Tuesday, May 31, 2011
I was at the harbor on the weekend where I saw a guy pushing his dog into a down while he met another dog. The dog that was being pushed down was an Alaskan Malamute and the dog he was meeting was a young boxer, not really young but not quite a year it looked like. The Alaskan was not comfortable being in a down position while meeting this other dog. The other dog was quite apprehensive which I'm assuming is why the Alaskan was being put into a down.
So let's pick apart what was going on in this situation. A young insecure boxer was to meet a very large husky dog who looked very friendly and energetic. Maybe a bit too energetic to meet for the boxer, but it would probably be a good experience. Unfortunately what was happening was that the Alaskan was being wound up by being continually put into a down, where he did not want to be. He had something to say obviously and it was not that he was a submissive dog. The Alaskan became more and more agitated as his owner manhandled him into a down. This happened several times until there was to be no meeting and they parted ways.
Placing a dog in a down to meet another dog is fine if your dog is fine with it. In fact many meetings improve once the very big dog is down and smaller, less threatening. But if the big dog does not want to be down; then down is not where they should be. A dominant dog forced into a submissive position has more to prove; they don't want to come across as a submissive dog. Each time this Alaskan Malamute broke his down he assumed his tiptoe posture. He was friendly but confident.
The Alaskan simply wanted to say "hi; I'm a big and confident guy." But instead; his human kept interrupting causing him to start over and speak more loudly each time. Often dogs will lay down all on their own when they see that a dog is fearful, I love when this is a natural response. It is very important to know your dog and not force a situation. Forcing almost always backfires.
Posted by Sherri at 9:54 PM
Monday, May 30, 2011
I hope that you all had a great weekend. We had a pretty good weekend; finishing up some renovating, a walk at the harbor, morning at the beach and a few slow poke walks at the park. We spent a great deal of time at home; my favorite thing to do. Last night we watched a movie and I thoroughly enjoyed having my room back in order. The dogs clearly did too as they joined me on the couch. Our couch is 13' long; great for lots of people, or lots of dogs as it was last night. Me, Luke, Jessie and at the end Tilley. All covered up and on blankets; it is a very content time of the day.
During the day we had some outings. Things are getting a bit tough though with our trips out with a dog. It is becoming more difficult to bring either Jessie or Tilley along; that is if we are planning any amount of walking or time spent. Yesterday was a big walk at the harbor, even big for Luke now nearing 11 years. There is just no way that Tilley or Jessie could join us. It is heartbreaking leaving them behind but as a canine guardian it is what we have to do, use our head. Jessie isn't as difficult to leave as Tilley; Tilley stands blinking at the front door as I quickly exit and lock it behind me, I just hate it.
Luke is definitely showing signs of age before either Tilley or Jessie did. It is genetics and structure and he is suffering earlier than the girls did. He is stiff after long walks and he is always tweaking that long neck of his. But he has the energy to go so we keep it at walking now. Even if he is off leash he does one initial burst of speed and then pretty much walks.
So yesterday Luke got to go to the harbor and today to the beach. Jessie has a sore leg or paw, not quite sure what is going on so she rested and we may visit the vet tomorrow. Today we spent 3 hours at the beach; we didn't walk that far but it was a very stimulus filled day for Luke and he was zonked once we hit the car. On the ride home I stated that there too will come a day when Luke can't go; but we didn't discuss that further.
It is not easy leaving dogs behind but you simply have to listen to your head and not your heart. The girls get their snail walks. Tilley loves nothing more than a game of ball in the yard, it's what she lives for. But neither can do the distance and even my baby Luke is finding it more tedious. So at the end of a long weekend we all piled onto the very long couch once again and had a snugglefest, everyones favorite activity these days.
Posted by Sherri at 10:01 PM
Saturday, May 28, 2011
I love dog gear; I mean really great and useful dog gear. Over the years I've been through mountains of the stuff; I have a bucket load of leashes and collars that I plan on going through. Once I decide which are keepers I will donate the rest to a needy rescue. Fortunately a good leash can last a lifetime; that is if Fido doesn't chomp it in half. I have bags, poop bag carriers, back packs, water bottle holders galore, harnesses, bowls etc. So what makes something "great gear" for me and my gang?
I like utility, I am not into glitz for dogs without usefulness, although dog glitz for me, yes. I like my gear to be tough enough to take a beating. I bought my Xterra for that reason, toughness and utility. I also like if the gear is smart and useful; does it do what it is suppose to do? Can it hold up or is it made to look good and crush under the first sign of use? We all know that there are lot's of things out there that are not good quality, both for dogs and for humans. Doesn't it make you so angry when you buy something for your dog only to have it break or be useless on the first try?
