New Study backs up what many good trainers know already- blaming dominance for bad behavior in dogs is way off the mark, and can make matters far worse.
Check out this link
New Study backs up what many good trainers know already- blaming dominance for bad behavior in dogs is way off the mark, and can make matters far worse.
Check out this link
Yesterday was a busy one for mom, as there was a squirrel in the bamboo, and the fool thing seemed stuck up there. It clearly was physically OK and could have left if it wanted to, but it seemed paralyzed with some sort of deep-seated anxiey. He stayed stock still wherever he was, but mom hummer was flipping out. She had one baby in the nest and one was in the branches above, and she was quite upset that there was anyone else in her bamboo nursery. Poor thing – she expended so much energy yelling at that squirrel and swooping angrily around trying to chase it off, but he was like a statue. We shook some branches several times during the day and each time the squirrel would jump to another branch and stick there for a while. As if she didn’t have enough to do with feeding herself, feeding the babies, and building her new nest – now she’s got to fuss with that squirrel. By late afternoon she had started to relax and seemed to give up eventually, but I think the squirrel waited until the cover of darkness to leave the bamboo.
Later after she gave up she didn’t even mind when the fledgling and the squirrel were hanging out right near each other
Anyway, second baby fledged in the early evening – yay!
I came in this morning and saw her on the new nest already – sure enough, there’s an egg in there already! Wow – she wasted no time at all.Â Now, she’s sitting on the egg, leaving to feed herself and collect food for the kids, and feeding them too. They’re so sweet, just hanging out on the upper branches, occasionally flying a foot or two up in the air and back down again.
Two days ago they looked really big. Their bills were getting longer, their feathers looked just about ready, and they were very visible from down below.
From above it’s looking pretty tight in that nest
Yesterday they seemed more upwardly oriented.
One of them in particular started to seem really restless
I got one of the best photos yet of mom and babies together. I hope you can make out that their bills are open, asking for food
Last night before we left the more restless one was really fidgety, but this morning it was still in the nest. As the day went on, that one really started to make some moves towards flight – stepping out of the nest, really fidgeting, and looking up up up. Finally it started to practice beating its wings – you of course can’t see the wings in these next shots as they beat so fast!
Last night, I was showing a customer the nest and we were laughing because the active nestling had climbed up and was standing on its sibling’s head to practice flapping. The interesting thing was that we heard cheeping that sounded like mom coming back in, but she wasn’t around – I realized that both little babies, especially the active one was making the noise. I offered to show her the new nest, and while we were looking at it, wouldn’t you know it – I heard a loud “cheep!” from the nest – we went back over and there was only one baby in the nest! I’m certain that was an excited lift-off noise. It had made it about 10 feet up, and was perched on the branch. We waited to see mom come back. She came back in and we saw the fledgling flapping in a begging gesture. Mom landed at the nest and the fledgling above made a very highpitched noise that sounded like a hearing test beep. She looked all around, fed the baby in the nest and flew off again – a little disappointing for the humans below – we of course wanted her to visit the fledgling right away and congratulate it. 🙂
That fledgling made a few more little flights, buzzing and sort of bumbling through the bamboo.
Meanwhile in the nest, the other fledgling seemed very restless and started right away to do a lot of preening of its feathers and stretching up towards the sky. You’d think he’d enjoy the newfound roominess, but of course it seemed more urgent at that moment to get on out of there like it’s sibling.
It’s getting crowded in the nest. You can pretty easily see them from the ground now, as they’re overflowing the edges of the nest.
Yesterday they had noticable new tail feathers, and mom is actively preening their wings each time she feeds them. The day before we had a big rainstorm and I went up to see how they were doing. I wish I could have captured it on film – both of them had their bills straight up to the sky, and they were drinking the rain with their little tongues flicking.
