/21/03, 10:22 pm    Post subject: Illona, Reply with quote

it will get better, I promise!

Matea is just a baby. I remember when Kes was that age she would drive me crazy! She settled down in the house considerably when she got a little older. She's not quite 4 now.

I got an e-collar for Kes when she was almost 3. It helped alot, she would ignore my "here" command if she felt like it. Just be very careful, and follow the directions for conditioning w/ it. Try it on yourself as well (start at the lowest, I went for 3 on my TT 200 and still remember what it felt like! Surprised )

Have you considered an obedience class? That wears them out as much as a good long run! On top of it, you and Matea could earn a Canine Good Citizen certificate. That would go a long way as far as the "rep" however misquided, Matea has been labeled with.

Finally, if the Ridgeback's owner intimidates you, it is likely that attitude has been fostered by the owner in the dogs as well. You know the saying, all the owner's emotions go straight down the leash to the dog.

All the best to you!

Karen
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PostPosted: 01/22/03, 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again you'll hear, 'it will get better'.
Just a hint as to Kona's exercise regimen-
He is two years old and lives in the house with us at night after work. In the day, he has a fenced yard that is about 80' x 100'. He and his German Shepard sister run in circles around it all day long. He gets a 10 minute hard run every night outside of the fence, a few more minutes of ball, and then is usually ready to settle down. He does hunt, but only a few times a month, and I wouldn't consider that part of his daily needs. I completely understand your fears about letting him out of your sight - we don't either, I couldn't handle anything happening to him. We are constantly talking him back to us - but he always comes, and better and better every day. Anyway, they do need lots of exercise, but in our experiences, don't underestimate the exercise value of retrieving the ball and just romping around with you for a while. Sounds like you are doing great by her - keep on. They are wonderful dogs, worth every bit of love and effort they take.
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Illona
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PostPosted: 01/22/03, 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you ALL so SO much for your kind and understanding words and advice.

Accusations continue to fly surrounding this leash-free dog park. It is a battle of personalities from which I had withdrawn until receiving a letter yesterday from the city citing this 11-month-old pup (and constant victim of the two mature Ridgebacks) as a 'dangerous dog.' I am not battling to regain access to the park (I'm still allowed to go but only if Matea wears a muzzle...which is out of the question for me given all the assaults she suffers), but instead am working toward finding out what this label 'dangerous dog' means and why there has been no hearing, why no one has contacted us, why our side of the story has never been requested. I am currently compiling a letter and documentation detailing the three "attacks" she suffered from the Ridgebacks, hoping that this will be recognized as the 'mitigating factors' required to turn this "attack" of Matea's into a "defense". This whole thing is a result of power-hungry, egotistical bullies. I have no interest in returning to the park, and continue to work Matea on my own. But this label scares me, and we're fighting.

Having you all - fellow GWP lovers - is a Godsend to me right now. It's easy to feel alone in all this, but your generosity and understanding helps in more ways than I can say. Thank you all.

As for Matea...we're continuing the long-line work. Should have the collar soon, but won't use it for several weeks still. She's getting a good hour+ each day of long-line work and fetching, and I think I've secured a currently-unused fenced ball-field as a play field for Matea and her GSP playmate. Hopefully the GSP's owner can coordinate enough to have a couple play sessions a week. With a lot of work, determination, and my GWP friends by my ethernet-side, I think we can do this.

Thank you all once again.
Illona
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