When you enter a pet store it is literally mind boggling to see the amount of "stuff" that we can buy for our dogs. And I am the first to admit that I love dog stuff; but it has to be good dog stuff as I've said. I've made many bad purchases and tested some really stupid stuff but when I find a great product, service or dog essential I share it. I love when someone comes up with a fabulous idea and runs with it. Even more so I love a company that stands behind their product. So if you are a regular reader you will have already seen many items that I've either purchased and loved or been given to test and review.
I'm always on the hunt for new cool stuff for our dogs; and new cool dog stuff for those of us who are dog lovers. I will let you know when I find cool dog stuff for us too. Anyone who loves dogs as much as we do like to wear and sport dog apparel regularly right? Finding new accessories, clothing, car decal, bags and dog stuff that you just have to have can be a challenge. But it's a challenge that I'm up to so I will search high and low and find the coolest things that I can for both your dog and for you and I will share it here, on my blog.
Now off hunting I go.
Posted by Sherri at 10:37 PM
It has come to my attention recently that we as a human race tend to lie to our dogs quite a bit. And I am here to tell you to try not to. Oh sure there are the times when we are in a panic; perhaps there is impending danger and all we have to fall back on is a lie, but that is the only time a lie should be pulled out. I'm sure many of you are thinking "I don't lie to my dog," right? So you've never yelled out "Cookie?" This while standing in the park and then hooked up your dog and gone home without delivering the cookie? You've never told your pooch that you were going in the car so that they'd come in the house or come?
We've all done it; although I try my hardest not to because there are fallout issues with lying to our dogs. The biggest issue is the ignoring issue. Have you said "cookie, car or walk" one too many times and not produced what you said? Well then we have the "never cry wolf" issue. Someone I know has done this a lot lately; I'm not mentioning any names but lets just say I know him well. What happens when you lie to your dog often is a diminished verbal reliance. The word which use to hold so much power has now become a neutral word, not good.
For our dogs; everything is black and white. They have a hardtime with gray; the clearer we can make our communications the better. With enough training and repetition some of our words weild great power while others just mean what they mean. So if we over use and under produce we tarnish our reputation and our words.
Tone factors in when communicating as well. I can say to Luke "did you see any lizards today?" If I say it in a very loud asking tone he flies from whatever he is doing to see if there are indeed any lizards. If I ask him in a low boring sort of tone he gets his ears up but doesn't fly off the handle. You must be careful how you use your words; specifically the ones that our dogs understand. These are golden or should I say silver? Silver because it can tarnish if not taken care of; we need to treasure our words of communication and not throw them around willy nilly.
Before you speak, think.
Posted by Sherri at 7:18 AM
Friday, May 27, 2011
When I was at the park the other day, Luke and I were enjoying the crisp cool air as were many others. We'd made our way around the park once and were just about to cut across the field when I saw and heard a little girl on a bike yelling at me. As we got closer she shouted out "I think that's a poodle, is that a poodle?" First off let me say how shocked I was that she knew that Luke is a poodle; I've had other poodle owners ask me what he is. "Is that a doodle?" NO for the millionth time. This little girl who had to be no more than 3 or 4 knew.
She stopped her bike; then said "he looks different, he's missing, missing his poofs." "Yep I cut them off," I told her. "Oh, you cut them off," she said nodding as though this made clear sense now. How cute is this little girl? Then she says; as we are about 10 feet away at this point "can I pet your dog?" What? Did she really ask me that? Someone has taught this girl well. I couldn't help but smile, this little girl doing it the right way. She never approached us until I told her that she could indeed pet the dog. But of course I didn't tell her this until I yelled to what looked like her Grandma. She nodded so I told her she could pet him.
She comes over quietly and calmly pets Luke's back. Her little brother was on a scooter and he dropped it and ran when he saw his sister petting a dog. He had to be around two and said to me "is that a doodle?" I laughed because I'm pretty sure he meant to say poodle. He too pet Luke calmly on the back as I monitored the situation. Luke was calm and being a good boy. The two children were done in a split second and ran back to their bikes. I smiled at their Grandma and said "great kids." She was beaming of course; as any good Grandmother should be.