Meanwhile the other nest is growing
How interesting this all is! Yesterday (day 14 from first hatching) the mother started construction on her next nest in the other bamboo planter in our courtyard.Â I heard her fly in, so stopped to watch what I thought would be her hunting for insects for the babies. Instead, she landed on a branch and I saw her doing something that looked like preening her belly, but she came up with fluff in her beak and started jabbing it into a clump of something on the branch. I quickly realized that the little clump was a new nest – as if she isn’t busy enough feeding those two fat little hatchlings! It was interesting to me to see how much down she was working into what is essentially the base of the nest.Â Today I saw her fly in with nesting material, put it into the nest, add a bit more down, then fly over to the babies and feed them, then fly off again. Really so much energy she must be expending! However, it does seem efficient that by the time these babies fledge she’ll have a nest pretty much ready to go for the next clutch.Â When we originally noticed her building the first courtyard nest, someone had called the Audubon society to talk to them about it, and they said they thought it was probably her 2nd clutch of the season, as it was a little late for it to be her first. (they normally have 2-3 in a season). My books don’t mention whether they reuse the same nest, but this certainly answers that question. Makes me wonder if the first clutch was also somewhere in the bamboo and we hadn’t seen it.Â I’m reassured by her building this new nest right in the courtyard – she must not have been too put off by all of the spectators that we’ve created by pointing out this nest to so many people. We worried that we were going to create stress for her, even though she seemed relatively habituated (after buzzing us occasionally while we stood down below the first few days) to people looking.Â Now I feel like she must really be OK with it or she wouldn’t have chosen the courtyard bamboo again. The good news is that this new nest seems to be even more in the open, so photography should be really a lot easier for this next clutch. Perhaps I will invest in a new camera…
Meanwhile, the babies continue to grow quickly and thrive. (Maybe she can’t reuse a nest because of how stretched out it gets from these big babies!)
today, more feathers, yellow disappearing from ever lengthening beaks, and first time I’ve noticed an eye open on hatchling #1 (I’m guessing which is which as one seems slightly ahead of the other, which makes a bit of sense as they hatched one day apart). We saw one of them flicking its long hummer tongue.
It’s been fun to see how quickly these chicks are growing – every day they are noticeably bigger.Â We are on day 12 for the 1st chick, day 11 for the 2nd. They fill the nest almost to the brim, and their little heads are often propped up on the edge.Â When they squirm around, the nest expands and bulges. Their little beaks are starting to gain a little length, and I’m nearly certain their head feathers are green.Â I can definitely see pinfeathers on their wings (which will be growing into real flight feathers soon – they fledge sometime between 18 and 23 days. Hard to believe!)
One very interesting thing I’ve noticed was the dramatic change in the mother’s behavior at about day 7. For the 1st 7 days, she sat on them all the time, leaving briefly to get food, feed them, and continue to sit on them. At about day 7 she seemed to be gone. A whole day went by without me seeing her.Â She still wasn’t there the next morning (it seemed) and I was so worried that something had happened to her.Â But when I went up and checked on the babies, they certainly were looking fat and healthy. So, I waited downstairs for a few minutes, and of course she flew right up and fed them (I could actually see their little heads poking up over the edge of the nest!) and immediately flew away again. Either they take so much work to feed, or she just doesn’t fit in there anymore.Â Probably a little of both, combined with the fact that they’re so “big” and fat that they can keep each other pretty warm by now.
I continue to be frustrated by my inability to photograph or even see them that well. My camera doesn’t want to zoom in close enough (even though they are so close – less than 6 feet away), and it’s so dark where they are. I’ve brought 3 pairs of binoculars to work, but none of them have been able to focus on something so close. Grrr.Â Here are a few photos that will hopefully give you an idea of what’s going on, but I promise to try and find another way to get good photos. Thanks to Gerry upstairs for the first 3 photos – he has a better camera than mine.
