Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wanna Know How To Photograph A Hamster?

Me too!
It's frickin' HARD.

LOL! I iz a blurry black bob and I'm eatin' your baby cornz.

Seriously difficult.

Now I iz a blurry black blob and I iz eatin' your licorice.

(I am not above bribing the hamster with candy to stay still. So shoot me.)

So how do I photograph the little sucker anyway?

I have a deliciously wicked idea. It begins with you putting him in my mouth. What do you say, old chum?

Are you putting hamsters in our mouths?

I iz a blurry black blob sittin' on my fat ass eatin' your broccoliz. And I haz a baby corn tumour in my cheek.

W: Hamster?
P: I suspect she's f*cking with us.

Tee hee! Photograph me if you can!

I am unimpressed with your executive decision to enact a moratorium on hamster mouthing.

Listen, are we getting hamsters or what?

Hai! I'm a BAD DOG!

For the first time in the history of my pack, we had a bone fight. I think. Something set it off anyway and Tweed unleashed on Mr. Woo and kicked the living shit out of him until he noticed me ... and then he ran like his ass was on FIRE. Because he knows who does the shit kicking in this household, dammit! When he starts paying rent, then he can start some shit kicking, but as long as he lives under my roof etc.

I hauled him out from his super secret no-one-will-ever-find-him-in-this-one-level-condo spot under the bed by his stupid stringy tail and we had a wee chat about picking on people smaller than you, and now he is a big bag of submissive suck. But that was scary. We don't HAVE dog fights in my household.

No worries for Wootie. In addition to being a big jerk, Tweed is also a crappy fighter. For all Woo's screaming, there was not a scratch on him. Also, he has no attention span, so he immediately forgot what happened.

Wow that was really scary, I feel so - hey! Is that a squirrel?

Anyway ... working with dogs for the last 15 years, I have broken up my share of dog fights. I once had a bitch that got into it with my housemate's bitch and they put like 22 holes in one another in under 15 seconds. But my pack o'mines don't fight. They make a lot of Mad Teeth (tm), and Tweed grabs Mr. Woo by the nose like 8 times a day for no reason, but they never actually fight. They also don't cuddle or sleep together or generally make physical contact in either positive or negative ways. How about your dogs?

And whoever is responsible for this snow ... I'm sending Tweed over to kick the shit out of you too!


D said...

Molly told me about your blog a little while ago. She said I would love it... she was RIGHT! (the visitor from New West). Seriously, the snow and -5 temps are ass.

Tristan - I'm a Heavenly King said...

OH MINE! Hammy is CUTEZ!!! Really.
Sigh about the bone fight. Hope it's one of those a once-in-a-lifetime freak accident. I have 2 male BCs now.A 1-yr old and a 8-mths old. I am wondering when if IT ever happens. Nothing. YET. And I hope so not. The big black one is a bad ass towards other dogs but for some reason, with Braun (The Mr-Woo-look-alike) he is perfectly fine. I always accredit it to "colourings" :)

BrittBeah said...

Can you clicker train a hammy?

My pups are generally neutral to each other also. No love or hate going on. We've had our share (3) of nips so far but nothing life or death.

We have nice 80 something weather here in Alabama, I'll enjoy it for you :)

Lena said...

If you figure out how to photograph hamsters, please let me know. I've had my Syrian for two and a half years and *still* haven't managed to get a decent snap of her.

Chandler said...

Regarding "They also don't cuddle or sleep together or generally make physical contact in either positive or negative ways. How about your dogs?"

I have two fixed male Border Collies and they are both very affectionate with each other and get upset when they are separated. Our older dog is definitely an omega. He's always been a clown. Our younger dog is more of an alpha and has no concept of personal space (just ask our cat who gets laid on regularly...). They sleep close together. The younger dog will lick the older dog's face and the older dog seems to really like it. And, they wrestle and play tug with toys together.

Holly said...

we have disagreements. I can almost always predict when they will happen and who will be involved. It frequently revolves around the boys, with one young man mouthing off and an older dog grabbing and holding him....which elicits much screaming and thrashing, but no attempted homicides. With the girls, I've got one "wannabeatoughgirl" who can't pull it off and she wanders around muttering under her breath working herself to the sticking point. When she finally reaches the sticking point, the grabbing and holding with the sreaming and thrasing occurs (with whichever dog she puts her mouth on) and then it is done for another 12 months or so.

pam said...

I have the same problem filming black dogs.

There must be something in the air. My dogs NEVER fight. They're brother and sister, have been with me since 8 weeks old and play and sleep and generally love each other.