This was a great interaction with little kids and a strange dog. Not all are like this and it is completely the fault of the parents. More than once I've had to hold my hand out keeping a child at bay as they swing their arms around attempting to throw them around my dog's neck. Not all dogs are okay with kids; this is a fact. And if you do not teach your children to respect dogs, then they could be the victim of a dog bite which could have been avoided. Some dogs are down right freaked by children; perhaps never having been accustom to them being around. Children are very different than adults; they move differently, faster and haphazardly.
Child/dog interactions also need a huge amount of supervision, adult supervision. Dogs are very clear in their communications but children will not notice; that's your job. It is our job to protect our children and to protect our dogs.
Posted by Sherri at 6:07 AM
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
15 years; 15 years is a longtime especially when 9 of those years feel like an amazing gift. Today is Jessie's birthday; she is 15. We were given 9 years longer than we thought we would have with this little dynamite dog. You can read her story and her struggles here, The little dog that could But be forewarned, I cannot read it without crying. Of course this doesn't mean that you will but it gets me each and every time and I wrote it.
Get your very own merchandise with the tenacious J on it.
This last year has seen many changes in the life of our little Jack Russell. She was struck by dementia or canine cognitive dysfunction. this past Christmas so we are plodding along. Up until that point in time she had only had a few odd behaviors now and again. Jessie is a huge force in our family as she has maintained her "top dog" status throughout the years. Her first conquer was a male Standard poodle that we had, Clyde. He was much older than Jessie but he was quickly and efficiently demoted.
She has always been the "supreme" dog; letting all dogs who meet her know this fact instantly. Over the years I've grown accustom to blurting out "she's not friendly" as people are oddly drawn to her with their dog. As soon as she meets another dog she stiffens up and her hair goes all the way up. She walks on her tip toes very slowly and methodically. If the other dog doesn't understand this and continues with their approach; well lets just say it doesn't normally go very well. Although there have been times when Jessie has shocked the pants of me and been downright cordial. It really depends on the level of groveling that the other dog offers, grovel well and keep your head. :)
I have to say that I have never had a 15 year old dog; our dogs have all gone at around the age of 13. They have all been large dogs which is pretty average. But I now have a 14 year old large dog and 15 year old small one (body only). Throughout the years Jessie has shown me just what tenacious means and when someone says Jack Russell Terror I know exactly what they mean. But it also brings a smile; how can you not love that much confidence in such a small package?
Even though Jessie is now often confused she is very healthy physically. So here is to many more years with this crazy little munchkin.
Posted by Sherri at 10:24 PM
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
After a very long and controversial, yep controversial conversation yesterday about food bowl guarding and how to best fix it I got my inspiration for today's blog. Even though food bowl guarding is very unwanted and can be a dangerous behavior, it is amazingly common. Dogs don't share; let me just get that out there first. Oh yes there are those who don't give a hoot about anything; anyone can take anything from them and they don't care. I'm not talking about those guys. Even the most meek dog who has very little confidence will try guarding once in a while.
But to guard; one must possess desire.
Desire: to wish or long for; crave; want.
Occasionally a guarding behavior will become habitual; meaning that even if a dog doesn't really want a certain item, guarding has become the go to behavior for everything. Nipping a guarding behavior in the bud is essential; but it takes smarts, human smarts. Many people just take the item away; perhaps they smack or yell at the dog and then take it away. Sometimes people do an alpha roll or scruff a dog when they guard their food bowl. All of these mentioned reactions are not great ideas; in fact they will often make the problem worse. What is going on in a dog's head when they food bowl growl is that they want to make sure that no one is going to take their stuff. So if you take it away from them everytime they growl...........................yep; you give them cause to guard their food. Ponder on that for a bit.
Even if you have never touched their stuff; your dog may think that you want it. And in your dog's eyes it may be a very valuable commodity. Essentially what you have to do is change the way your dog feels about you or others around their bowl. Through association you are going to recondition their automatic response. So what would the best association be when someone approaches your bowl? Probably that they are bringing some delicious food to you!!!!!!! Bingo. Depending on the degree of food bowl guarding will be where you start and how quickly you progress. It begins with hand feeding which is extremely important. Get rid of the bowl and take control of the food allotment.
Once you have a dog that is comfortable with being hand fed their meal; you can re-introduce the bowl but don't feed in it yet, just have it hang around near the hand feeding. Then you start dropping piece at a time into the bowl and leave your hand in there occasionally adding really yummy stuff like cheese, chicken or liver. Something obviously different from whatever they are eating. Then you add more food at a time and drop the yummy stuff in while you sit and hold the bowl. You work up to feeding a whole meal and dropping yummy stuff into the bowl.