We’ve had a terribly hard spring – a new software system being not the least of our troubles – working 7 days a week for multiple weeks, 10 and 12 hour days every day and not much end in sight. Then a sweet little gift – a hummingbird has decided to build her nest in the bamboo right outside of our door. From our position behind the cash register, Mike and I had both noticed a hummer zipping up into the bamboo quite frequently. So I stood out in the courtyard for a few minutes to try and see what a hummingbird could possibly want in a stand of bamboo. In she flew with a wad of moss in her beak and landed right on a little walnut sized nest.Â It’s been nice to watch her building and then lining the nest,Â but even more fun to share the experience with our customers. What a special treat to be able to see a hummingbird and her nest so very close – she’s only about 10 or 11 feet above us, in a nice spot – we can see her and point her out so easily. When she leaves to go eat, we can dash upstairs and peek into the nest to see the two little eggs she laid two weeks ago on a Sunday and Monday, smaller thanÂ Jelly Bellies. We should be seeing babies anytime in the next few days.
A few facts about Anna’s Hummingbirds (and a few photos of her eggs): They seem to be fairly common in the Portland area and are easily attracted to feeders. I often hear them before I see them – their call is easy to identify once you’ve heard it – kind of a a squeaking, grating, rapid little noise, given from a perch. They’re green on top and greyish below – the males are distinct from other hummers as they are the only ones with red foreheads as well as throats (the books call it red, but I see it as a metallic deep pink color, compared to the true red of a ruby throat). The females have more of a pink spot on their throat than other species. Their nests are a little cup made with plant down, moss, and lichen, bound together with spider webs, and lined with feather down.
The female does all of the work of nestbuilding, incubation, and raising of the babies. She sits on eggs from 14-19 days, and babies fledge about 18-23 days after hatching. It was really interesting to notice that the nest was fairly shallow when she laid the eggs, and the whole time she’s been sitting on them, she’s been also adding moss and lichen to the edges of the nest, making it deeper and deeper. Now the walls are much higher, giving it a lot more room for babies to fit in there as they grow. We are eagerly anticipating the hatching – it’s been 17 days since she laid the first egg, so we know it should be any time between now and Friday.Â Stop by soon and we’ll point her out to you. If this brood goes well, she will probably lay another clutch in this same nest.Â Joy!
Update – later that afternoon, we had our first hatchling! Here’s a terrible photo – coulnd’t even zoom in before mom was back and feeling very uncomfortable about us watching her – we backed way off, but could still see her feed it briefly before we ducked out completely:
The next day we had nestling #2 hatch, right on schedule! Both seem to be doing well.
Day 3 photo – Here’s a better (but not great) photo of nestling#1 on day 3 (you can see its mostly naked body, its big eyes (closed for now) and yellow beak (short for now but will grow longer). It’s at least twice the weight it was when it hatched:
Check out this slow motion video of a ruby throated hummingbird in flight (most N. American hummers flap at about 53 wingbeats per second.) hummingbird in flight
This is a good link to Hummer info and some neat photos of Anna’s chicks in a nest in theirÂ photo gallery http://www.hummingbirds.net/index.html
Some people have asked why we don’t put a feeder in the courtyard for her. The answer is because we don’t want to attract other hummers to the courtyard to bother her, and there is already a feeder across the street that she can visit. Also, at this age the nestlings are being fed mainly insects, not nectar.
Check out this great dog trick!