Yesterday Bobo had a bone Meja wanted. All of a sudden I hear the growl. The low throaty growl reserved for 'others'. I ran and got there just as trouble was about to commence. After stern (read scream) 'what the fuck's the matter with you's' she slunk away.

She's been trying to get back into my good graces ever since.

Sheesh... Is it the moon?

Anonymous said...

maybe Hammy could play in some flour before photo sessions?

-baby-corn in cheek, of course!

another coffee-spewing post, keep it up.


manymuddypaws said...

it's only a little snow...what's your problem...


and my dogs don't "fight" but they will get into scraps occasionally...but I have corgis- and they are B-A-D.

poor, poor woo. Good thing Tweed is so handsome or we'd all be mad at him!

Anonymous said...

I always worry that encounters with other dogs will end in fighting, considering my boy Rocky only likes dogs that want nothing to do with him and there's only so much pestering that a dog can take before he or she snaps. But so far...nothing major, maybe some growling, some posturing. He's never been injured.

He's also never lived with another dog, except for one year when I was in high school and we adopted a second Beagle. Mostly I think Rocky found him annoying and there was much hip-checking among them, but no fighting. On the plus side, though, it's the only time I can remember Rocky really letting loose a full-out Beagle howl.

He's pretty much just a quiet lovemuffin, and I'm okay with that. :)

Emma Rose said...

Dog fights are really scarey. We had a beautiful BC named Peat (the love of my life)but he and Sir Bear bloodied each other up pretty good so Peat had to go to another home....sigh... I still miss him. You can read about him here if you like.

We love your blog and wish you would come to Oregon and take fabulous pictures of us too!

Jean said...

I am responsible for the snow. Send Tweed.

Life in vet school said...

My older male, C, is the stabilizing influence, and the three girls all sort of defer to him (apparently unusual -- our clinical behaviorist says that females usually run the show). Two of our girls (J and K) play very roughly, which sometimes turns into a fight, which ends almost immediately with no harm done. K and L, however, get into random fights that two athletic adults can't physically break up (hence the clinical behaviorist!). So for now, they're on leash when they're loose together, and we're doing some behavioral modification. And the drugs. :) Apparently female/female pairs are the WORST as far as fighting goes, so we're hoping to get back to the point where all four can be loose together again, but I'm not sure it'll happen. :(

riosmom said...

Rio and Gracie had three fights in their life together - all started by Gracie (40 lbs) and ended by Rio (70 lbs). It took three for her to get the message. I didn't scold Rio because he was doing what a dog has to do if he lives with an alpha wannabe bitch.

They did "cuddle" - sort of. Rio would stretch out full length on their couch,trying to keep her off, and she would lay down on top of him. She would also visit him in his crate and curl up next to him but it was more to show she could than a display of affection.

But they sat shoulder to shoulder on the deck in the morning, watching the sunrise and waiting for breakfast, and I think that was real affection or, at least, comradeship. I sorely miss that sight.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love those "secret-never-to-be-found" hiding places! I have seven dogs (5 bitches, 2 males) and recently a canine massage therapist (Cinder is in HEAVEN) moved in with her two bitches. Six of these nine dogs are senior citizens (over 8.) I do NOT have dog fights. I have growlies (Kane, my asshole) and some stare-downs, but in general, they all know I am the meanest bitch in the household so...

Every once in a rare while I will have what I call a "rapid fire hurling of insults with some finger poking" going on: this usually means one of the youngsters accidentally ran into one of the old timers during ball-tossing time and the old-timer said "Hey! Watch out!" and the youngster said "Get out of my way old lady!" to which the oldster replies "I can still kick your ass" "Try me" and that's usually when I make my presence known and there is much mumbling of "Sorry" "Sorry" "Sorry" and the game resumes with no hard feelings.

dp said...

Maybe you need a piano for better MC Hamster shots?

My girls won't fight if I am around, but all bets are off when they are in the care of strangers (as evidence by a couple of vet bills). Normally they are perfectly pleasant and companionable with each other, if not mutually affectionate. Some foster dogs will really upset the balance of things. Daisy, despite being sweet and lovely, made Tilley and Willow want to kill each other (not Daisy). Nobody even notices poor Pepper.

angie said...

there must be something in the air, because a beagle i was sitting over the weekend beat the crap out of my dachshund with no warning. we all used to live together! but apparently after my ween and i moved out, the beag started getting a little testy around other dogs. needless to day, i will not be watching him again...

BCxFour said...