I suggest dropping good food into all dog bowls while they are eating. Even if they do not have an issue with guarding their bowl; this makes a humans presence around the bowl a great thing. As well as picking the bowl up mid meal every once in a while. Add some delicious tidbits, stir it around and give it back better than when you took it away. Don't take it for long, just a couple of seconds. Do not take the bowl until your dogs is looking at you with excitement when you approach the bowl.
I still push my hand into all of my dog's bowl and drop in something yummy. It keeps even the slightest idea that someone is going to "take it" completely away. If you have a new puppy, start this right away and you won't ever run into "food bowl guarding."
Posted by Sherri at 9:52 PM
Monday, May 23, 2011
This is the last installment of three; they all go together like a puzzle. So if you have read the two previous days blogs then this is the final one in the trilogy. There is so much to know about breeding and I for one like to leave it to the pros. Much has been done wrong in our breeds of today but with good breeders we may be able to rectify some of it. It is the ones that are pumping puppies out left, right and center who are truly doing the damage. People breeding dogs with no knowledge of what their dog is passing down to the future. Sadly it is not good what is passed on which often leads to much heartache in families when their dog becomes ill or worse.
There is so much to say about the genetic makeup of a dog that it is mind boggling; there are many different opinions about how to breed better dogs through genetic manipulation. Although I do not breed dogs; at least not at the moment, I do have an opinion on the subject (you know I always have an opinion). For instance; I have spoken with many breeders who are still on the page that genetic inbreeding is the only way to know what you are getting.
Inbreeding: the mating of closely related individuals, as cousins, sire-daughter and brother-sister which tends to increase the number of individuals that are homozygous for a trait and therefore increases the appearance of recessive traits
Inbreeding is the way it has been done for many years; but it is also the undoing of many breeds and dogs. When you breed dogs within the same small genetic pool you lose genetic diversity and breed vigor. What happens when dogs are inbred is that genetic material is diminished; and it is genetic diversity that keeps a line strong and healthy, if strong and healthy specimens have been used that is. This wonderful article written by the renowned Dr. John Armstrong on Canine Inbreeding and Diversity explains a lot. I feel very honored to have spoken with Dr. Armstrong before his passing; he was a man with great knowledge and an even greater passion for dogs.
I have seen firsthand the results of inbreeding; low birth rate is the first and most obvious result. When I hear of dogs who should normally have 8-12 puppies in the average litter who have only had 2 or 3; it is the first thing I consider. Health and longevity are also hampered by closely line breeding. Zoos have long known the result of inbreeding and most now put many hours into ensuring that only healthy and genetically diverse animals are used for breeding purposes. Some breeders are now doing the same and these are the ones leading the way of the future.
"Mutts are healthier"; how many times have you heard this statement? I know I've heard it dozens of times a year. Of course the statement is not a fact but it does have a basis to its origin. Mutts have a great amount of canine diversity although most mutts or mixed dogs do not have any genetic health tests being done on them so no one really knows what is in the mix. It is not suffice to say that outcrossing is the means to a healthy dog.
Out crossing: the breeding of two animals with little or no similar relatives in their pedigree.
It is through extensive research done by a breeder who looks to find healthy specimens with little genetic similarities when bred together produces better dogs.
Frozen semen; more and more breeders are going the way of frozen semen. I believe it is a wonderful way to save some of the great dogs DNA for use down the road and to create genetic diversity. Many feel that it is just too far; too much human intervention but are dog breeds not all due to human intervention? Yep. If it were not for human intervention there would be dogs; just dogs in general with no specific breeds of any type. So for the sheer reason that we alone have solely had a hand in ruining them, it should be us that tries to fix the problem. One aspect of frozen semen that I really like is that you can often see the results of good breeding first hand. You may indeed use the semen of a dog who is now gone but lived to 17 years of age strong and healthy. Now that is some semen you want to find.
There is also the aspect that it can be shipped pretty much anywhere giving you a better chance of breeding dogs that are not related. This alone is very exciting. Although some breeders are bringing in dogs from other countries to add to their breeding stock which I believe to be very beneficial. Of course all tests must be done and genetic lineage looked at before breeding but it is very exciting as well.
All in all genetics is very fascinating; at least it is for me. Some breeders are doing it all right; some are just looking at this whole genetic diversity thing and there are still some caught in the dark ages with the mindset that line or inbreeding is the only way. Hopefully somewhere along the way they will see the light; if only for the good of our dogs.
