I live in a semi-desert area and so we have a lot of cactus. Consequently my dog is frequently getting catus spines in his feet when we hike. I simply pull them out of course. He is only a couple of years old and so I wonder if he will learn to avoid them? After all, just how do the coyotes manage? Is it something to be concerned about such as a possible infection? I sure donít want to put boots on Rebel but maybe I should?
Loc: San Diego CA
Coyotes learn through experience and example from their elders. I get my dogs out in it ASAP in their youth. I am careful about how much and where because if they get covered, it could end up killing them. I have had a couple friends who have lost dogs that way and it is slow. It messes with their immune system. They HAVE to learn to not be crazy in field just because they are chasing a rabbit. My previous dogs and my gsp know to sit and wait for me to come over to pull the ball of spines (or just spines) out using a comb and tweezers. If a trail is covered with small spines, best to avoid it or the offending spot.
We were going out after quail in Arizona near Lake Roosevelt. Tica is 10 months old and it is the first time for her with shotguns so we are trying to take it easy on her. Within 2 min of getting out of the Jeep, she has a big Teddy bear cholla ball stuck to her front leg. She hasn't quite figured out to just wait yet so I run over and pop it off with the comb. She gives this thing a "look" then attacks it! I'm pulling spines out of her mouth for the next 30 min. Good news is that she has NEVER done that again. She is fine now and avoids the visible stuff even if it is dense.
I live on eight acres in the rural SE Arizona desert. We have prickly pear, four different cholla and saguaro on our place. The worst of all are the "teddy bear" and "jumping" cholla.
I have had four dogs since we moved here and I'll pretty much endorse what skcreidk said; dogs eventually learn to avoid the stuff. This appears to be more than can be said for some humans.
Dog breed does enter into the equation a bit. Our Malamutes both learned quickly to avoid the stuff. Our golden retriever took a bit longer to learn but she was young. Our West Highland terrier never seemed to really figure it out.
I always have a comb with me when I'm out with the dog (our golden is the only one now). She will generally stop and wait for me when she picks up a thorn cluster. She is less likely to try to bite one out of her paw now but still tries it on occasion. I have spent an hour trying to get the 1" long, barbed cholla spines out of her tongue, gums and the roof of her mouth. The spines soften after they have been in place for a while. Sometimes it's best to just wait for them to get a bit infected and they will slide out easily.
This is a problem that must be managed, you won't be able to solve it.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
My parents had a cocker spaniel when I was young. He never did learn! He's the only dog I ever heard of that had to have porcupine quills removed multiple times. He also never learned to stay away from horses' hooves. He'd get kicked, lie stunned in the ditch for a minute or two, then get up and run right back under the horses' hooves.
Fortunately, Hysson seems to have better sense. His one bout with a porcupine was with a dead one on the beach, so the quills didn't penetrate deeply and were easy to remove. He wasn't at all happy about the situation, though, so I hope he remembers the lesson if he meets a live one!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
I thought everyone in Canada was a hippie......Just Kidding..
I don't know what kind of cactus I see the most here. It is very small and ball shaped. Anyways, the first two dogs I had ran into it the first time I took them on a walk in the desert. I used pliers to pull it out. I think they did it twice, but then never again. They figured it out. My malamute ran into it once or twice. Again, she learned fast. They all just limp back to me so that I can pull it out. We also have sticker weeds that get stuck in their pads. They do the same thing, limp back so I can pull it out.
Edited by finallyME (04/28/1112:05 PM)
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Today I was able to answer my own question. I threw the ball for Rebel and he stopped short. He would not go in and get it. I wondered why and then I realized that there was a clump of cactus there. Smart dog. He learned really fast.
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