Friday, February 21, 2014

Do dogs sense when their pack mates are sick?

Copper the Whopper Beagle spending time with his
buddy Sammy who is recovering from
I wrote a blog post earlier addressing the questions of whether or not our dogs know when we are sick. I am convinced that they do sense when we are sick and that they worry about us.

I am equally convinced, through observation, that the same sort of thing occurs between canine pack mates as well. I was reminded of this last night:

The Lovely Shane and I are very greatful
to these folks for being so nice about meeting
us after 10:00pm last night to help us take
care of Foster Boy Sammy the Beagle!
Yesterday, I took our foster boy, Sammy the Beagle, to the Mobile Veterinarian to be neutered. He also got heart worm tested (he is negative!!), got a microchip, and all his shots.

When we got home, the Lovely Shane and I noticed that he was bleeding a little. We did not worry too much at first. However it got worse and about 10:00 pm, we contacted the veterinarian. We ended up going back to the vet last night. Sammy had developed a blood clot. The veterinarian took care of the problem for Sammy and sent us home with pain medication, anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics.

I stayed up most of the night just to check on Sammy and make sure he was doing okay. The Lovely Shane and I were not the only ones concerned, however. I am convinced that Copper was also worried.

In retrospect, I actually think that Copper knew the severity of Sammy's problem before we did. When we bring a dog home from the veterinarian, all the other dogs are curious and have to sniff the guy who just survived the evil alien veterinarian (well at least sometimes it seems that is how they see the vet :) ). Copper's reaction was subtly different in this occasion. He sniffed Sammy as usual but he also followed him around everywhere. Copper would not let Sammy out of his sight. At the time I thought Copper had just missed his new little friend. I think it may have been more than that.

Copper is smart but... I would not
say he is all that complex. As illustrated
here he has simple motivation... food..
for the proper food Copper will do
practically anything :).
After we took Sammy back to the veterinarian late last night, we put an E-collar on him and put him in a crate. Copper stayed near the crate most of the night. Copper continued this for most of the day today. This is unusual for Copper. Occasionally during his watch today, Copper would sniff Sammy through the crate and sort of watch him closely for a little while then lie back down on a bed next to the crate.

I tell this story to make a point. I have often said and written that dogs are not really complex and they really are not. It helps with training if you understand that dogs are not complex. However, the lack of complexity does not mean that they are unaware of the feelings of their pack mates or their people. In fact quite the contrary is true. Dogs can be very sensitive and perceptive. For instance they sense thunderstorms before there is any indication of bad weather. If you spend a lot of time with your dogs, you will notice a difference in behavior just before a bad storm. In fact, Critten, a Lab/Pit Bull mix that lived with me when I was in Florida was very sensitive to the pressure changes during tropical storms and hurricanes.
Critten the weather dog :) .

Foster Boy Charlie the Beagle, Cody the
Little Beagle and Trigger the Dapple
Dachshund share a bed.
This really should not surprise us because these heightened senses are why dogs are so useful in hunting, search/rescue, etc. It is also why they can be trained to be useful to people with PTSD, diabetes, seizure disorders, etc.

I have been around dogs most of my life. While I should expect this sensitivity, it is still, frankly, incredible to watch! God gave these guys a great gift and I feel fortunate to have observed these wonderful creatures!

Keep you eye on your dog.... you might be surprised how much you can learn from these little guys and girls!

If you need help training your little canine buddy to be polite please contact me.  Remember.... Polite Dogs = Happy People! Let me help you to get happy today!

Till next time


William Moore Canine Training

No comments:

Post a Comment