Posted by Sherri at 9:33 PM
Sunday, May 22, 2011
I'm started now and continue on my 3 part series of Don't even get me started. Todays #2 part focuses on temperament and what should and should not be bred. Very recently I have been focusing on temperament alot; with the consideration of adding another dog to my pack it is of the utmost importance to add the right dog. My pack is a perfect one; it runs smoothly and I am not willing to give that up. That means that a huge amount of work is put into finding lines that I like in regards to temperament.
Temperament: the combination of mental, physical, and emotional traits, natural predisposition.
But the recipe for this puppy is vastly important; what temperaments went into the creation of this temperament. Temperament is passed down from Dam and Sire; not in the form of being identical but if you start with good stuff there is a better chance that the resulting puppies will have good temperaments. Of course there is always the chance that someone might not have a good temperament; that happens with people to. But by taking out any temperament traits that are not desirable in your breeding stock; really helps to ensure great puppies.
Many breeds have been ruined by bad breeders; a bad breeder in this context being someone who bred a dog that should not have been bred. Being a breeder is serious work; you are creating dogs to offer to the general public and you have a big responsibility to offer the best possible puppies that you can. Often so much hope and anticipation is put onto one dog that temperament may be overlooked. Oh you may know that his/her temperament is not the greatest but "oh that head, that movement or that amazing coat," clouds your decision making capabilities.
Of course each breed have different types of temperaments; soft, hard, sharp etc. But if one of your breeding dog exhibits a temperament that you would not unquestionable choose yourself then your next step should be off to the vets with that dog to be altered. If breeders in general took a closer look and only bred amazing temperaments it would indeed cut down on "bad dog" numbers. Some of the breeds with notoriously bad temperaments use to be some of the great ones. But with over breeding and careless breeding too many bad temperaments got into the soup creating now a bad breed instead of a few bad individuals.
Some breeds that I see on a regular basis that need work in the temperament department are:
These are just the ones I see on a regular basis with some really bad temperaments. Some breeds have been bred for specific purposes like herding or guarding. But while focusing on one aspect or trait other parts can be lost and the puppies that end up in a average family home cannot make it. These are the dogs that find themselves passed from one home to another finally ending up in a shelter. Dogs should be bred specifically for all; a dog can happily coexist in the average family home. Yes there are breeds with more specific traits; but even these dogs should have great temperaments.
One of the many great things about dogs is that they can adjust and they do that well. Even a dog who has been dealt with a bad temperament from a lack of good breeding can be turned around with the dedicated work of a new guardian. Temperament is what a dog is born with; temperament is how a dog reacts to life itself. With work the reactions can change and a dog born with a lack of confidence can learn to be confident, an over dominant dog can learn to "fit in" with the right guardian. So although you are who you are so to speak; a dog can change.
Posted by Sherri at 10:25 PM
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Often writing ideas come to me when I'm out on my walks; especially when it is early, the sun just peeking over the trees and air is still. With my walking buddy charging in all directions my thoughts are almost always on dogs and these were my reflections from yesterday. Breeding dogs; I know a lot of breeders and each and every one has their own agenda; why they breed, what they breed, how they breed and their ultimate goal. Unfortunately many do it for the money; some to produce their own line of a breed with the physical and temperamental traits which they desire and then there are the people who are breeding for a better dog for the average family.
So what about structure; is it important or is it all about vanity? Structure is extremely important; first let's look at the definition of biological structure -
If a dog has structural faults don't breed it; bottom line. I don't care if it is a mixed breed or purebred; if you breed it there is a good chance it's going to pop up again somewhere down the road. Taking a dog who has structural faults and breeding it to a structurally sound dog is not the way to go. Breed good with good and you will better the chance of creating great. Breeding good with poor can create a crack; which may end up being the one that breaks the foundation of your otherwise structurally sound lines.
Posted by Sherri at 10:10 PM
Friday, May 20, 2011
I love this photo of my daughter, Tilley and Luke.
Inspiration at the park; yep it doesn't take long and I'm inspired. Yesterday I took the poodles to the park; it is a slow go with Tilley but she made it all the way around. While we were getting out of the xterra a woman got out of her car with what looked like a Fox Terrier mix. She immediately headed across the park to the other side; giving herself and her dog some distance. I got Tilley out first and then Luke and we head in the opposite direction. It was a gorgeous cool day.
Of course at one point we had to cross paths with this woman, I thought nothing of it. Her dog looked excited as we got closer and closer. About 25 feet away from us the woman made an abrupt turn and started walking across the park again. Fine; maybe her dog had issues with other dogs. But; she was literally dragging her dog and not looking back. She kept walking; the dog was on the very end of an extension leash straining to see my guys. She gave it an almighty yank without so much as a glance backwards. I shook my head as we continued our lovely walk.
