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Alangus Aussies – Alangus Mini Aussies: A Dog Blog
Jan 052016
 

I have had “miniature” Australian Shepherds as pets, travel companions and training partners since the mid 1980’s. At the time my first Aussie came to live with me, the term “miniature” was not prevalent in the vocabulary of the Aussie world, at least not in this part of the country. An Aussie was an Aussie was an Aussie and some were bigger than others.

My first Australian Shepherd was a red merle female registered with National Stock Dog Registry.  She stood 17 inches at the shoulder and weighed about 28 pounds.  Patch was a beautiful girl with bright colors and excellent bone structure, but I had no idea how nice she was at the time because the breed was new to me and we just loved her for who she was. I also had no idea that because of her height of less than 18″ that she fit into the size specifications of a Mini Aussie.

Up until the time Patch came to live with us, we had larger working Border Collies on our farm out of the dogs produced by Harold Miller here in Kentucky.  Mr. Miller, along with his son,  are well known for their herding demonstrations at the Kentucky State Fair each year.  My dad and my young son went to visit a local farmer to pick out a little Aussie puppy and came home with Patch, a bundle of red mottled fur.  My dad brought her to my house for me to do some obedience work with her and to keep her until she was old enough to work the cattle as he had done with his other BC pups.  Well, Patch lived with us for over 16 years…in the house, in our bed, in the motorhome…coddled.  She definitely had the instinct to herd and would have been voracious enough to move those big Angus bulls, but she never had to work that hard nor risk her teeth or life in the barn lot.

Patch’s sire and dam were from an  Indiana breeder and I have searched to determine her pedigree.  Her breeder no longer have papers on the parents so I have not been able to trace her lineage although I have tried through the registry service.

Patch and Jessica

It is dogs of Patch’s size that have been selectively line bred by a few breeders, primarily in the Northwest over the course of several generations, to reduce the size of the Australian Shepherd creating the height categories that are recognized today.

This pattern of breeding small to small does create a bit of a problem when breeders are asked to guarantee the adult size of the Miniature Aussie puppy they are about to purchase. We use the term “throw back” when referring to the Aussie heritage of having larger dogs in the bloodlines in earlier generations.  That occasional size discrepancy in an otherwise standardized litter is reminiscent of great great grandpa or grandma contributing their genetic imprint to the current generation much as one of our children can carry forward a characteristic of one of their ancestors.

The size is basically unimportant other than convenience because the personality and intelligence of an Aussie, Standard, Miniature or Toy are top notch.  They are excellent house pets, wonderful hiking companions, and they love to work when it is time to train obedience, agility, flyball or the activity of your choice.  Aussies, regardless the size, live to please!

 

 

 

 Posted by at 5:43 pm
Oct 022015
 

A few weeks ago, I received an email notifying me about scheduling for an AKC kennel inspection.  My first thought was, “whoa!”, how did I pop up in the sea of thousands of dog breeders throughout the United States?  Did someone make a complaint?  Did I do something so obviously wrong that it would warrant inspection?

To be on the safe side, I contacted AKC to be sure the email was legitimate and then scheduled the visit for the next week.

At the time, I only had 3 breeding females and my one little male and one litter of 5 puppies on the ground that were 6 weeks old. I wasn’t overly concerned about “appearances” because I have a really nice kennel room in my downstairs that I have recently created and the puppies were running in a large enclosure in my heated and cooled garage since they were at the age to need more space to romp.

My concern was why he was coming and what was he  looking for.  I know I am no puppy mill, so the oversight felt a bit like “big brother” and that made me somewhat wary. My dogs are house pets and live better than many children.

It turned out that the inspection was quite pleasant. The inspector told me my name bubbled to the top because of the number of puppies I had registered in 2014, the previous year. The number was relatively low because almost all my purchasers are for companion dogs, but I suppose over the threshold. He wasn’t in my region until September because he was from Louisiana and services a large area and schedules accordingly.

I wasn’t sure whether to have my dogs kenneled in their room, running loose in the house as they normally do, or have them outside.  I opted to have them kenneled except for my one spayed female which I didn’t feel was in the count and my husband kept her in another part of the house.

The first stop was for him to look in my kennel area.  He made no comments but I saw him looking for how I contained my dogs and if they had water buckets or bowls.  One of the things on the checklist was to have emergency phone numbers posted and I have those printed and framed on my wall, including my pet sitter who is always on call for me, my adult children and my 24 hour emergency vet. Good on that count.

He asked how I identify my dogs and since mine are all micro-chipped, I released one dog from her kennel for him to scan and spot check against her registration records.

Next stop was for us to chat a bit and go through my paper records.  I maintain two file boxes, one for my adults and one with a folder for each litter.  He asked me to pull a folder on one adult dog for him to see shot records and registration info.  Then he asked me to pull one folder for a previous liter.  In the litter folder, he observed that I had names and addresses and phone numbers for each puppy I had sold.  I got the impression these records were a very important part of his survey.

Prior to the visit, I was somewhat concerned that AKC asks that the information on purchasers be sent in and I feel that is an invasion of privacy on the part of the folks buying my puppies so I do not do that. If the buyer opts to register their puppy, they volunteer their own info, but in my opinion, it isn’t mine to release to be included in a database.

All good so far and the last question was if I have an emergency plan for my dogs. I wasn’t sure what he meant, so my reply was since I have contact info posted in my kennel room and that those people know my dogs and are on call for them if needed.  I don’t know what else I could do to be sure they have safekeeping except for that.  With only 6 dogs, I told him I can load them in my van and drive to a safe place in case of natural disaster that would warrant my leaving my home.

We shared some dog stories, his being more interesting than mine since he meets lots of folks and sees lots of different situations, and then the inspection was over.  He signed off on the checklist and we parted with a friendly handshake.