Some of you might remember this funny cat from a previous post Here’s a new one that made me laugh hard
Check out this beautiful Canine Freestyle video. For you horse people, you’ll recognize a lot of dressage moves – amazing that she could convey those to the dog – some fabulous training in action and really nice to watch
As a trainer and a retail pet supply store owner, I’m often in a situation where I can help someone through a problem. There are other times, however, where I see someone doing something so terribly wrong, so injurious to a dog’s behavior, and the person can’t seem to hear me when I try and guide them towards a new way. This is ultimately stressful to me, as I can see how much potential there is to fix a problem, and yet I can also see that this dog is doomed to have the problem worsen quickly. The culprit is always punishment of behaviors that are fear based. Take for example a man who came in the other day with his new dog. This little black fluffy dog had been kept in someone’s house for about 3 years, only venturing out to the back yard for potty, and now was hitting the streets for the first time. He was understandably a bit nervous, but was doing remarkably well, in my opinion. Mike and Julie had both offered him a little treat now and then while they were shopping and he was warming up quickly to both of them. I felt happy thinking that with a little encouragement he’d do pretty well after all. While the new owner was ringing up his purchases and not watching the dog, the customer behind them reached out to pet the dog, and the dog snarled and snapped at her. The owner swung around, grabbed the dog by the face, shaking him and berating him for his behavior. I swooped in and quickly suggested that we try a little something – I got down low and offered a treat to him, and his body relaxed a bit, he took it, and within moments he was approaching me and even had put his front feet up on my leg. “see that?” I said, “he’s just really inexperienced at meeting strangers – a little treat goes a long way when he’s frightened, and tells him that it’s OK to approach”. I gave the woman who had been snapped at a few treats, and had her throw one in front of him, then when he ate it, hold another out to him. Within moments the person that had been scary to him a minute ago now seemed pretty OK in his eyes. Then the owner says to her, “if I hold him still and turn him around, will you pet him?” and proceeds to restrain the dog and force him to be handled by the woman that was trying to befriend him, and he was becoming super agitated at the dog for not complying. I cut that right off, and tried so hard to point out (in the friendliest possible way) that if the dog is forced to be in a situation that he feels frightened by, then punished on top if it, that he’s going to think it’s a terrible thing to meet new people. He wasn’t asking my advice, but I sure was trying to offer it to him, as there was still time for this dog to come around. This was one of the very first places he’d ever been. I didn’t have time to explain the power of classical conditioning to help dogs, but I tried hard to tell him that he wasn’t being bad, he was just frightened. He managed to leave with treats in his hand, but we saw him right outside the store, jerking then grabbing, shaking, and chastising the dog as he barked at a group of people walking by. This to me is tragic. Will I see them again? If I do, will the defensive aggression he displayed have spiraled out of control, making the owner give up the dog, or just keep him at home like the last owner (that he saved him from)? Positive trainers everywhere are trying so hard to undo the damage of myths such as all bad behavior is linked to dogs needing to dominate those around them (based on a few small studies of unrelated groups of wolves in captive situations, who behave very differently in their natural social system), that you can just make a dog behave by insisting on it (whether the dog understands what is expected of him or not), and simply punishing out behaviors you don’t like, regardless of the reasons for those behaviors. This is very detrimental to dogs like the one above who just feel fear of the unknown and are trying to keep things that frighten him at a reasonable distance. If that dog felt more comfortable meeting new people, he would soon have no reason at all to bark at them and that “bad” behavior would go away. Punishing the barking/growling is like cutting the rattle off a snake – if he’s punished into suppressing those behaviors, he may be quiet but still feel incredibly uncomfortable with strangers approaching him. When someone comes along that does something he feels is terrifying, like reaching quickly for him, or grabbing his face from both sides and putting their face right up to his (“what a cute puppy! I just want to kiss you!) he may very well bite. How many times have you heard someone say “he bit with no warning at all!!” hmm – I’ll just bet it was a dog just like this one.Â Oh yeah – the reason for my post:
Here’s an interesting article highlighting a survey that illustrates the correlation between using aversive, punishment based “training” is more likely to illicit additional aggressive behaviors:
Here’s another good site I just stumbled upon:
If you’re looking for a trainer, try looking for one who has an affiliation with APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) or the certification “CPDT” after their names (certified pet dog trainer), whose program is based on humane training techniques.
If you’re in Portland, I’ve got a nice long list of good trainers for you. Check out this one:
http://www.doggybusiness.net/ His first blog posting is on this very subject.