Once again we were approaching the woman and her dog. This time she started walking away instantly; her pace was abrupt. Her little dog started to squat to pee and was quickly yanked out of pee position from her very rude owner. Not one glance back to her dog did this woman make. Her dog could have easily gotten wrapped up around one of the many trees while she was yanking. It wasn't a smart behavior from the woman, nor was it safe. Not only was it unwise to just head off without a look back but the whole scenario spoke volumes. There was no concern for the dog, no trying to work on a behavior issue, just dragging.
Lack of supervision is a big problem; it is often when something happens. Plus while her dog was displaying a great deal of communication; she was missing it on her quest to get away. Running away never fixes anything; what it does do is instill worse behaviors. The big thing in this whole situation was the lack of watching; there was no connection between this dog and the human. No talking; no communicating, nothing. It was sad and I felt bad that this dog was just being dragged along. The woman could have used this as a great training moment. The park is great in that you can really get some great distance yet keep the trigger or distraction in the same area. I hate to see a disconnect between a dog and their owner.
A wasted moment in time; left to become the past with nothing to bring to the future, sad. Sherri Regalbuto
Posted by Sherri at 10:38 PM
Thursday, May 19, 2011
From feeding bowls to the food in the bowl; I thought this would be a good next blog.
I was on the way home from the gym when it donned on me that I was out of meat. As you all know I feed my dogs a huge array of foods as well as a wide variety of proteins. With my girls the job of feeding different foods is an easy one, not so much with Luke. He is very picky and definitely has his favorites; which are all too often nothing close to what a dog should or normally eats. So on the way home I popped into the grocers to see what they had. I always check for deals and sales, and if I find a good one I stock up the freezer. I love when I have a freezer full of food for the dogs.
I feel the best when I am giving my dogs "REAL" food. If I have to feed dog food twice in a row I get feeling very guilty. Usually it's because I've simply run out of the real stuff but sometimes I'm just in a pinch for time as I have been of late. With home renovations and juggling dogs it's been tough. So I bought some Stella and Chewies freeze dried raw for those "in a pinch" times. I feel much better about an occasional dog food if I can switch that up as well. So I've decided to have a look at some canned food as well and keep a good supply of that in the cupboard. So I'll let you know if I find a good one.
With Luke it is imperative to switch things up anyway. He does not like to eat the same thing more than twice in a row, of course unless it is shortbread that is. The best way to get the optimum nutrition into your dog is to switch it up. Even if that means buying several different bags of dog food. Eating the same thing day in and day out is not good for any dog or any human at that. We need lots of sources of nutrients.
Snacking really helps with the variety factor as well. I will occasionally give eggs as a snack, not to Luke of course. He hates eggs. Any protein that happens to be left over in my fridge is great for a snack, roast, cheese, fish. My guys like veggies too, they love peppers, mostly the yellow ones but the will eat the red and the green. They never have problems digesting these and they are a favorite all around. The girls eat fruit, not Luke so I have to sneak things like that into his food.
Gone are the days when we bought the idea of one food all the time forever and ever. Dogs, like wolves are opportunists, and they will often eat whatever they can get. Take Tilley in the morning, she likes if she gets cheese or bacon but if I give her a piece of apple she will take it with her lips pulled back and bring it to her bed. There she stares at it until she sees that nothing else is coming and then she eats it. Eating the same thing all the time is simply not a natural to eat.
When I got home from the grocery store I had bags of meat, beef, chicken, pork, liver and giblets. Soon after I got into the kitchen I had a boy with his nose raised to the counter. This is the only time that Luke follows me in to see what's cook'n. I chopped up some raw roast, added peppers, egg shells and cabbage and had three chowing down their breakfast. They had chicken for dinner and I was feeling great about it.
Posted by Sherri at 9:42 PM
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
It's another controversial subject; there are those who are for and those who are against. I'm with the "against" side. Over the years raised bowls have gone in and out of fashion. The first time I heard anything about raised bowls was more of a; it's just what you do if you have a tall dog. Anything over 20" I think was considered "raised bowl," material. There was really no explanation other than the fact that the dog was tall, using a raised bowl was bringing the food up to them. Mny folks ran out and bought raised bowls. Mind you that was a very long time ago. Since then I have heard several reasons why you should but always used my own experience to guide the way for my own dogs.