You wrote "They also don't cuddle or sleep together or generally make physical contact in either positive or negative ways. How about your dogs?"

My three keeper dogs (Beth, Ranger & Bonnie) are all pretty affectionate with each other. Beth not as much as Bonnie and Ranger are. But I will often find all of them curled up with each other on the couch or bed. Often I will find one napping with the other in their crates too. Beth is the alpha - Ranger is the beta male and Bonnie is still a puppy but showing signs of being second in command. Beth wont take any sh*t from Bonnie.

As you know bringing a foster dog in to the mix changes things up significantly - but the core group stays affectionate with each other. Beth just turns into superbiatch to the new dog until they accept she rules the world...then all is well again.

I answered your question and then some - sorry 'bout that! I never know when to shuddup.

The Border Collies said...

"I am responsible for the snow. Send Tweed."

hahahaha! I am fedexing him now!

It's interesting to read all these responses (except the troll bait, which I deleted, because it was sad and pathetic. Must be a friend of rodent dvm!!). It seems most dogs are more like mine - they coexist okay, get a little grumbly sometimes etc., but are not either really affectionate or really antagonistic. I expect some squabbles (and Briggs fought with lots of dogs in his lifetime!) but I've never seen my guys actually get into it and I admit it was very startling. And kind of dad, because Wootie didn't even fight back - he just was getting a real thrashing from bastardog!

I just wonder when I see youtube videos and photos of people with dogs who are all snuggled up together all cute and shit and wonder if it's just my dogs that DON'T do that. Apparently not!!

cafejay said...

I haven't owned a hamster for a few decades, but a few years back I had little rats. I was shooting slide film at the time, so I didn't take many photos. (I have like 4 rat slides and 3,000 recent dog photos.) For what it's worth, the only luck I had with my rats was capturing them directly in sunbeams. Living in Seattle, those are a precious commodity.

Have a look:

You are the queen of my dog photography world.


Totally Timmy said...

My hamster was much easier to photograph! Some of my dogs fight , some don't. Years ago my little one took on a big one and before I got there it was all over, my little guy died the next day. I've been bitten too, I had to pinch a vein in my dogs neck to stop her from bleeding to death after a fight on another occassion. The dogs I have right now are pretty good. Some noise but no violence.I like it that way!

Buzz's Food Lady said...

I'm going to be quite interested to see what Buzz will do when/if I add a second dog. He's very interested in playing with other dogs and is quite cuddly with them if they stay for a while. His friend Tessa, who will appear on my blog shortly, is a very licky dog and when she and Buzz play together sometimes they end up doing what can only be described as french kissing. Blech. Gross.

Carroll said...

My dogs don't really cuddle with each other. They lay near each other sometimes, but not touching. They don't have to be touching us all the time either, they have a little aloofness to them which I prefer in a dog.

They will wrestle and play, but they don't escalate it. If the play gets too over the top, I make them stop, mostly because it gets on my nerves. Also, they are very large and powerful Akitas and you must never allow anything to get out of hand.

BTW - first time commenting but I love your blog - it is so awesome and alive.

Corey said...

Living with one full time bitchqueenbitch border collie and one part-time Sheltie who absolutely worships her means there are few fights to be had, lol.

Barra tries very hard to remind the general public that she IS queen bitch of the universe but unfortunately she is also a lousy any squabbles with strangers over toys/sticks/random bits of grass usually start with her version of Mad Teeth(tm) and end with her cowering between my legs, screaming like someone's just lopped off one of her limbs. XD

shirley said...

my dog is a jerk about resources - but without consideration for size and teeth sharpness of the prospective opponent.

she pounced on a family dog once for being near the refrigerator and he ended up streaked with blood - hers! once i stepped in, she looked at me with wide eyes and chattering teeth, shaking like a leaf.

she does the same to current foster dog, but happily he's not intent on retaliating and inflicting physical harm. he just shakes her off his muzzle because dammit, there's food over there and staring at it until it ends up in his mouth is the only important thing in life.

Natalie said...

I have to admit, I've gotten a lot more lax about the dogs behavior towards each other. The big dog is rough, the little dog puts up with it to a point, then she flips her b*tch switch and chases him around and grabs him by the cheek.

BUT that's one thing, and it's not a real fight. I can't explain why it's different, but it is. The one or two times they got into a real fight over something oh mama did I go in with my eyes blazing and doggy butts took some cover. There are RULES, damnit.

