nightdog_barks: (Star Dog)
[personal profile] nightdog_barks
So I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it here, but back in March I decided to pull the trigger on an Embark DNA test ... for Layla. We were curious, what can I say? I'd thought about doing it sooner, but I always held off because we had a truly pants result from a test on our previous dog, Chango (an obvious Chow/Border Collie/something mix that the testing people interpreted as ... Pekingese). But that was many years ago, and surely, I thought, canine genotyping has improved since then! Plus Embark has really good reviews! So I stuck a cotton swab in her mouth (she bit it), swabbed it around to get a lot of saliva (she was very baffled), and sent it off.

The results came back this afternoon.

50.0% Golden Retriever
36.1% Labrador Retriever
13.9% ... Belgian Malinois


For what it's worth, I think they're pretty much on track with what we'd suspected. Two thumbs up, 10/10, would rec Embark.

Date: 2017-05-08 01:25 am (UTC)
silverjackal: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverjackal
LOL, the GoldenXLabrador I could buy because Labrador is so prepotent that if you cross it with anything you end up with a very Labrador-y dog and Goldens are nearly related*. The Malinois? Uh... maybe? I should test my two for a lark and see what I get. Poodle X Pug, no doubt! And Bernese Mountain Dog X Maltese. Clearly! Which one is which I'll let you decide**.

*If someone asks you could say that Layla is a mis-marked St. John's waterdog and not be lying. The St. John's waterdog was the Ur-retriever that gave rise to the rest, and the landrace persisted into the 1970s.

**Mostly because I have no fucking clue myself. ;D

Date: 2017-05-08 02:15 am (UTC)
silverjackal: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverjackal
Nothing beats the Pekingese ostensibly in Chango. Were you washing her in hot water and hanging her to dry that she stretched so fearfully?

Re: sheer stubborness and bloody-mindedness I think = any adolescent dog. And sometimes the mature ones. Though you might be on to something because I sometimes have to roar at Ronin to get him not to do something that is truly asinine and dangerous, which has never happened with any previous dog. Mind you, with him I ascribe that to idiocy, not the Malinois.

Edited to add that you might get a kick out of this tumblr. If I haven't posted about it I should. I may have, and forgot thanks to the TN. In any case, the dogs are an African and Indian Pariah, respectively, living with their owner somewhere in the U.S. She takes beautiful photos, tells engaging stories, and really loves her dogs. Their names are actually Chalo and Priya, but you'll hear a lot of made-up names, and wonderful breed misattributions. (Chalo is the "Africanois" because he looks like a Mal when his ears stand when he's running. She also commonly calls them pugs and trash poodles.)
Edited Date: 2017-05-08 02:28 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-08 04:13 am (UTC)
silverjackal: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverjackal
Then maybe she is part Mal after all -- given that all dogs are individuals of course. That desire to do, to be bidden, I know it well -- it's both GSD and Belgian shepherd. They want to work. Pretending not to hear though, is a general young dog thing, particularly among the more independent minded. :D

If you're interested you might enjoy trick training with Layla. It fulfills her desire to do, and it actually makes her listen involuntarily on those times when she'd otherwise want to blow you off.

Date: 2017-05-08 03:53 pm (UTC)
silverjackal: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverjackal
That self-awareness is something I know well. I can only say that every one of my dogs has had it, and I've always considered it a GSD trait, though other breeds (collies and Belgians) certainly exhibit it too. (I'm accustomed to thinking of it as a "working dog" thing, though I could be wrong in that generalisation.)

I've written a post for you about simple tricks (linked here) because even a couple take more description than will readily fit into a comment. Please feel free to also think of things you'd like to do, that you think would be fun. (I love "bow" and "shy" personally -- they make me laugh and laugh, which delights the dogs too.) I can readily add more things (Bow, Shake, Paw (same behaviour, but different paws), Spin, Twist (again, these are the same but different directions), Duck, Relax (lie down and cross your paws), Dead, Roll Over, Shame (lie down and hide face between paws), Shy (hide nose under one paw from sitting or standing), etc.).

Date: 2017-05-09 12:57 am (UTC)
silverjackal: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverjackal
You're very welcome! The fact that Layla likes shaking paws mean she enjoys using her feet and would likely really enjoy other tricks of similar mechanism (i.e. touching targets with her feet, waving, and so forth). The "enjoys having her paw held" is actually a known Golden retriever propensity. In general most dogs don't care to have their paws held (like you'd hold hands with a human) though they'll rest paws on people, but Goldens disproportionately love it.

Date: 2017-05-09 01:53 am (UTC)
silverjackal: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverjackal
All retrievers have an oral fetish. ;D It's part and parcel of the retrieving -- they want to mouth things, to carry things, etc.

The behaviour you're describing, though, is different. The "breath smelling" is an information collecting tool, and also one that's often an offered, bonding behaviour. I wan't to write "submissive" but it's not really that because dominance theory is nonsense. Puppies lick and mouth and scent the mouths of adult dogs, particularly their mother's. Dogs trying to be friendly with other dogs scent their mouths. They can actually get a lot of to-them interesting information that way -- when the other party last ate, what they ate (important in following them back to larger food sources), what their metabolic status is, etc. Tolerating the behaviour is also a signal of trust, strengthening bonds on both sides.

Most of my dogs have been very cursory about breath scenting because they're confident dogs, and also have the GSD propriety and space-bubble thing going on. Ronin wants to stick his nose in my mouth all the time. :( He only refrains from doing it, or face licking, because I give cut off signals (thoroughly canine -- raising my head and tilting my mouth away). He takes every chance he can get to smell my breath, the little weirdo, and I indulge him within limits because it's important to him. Prior to Screechy-pants I would have told you that shepherds generally don't breath scent as much as other breeds (many scent hounds are of course obsessive) but Ronin is the exception so maybe it's only a GSD thing to be more reserved about it.

Edited to add: my TN addled brain finally disgorged the term I was searching for, and had to write around instead. Breath scenting is affiliative behaviour, with the dog acting asking for acceptance, and the dog (or human) tolerating it granting that acceptance. There's also a strong element of information sharing underlying it, but it's social in nature.
Edited Date: 2017-05-09 02:49 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-08 04:34 am (UTC)
topaz_eyes: (Hello Kidney)
From: [personal profile] topaz_eyes
Oooh, DNA testing, that is so cool. 13.9% is a bit higher than the expected 12.5%, but not by much, so maybe it's within the error of the test. Or perhaps one of Layla's other ancestors wasn't a full Lab or Golden, and also had a bit of Malinois.

I've always wanted to test the accuracy of human DNA testing services like 23andMe. We know what to expect for at least one marker. But, I'm not so keen on the life insurance companies' attempts to demand those results for their nefarious purposes. (Or on our current Liberal government, which tried to quash a bill to rein in said companies' attempts.)

Date: 2017-05-09 03:12 pm (UTC)
topaz_eyes: (Hello Kidney)
From: [personal profile] topaz_eyes
The Embark people have done an exceptional job with their graphics and explanations about genetics. Their chromosomal map is a thing of beauty.

And that's the thing, isn't it? Would we want to know if we were predisposed to certain diseases. Most conditions involve a complex stew of genes and environmental factors. The commercial tests only look at one or two genetic markers. Now that we can test, maybe the question becomes, do we have an obligation to know. (Certainly the life insurance companies would love that.) But perhaps that's best left to philosophers?


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