I always tend to look at the way it is in nature to guide me. Surely; not all answers are found there but when I look at a pack of wolves eating, it gives me a good idea. I have always thought that if our dogs want to lay down and eat, they can. Tilley use to eat laying down when she was young; then she sort of got over it but has now resorted to laying down again. Luke stands and Jessie stands. Given bones Tilley immediately lays down, Luke is about 50-50 and Jessie the same, half standing and half laying down.
I think the moment that sealed the deal for me as far as NEVER using a raised bowl was watching Luke drink. I have a portable bowl that I take on walks and Luke loves to drink. If I hold the bowl up off of the ground I can literally hear the air going into him as he drinks. I am very careful now to keep the bowl on the ground or close to it. Once the air goes in I can hear it gurgling around in there.
Some of the reasons that have been stated for using a raised bowl are: neck strain, bloat, ease of eating, save wear and tear on the pasterns (basically ankles.) Again; I think if they want to lay down they can. Of course this is my opinion and as I have tried to talk to others about the subject; it is obviously a controversial one. Everyone needs to do what they feel best for their dog; I choose to feed them without the aid of a raised bowl. I also like to toss their food around the yard, use it for training and hide it. If they do eat from a bowl and they often do; it is on the floor. Like everything having to do with dogs; I have done my research and come up with the best recommendation for my dogs and myself. Research is essential, everyone should dive in and read up.
Here are some good articles on the subject; there are many more so have a look around and do what you feel comfortable doing.
Vet Info website on bloat
Great article on bloat
Another controversial article on the subject
Posted by Sherri at 10:20 PM
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
There is goop and then there is goop; sometimes our dogs get goopy eyes. Not the regular goopy stuff; sometimes they get more goop that can be caused by dozens of different things but often it is good ole allergies. Southern California is horrible for allergies; I have them pretty much year round but there are sometimes that a worse. That is when it seems to hit Luke as well and his eyes get goopy.
I've been using Castor Oil for Luke's eyes for years. Yes I know what you are thinking; Castor oil? I thought the same thing when I first read it which was in Dr. Pitcairn's book years ago. With Luke's slight seasonal allergies he gets the goopy eyes thing. They do seem to bother him; they seem itchy so I did a lot of research. I tend to always veer towards a natural solution so when I discovered Castor Oil I though I'd give it a whirl. Low and behold his eyes were totally cleared up by the next day. This happens only once or twice a year so I've had the same bottle for all this time and barely made a dent.
When I put the oil in his eyes I use a small syringe. I put a few drops into the syringe and only one tiny drop in the affected eye. We call him "Oily eyes," for a day but then it's gone. The castor oil gives him an oily rim around his eye but other than that nothing. It doesn't seem to bother him; except of course for the actual application. But that has nothing to do with getting it placed in the eye and all about "what are you doing to me?" situation. It doesn't hurt and he has learned to let me do it quickly now. I just tell him "let Mommy see," and he knows that I need to check something. Of course he worries, it is his nature to worry.
For Luke with his seasonal allergies; Castor oil works amazingly. I'm sold and we never have to use anything harsh on his eyes and my Mr. Oily eyes is all better overnight.
Posted by Sherri at 10:00 PM
I hadn't planned to have another blog filled with my dogs but this was a very spontaneous albeit amazing shoot that I had yesterday. The dogs were all asleep in the living room; the sun was out and it was my birthday. I wanted to something that I love to do; photograph something. So I got out some strawberries, a huge vase of water and shot away. Then Luke came out; which in itself changed my whole shoot. First he came to see what I was doing.
Then he thought he'd have a little drink out of my water bucket. Once he did that the wheels were set in motion. I ran and got a tennis ball.
I always play with the dogs in a kiddie pool filled with water; they love to retrieve anything out of it. But this I thought would make for some great shots, I was right.
After a few bites the ball sunk. Hmmmmm? After checking the ball was broken, which again was a nice surprise for the shoot. Both poodles have learned to go underwater, it is a process which usually is quickly learned. It is very funny to watch as they learn about breathing vs. not breathing under water.
Tilley is the pro; only her Vestibular gave her a hard time with regards to aim.
Luke gives it a go again; he isn't a huge fan of getting his eyes wet. It takes a while to get past that.
And he's past, but the ball is very deep down.
He can clearly see it on the outside; now just to get it from the inside. I thought I'd shoot the mouth in the water shots but as the game progressed it made for great real life shots as Luke tried to figure out how to get the ball out of the deep water.