My dogs also do not cuddle at all, ever. Neither do the cats. They all get along fabulously, play frequently, share things, etc... but no cuddling. They all go to their own spot to sleep. Whatever - it works for them.

tracy said...

I have laughed until tears have been rolling down my cheeks at the adventures of TWAAW! I have had to forward links to your blog to friends after telling them tales of your adventures!

My three BC girls play together but at times, but they do not snuggle together. They each have their spot to sleep and will often grumble and move if they are disturbed by another. We have had a few serious spats in the early days, primarily when introducing a 'new' member to the pack but this is a rarity nowadays. Long may this last!!!! Looking forward to the next installment of The Adventures of MC Hamster!

Sweet~Ceana said...

Ceana and Poke do not snuggle or "get all cozy." They wrestle, they chase each other, and they sometimes get snarly, but they always work it out through nose grabs and resentful face licks. They seem to think of each other as team mates. A " You do your thing and I'll do mine, but if anyone screws with one of us they screw with both of us," type of relationship.

Anonymous said...

Full moon on Wednesday.

And I had nothing to do with the snow - got out of Vancouver just in time.

Cookie and Gray Dawntreader said...

My dogs leave each other alone as much as possible. When I first got Treader, he'd walk past Cookie and accidently step on her hind foot or tail and she'd get up, snarl, and appear to whoop him good. But I never found any teeth marks on Treader.

After a while, Treader learned to leave Cookie completely alone. He avoids her whenever possible, so now we don't get any snarly arguments unless Cookie thinks that he is taking too much of her attention.

Or, as in the case of the other night, she blew up at him when I went into the bathroom, apparently when she knows I'm upset at him. All I could figure out is...I was pretty upset at Treader at that time, and Cookie waited for me to be out of sight (she's learned better than to argue with Treader while I'm watching) before she attempted to put Treader in his place for me.

Woo reminds me a lot of face and the way he screams when he hasn't had a mark put on him.

nickelsmum said...

My three occasionally say bad words to each other but have never damaged each other. We have had a couple of coming-of-age spats when the baby (BC Bitch with Mad Teeth (tm)) was hitting adolescence and social maturity. There is occasional hostility around food guarding, but no out-and-out fights.

I just do not worry about fights like the one Tweed and Wootie had. (And by the way, exactly how old is Wootie? That probably has something to do with it.) No damage -- it was all ritual, and Wootie probably had it coming. Also consider whether Tweed is hurting; he may be old enough to be sore from arthritis or sports damage, and that can cause a temper flare. Consider keeping an eye on Woo and warning him off Tweed if Tweed is looking mutinous.

My three don't exactly cuddle. The Aussies will rarely sleep butt-to-butt, and the BC will curl up overlapping with either Aussie. (I think the old Aussies like the baby BC better than they like each other.) Most herding dogs do not do a ton of puppy piling. This is much more common in gundogs and pack hounds and is obvious from birth.

To Britt -- yes, you can clicker train a hammy. You can clicker train anything with a brain stem.

Companion Animal Solutions

kim said...

"You can clicker train anything with a brain stem."

Possibly the best thing written online in many a moon - fitting.

MalaysianFan said...

The shot of Hammy peering around the Genius is pure genius! Holbein couldn't have done a better hamster portrait. (Not that Holbein was ever noted for hamster portraits...)

Anonymous said...

My biggest dog, the oldest male, plays with the female and the young male but the three don't play together. and the young male plays very little with the female and I think he has a long memory for her attempts to jump him and take things from him. She eats in a crate now due to that particular behavior. Those bitches! The oldest male and female will share the couch but nobody of the three lays with any of the others on the same dog bed or does anything particularly cuddly or intimate together. The two most playful are the two who have know each other the longest, and they are the ones who share the couch. I sometimes have both of them on the bed also. But for the most part I think they all coexist. I enacted a moratorium on fights and I am on them all like stink on poop as soon as something starts. I wish I knew why something even gets started since I don't let them get away with it.

Anonymous said...

My two boys cuddle, a lot. I have a black lab and a terrier x chihuahua and they are always touching. Very cute but I don't think they are the norm!

Fenway said...

I'm a sweetheart by nature, but my intact gonads act like an Asshole Barometer. If there's a wacko dog anywhere near me they want to use me like their bitch. Ha! They think they can prove their studliness by publicly thrashing me.

Truth be told, I am the ONLY serious stud around.

And lately, I won't back down. It's mano-a-mano, baby. So, Ms. Alpha has to go through an elaborate screening process before she'll let even a whiff of butt take place.

Anonymous said...

"You can clicker train anything with a brain stem."

Does not work with my kid.

The snow .... my boss did that ... so send Tweed to kick the shit outa him because he deserves it. I would do it myself, but I need a job to feed the dogs.

Carol said...

You can clicker train anything with a brain stem.

Well, someone needs to clicker train me to use the clicker, because I'm clicking impaired. I just confuse my dogs. So far, I'm resisting all training to click despite heroic efforts by my CDT.

3aussiemom said...

Recently my 9 yo bitch has decided that her 14 yo buddy (since she was 7 weeks old) needs to die & get the hell outa here. Now I have to watch like a hawk & never leave them alone together. It's a PITA for sure.

Hopefully Tweed & Woo were just having a minor disagreement & all will be well.

Would you like to trade Tweed for Rosie? They look just alike, so probably no one would even notice.

Samantha ~ Holly and Zac ~ said...

LOL at the photographing of Hammy, that is one cool hamster! haha

My two do lay together sometimes. I will often find them laying near each other and just touching by backs or something. The other day i caught them on the top of the stairs, Zac had his arm over Holly's head. It was so cute but of course by the time i fetched the camera they had

and Tweed...leave Mr Woo alone!

Cedarfield said...

Susan Garrett just posted a Training Tip on this very subject. You can read it by signing up to receive her newsletter on her website:

Anonymous said...

We're the different household I guess. We have three rescue Jacks, three rescue BC's and a rescue BC mix. We have ages 1.5 years old to 11. We have lots of touching and snuggling, especially by the Jacks. We have grumbling and "smiling", but no serious fights. We do not have free choice toys though as that just creates much herding and toy killing. There's a picture on my blog of some serious cuddling. Disclainer... pictures not nearly as good as yours:)

nickelsmum said...

OK, I guess the lawyers want me to add a bunch of disclaimers, so here goes again.

Someone who knows how to train using operant conditioning with a positive reinforcement marker and bridge can train anything with a brain stem.

Not all humans constitute the first 16 words of the prior sentence. However, if you happen to meet those criteria and choose to clicker train, you can clicker train a hamster.

Companion Animal Solutions

I need orange said...

Taking pics of black critters is hard. I've had my best success against a darkish medium gray (very plain) background. With cloudy light, not strong light.

I have (and have had) Pembroke corgis, and two mutts.

All fights have been due to a corgi telling someone else what to do (or not to do). Any time the other dog responds "you are not the boss of me!" there is a fight.

I have learned a lot about this over the years, and now stomp the "I am the boss of you" behavior. I am sure this lessens it.

But the thing that has saved me from fights for the last several years is that I now have one corgi and one beagleX. The beagle puts on his humble forelock-tugging aspect when the corgi starts acting bossy, and that's the end of it.

(Then the beagle just waits until the corgi's attention is elsewhere and does whatever he wants.)

We've only gone to the vet (with a torn cheek) once, but have had too many ear punctures to remember. When an 13-yr-old bitch tells a 2-yr-old bitch to leave all balls ALONE, and ALWAYS ends up with ear punctures, you'd think she might quit it, but being bossy is so deep in their nature that nothing was going to root that out.

Stop the attacks, I can, maybe, usually, but the inclination to attack? I don't think so...............

I have always been there when fights have occurred (at least fights that left any trace!), and I've never had two take a hatred to each other (which is permanent and means segregated living or re-homing one). So I am clear there are other sorts of situations than I have encountered...........

ORSunshine said...

I found your blog from Carol's and I've been following your posts back a ways this evening. I'm thoroughly enjoying this! You tell awesome stories with your camera and narration!

I have worked in rescue for several years. All of our pets (horse included) have been rescues. Of which, we have two dogs. My eldest, Freya seems to experience same-sex aggression. Have you much experience with this? If so, how did you handle it? She's collie/malamute x, btw. And possibly a smidgen of Alaskan wolf. No idea for sure though. She's great with female puppies but once they hit sexual maturity (both parties spayed, of course!), she just can't tolerate having another b*tch in her vicinity.

Now, she's perfectly fine with the boys. She is ever so much the ooey-gooey, I lurves you, hussy with the boys as long as they use good doggie manners. She loves our young male Aussie to no ends, but we had to rehome a female Aussie because the aggression got out of hand. (Seriously, our female would be submissive and Freya would just kick the crap out of her!).

Any advice?

And, I didn't send the snow. I blamed you Canadians for sending it down to Oregon a lot this year. j/k :)

-Oregon Sunshine

(I'm following the comment trail here via email)