Tilley shows him how to do it again; as you can see her aim is off but she does get it. She's not a quitter. Luke watched Tilley retrieve the ball over and over. For Tilley there is no figuring it out; you simply get the ball.
Another try while Luke watches.
Luke gives it another go.
Just missed it again.
So, so close.
But Tilley snags it yet again. Just after this shot Luke gave Tilley a huge growl, he was getting frustrated and took it out on her. No doubt because she kept getting it.
He just needed to be brave; something that Tilley excels in. They love this game and everytime Tilley got it out, they both stared at the ball until it was put back into the water and it began again.
Posted by Sherri at 7:06 AM
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Yesterday Luke was in a funk; I wasn't sure what it was, a sore neck, over tired or what. Late in the morning he got up out of our bed and moved down to the couch in the living room. It started to pour so our regular walk was cancelled. While I was on the computer later during the morning I realized that he had not followed me upstairs, weird. He ate breakfast but was not in a good mood. So when my husband and I were out at HomeGoods looking for new rugs I searched the dog toy area. Like anyone who isn't having a good day; something special is in order.
I chose cats; I got one for Luke and one for Tilley, Jessie no longer acknowledges toys. Terry cloth stuffed cats with squeakers in them. $4.99 each, not bad for brand new big sized toys. My boy just needed a new toy this morning; I new that it would cheer him up. When we got home I quietly squeaked the toy from behind him; his face lit up and he was so excited. I gave him and Tilley their toys and they happily chomped them for at least an hour.
Many people never get their dog toys; they feel that it is a human thing and not necessary for dogs. But toys for dogs are so important; it doesn't matter what the toy is as long as it is something to play with. Luke played with his toy; squeaking it which obviously triggers a prey instinct. The more it squeaks the more he chomps the toy until he rips a tiny hole and the fluff demolition begins. He rips and tears at it until it lies dead on the floor, empty and lifeless. It is then that the toy becomes an object of tug-o-war. It no longer makes noise; it has no more stuffing to be removed so now we pull at it.
Toys don't have to cost a lot of money; I regularly buy yards of fleece and make my own toys. I sometimes get sick of the fluff all over the house so I braid great toys for them. Luke knows when I'm braiding a toy and if it happens to be a toy for someone else, he's not happy about it. A few pieces of fabric braided together bring so much joy; he can barely contain himself through the braiding process. He often sits only an inch away from me biting at the toy every so often until I finally tell him to stop, seriously.
Dogs are dogs and they need prey; for our modern dogs that is often toys. If they don't have toys unfortunately they will find their own prey and it may be in the form of a water hose, your couch, a few pillows, your favorite shoes or the children's toys but they find some. Toys are very important, different textures, sounds, shapes and sizes. The more toys you have the less chance of your stuff becoming toys. Our dogs need outlets for their dog behaviors and toys are a great substitute for live prey running around to chase or a game of tug with a carcass.
I shop at the discount stores for our toys; better toys at good prices. Today it was two cats; next time who knows what. Even with a basket full of toys; a new toy was in order today. As I write this blog Luke is laying beside me de-stuffing his new cat and loving every second of it. :)
Posted by Sherri at 9:30 PM
Saturday, May 14, 2011
We had, or I should say the dogs had a pretty relaxing day yesterday. We had our typical walk in the morning; the girls and I meandered around the park while Luke was off with his Dad on the trail. We met up in the middle and had some treats, then headed home. Once home everyone had time to chill; cool down although there isn't a whole lot of heating up for the girls. Anyhow they cooled down and then had a yummy breakfast. From that point it was R&R time.
We've been renovating the room below; as we chatted about what was to come, colors and decorating the poodles chilled. Luke actually fell asleep on the one bed I put down there just in case.
We've been renovating the room below; as we chatted about what was to come, colors and decorating the poodles chilled. Luke actually fell asleep on the one bed I put down there just in case.
Luke gets comfy
Luke in on the conversation; listening to every word his Dad is saying.
Checking out the carpet I cut for the new wood steps
Nap time again; here Tilley is gazing at her Dad who just sat to the left of her.
Luke wasn't quite ready for another nap; here I'm asking him if he wants me to throw his ball.
A little nibbling.
Listening to Dad again.
Thinking about bringing the ball to Dad so he can throw it again.
Tilley was comfy; ya think?
I get a bow; just because Luke is goofy.
Not happy about all the ruckus in the living room.
Luke decides it's time for a nap now.
And Jessie? She's been here sleeping the entire time since after breakfast.
All in all a nice day with the pooches; hope yours was great too.
Posted by Sherri at 10:33 PM