All said and done, the inspection wasn’t stressful. However, I’m not convinced that my small number of dogs registered with AKC warranted the time the gentleman spent driving to my house and meeting with me.

 

 Posted by at 8:34 pm
Oct 142014
 

Until Swagger was my keeper to use as a stud dog with my girls, I hadn’t had experience with an intact male and the minor issues that arise.  Swagger is a superb pet while being a major part of my breeding program so I strive to keep him healthy and happy in order to pass along his best traits to the next generation of pups at Alangus Mini & Toy Aussies.

The only true issue that I have encountered is keeping Swagger at an optimum weight.   With the assistance of Dr. Laurelee Rubsch of MVP Vet in Louisville, KY, I have found the perfect combination of food and supplements to keep him feeling his best.   Because there are other dogs in the general population that might encounter similar stumbling blocks (both male and female, breeding and non-breeding), Dr. Rubsch’s holistic approach is worth sharing.

Although my dogs are house dogs and live a basically calm life, there are times that they inadvertently  reach their stress limit, just as we do.  Because of Swagger’s situation with intact girls cycling, he would sometimes be off his food whether it was a time for them to be bred or not.  Once he stopped eating, it seemed a bellyache would start a cycle for him and he blamed the food for his belly ache and then to “save” himself, he didn’t want to eat again, a downhill spiral.

Once I pinpointed that Swagger does much better on kibble that does not contain chicken or chicken fat, that was the first step to his feeling like the little man he was meant to be.  Once I ruled out foods with chicken, it was even more difficult to find foods that did not have chicken fat because it is a staple in the majority of dog foods.  I won’t say that he has an “allergy” to that protein source, but I will say that his stomach flora seems to be much more stable on other proteins.  My veterinarian tells me, as does Internet research that this is very common, more common than I had realized.

My next step was reading about irritable bowel syndrome, which can be a disease, but often is a symptom as in Swagger’s case from the cycle I mentioned earlier.  That led me to adding Tripett Canned Green Tripe  to his daily menu. Tripe is the stomach contents from cud chewing animals and is a natural probiotic. It is not a whole food in itself, but 1/3 can each day gets Swagger off to a good start just like a good breakfast sets us up to perform at our best.  I only feed my girls once each day, but Swagger gets his tripe in the morning as an “extra”.  The girls love it too and I also give them some occasionally, although not on a regular basis.  The canned tripe is available online from www.chewy.com or at some pet supply stores.

Dr. Rubsch advised adding additional probiotics (Probiotic Miracle) to the menu as well as Standard Process Canine Enteric Support powder *1/8 teaspoon of each daily.  On my own, I also added Seacure for Pets because it is touted as another all natural supplement with awesome reviews (and I will add my own).  These 3 supplements along with the tripe have Swagger in the best condition he has ever been in and full of spunk and vinegar as is the saying around here. Note..these products are available on Amazon.

This regimen may seem extra, but I have seen the difference in the health of my boy. It is probable that once Swagger’s digestive system was stabilized, that the supplements could be discontinued but since they are only food source supplements and not drugs, I see no reason to make changes when it is working and working well!  If you find your dog under undue stress for any reason causing a stomach upset or loss of appetite, or they just need a boost to look their fittest, you might consider adding some “yummies” to their diet, but only after your veterinarian has checked them for underlying health problems that need additional treatment.

 

 

 

 

A Shot in the Dark

 Alangus Aussies, Dogs and Fireworks, Microchip Dog  Comments Off on A Shot in the Dark
Sep 032014
 

fireworksI have had this post started for quite some time, but finally have the opportunity to finish my thoughts about fireworks and their impact on our fur friends.  The pyromania starts in my neighborhood a week before the 4th of July and ends when all the rockets have finally been spent and then whenever the grandchildren come to visit, another box seems to be found at the back of the closet for their entertainment.  Oftentimes, it becomes a block party with a competition for the loudest and brightest!

Fireworks are nice to watch and are a focal point for the neighborhood children, but our poor dogs have to suffer our human silliness.

This post isn’t about the fireworks themselves, but about keeping our dogs safely contained and calm during the foray.  My own dogs don’t seem to mind the noise too much as long as they are inside in their comfort zone, but some pets go into panic whether inside or outside so it is our responsibility to protect them.

This post is prompted by an experience that I had over this past Independence Day.  I got a call from the new owner of my previous pet sitting business who was out of town asking me to come to the aid of her employee who was trying to track a dog that had escaped his yard during the “shots in the dark”.  This particular dog was an older and very calm lab that had a doggy door and had never left his yard on a good day.  He was trained to an underground fence and knew his boundaries.

Since I knew Bert, I came in as a backup to help find him when apparently he got freaked out and escaped his yard, running for his life thinking the militia was behind him.  The good news is that Bert was found 3 days later and turned in to our local Animal Control.  The good news is that we were looking for him and had left our phone numbers with AC.  The good news is that he had a collar and his rabies tag so his vet could have also been contacted after the holiday weekend to determine his owner.  The good news is that he wasn’t hit by a car on the busy highways he crossed trying to find a safe place.  The bad news was that he was microchipped but his chip was never registered and couldn’t be traced by AC (always free by the way). Under different circumstances, that might have been his safety net.  The bad news was that we found out later his underground fence wasn’t active.  The bad news was that his owners should never have instructed the pet sitter to give him outside access without supervision during the holiday. The bad news was that Bert was traumatized and is still recovering from his fear of noise and being lost.

Lessons learned and applied are the ones that count!

Feb 072014
 

I do a lot of corresponding with folks by phone, email and Facebook that are shopping for “the puppy” that they would like to bring home with them and I am reminded that a puppy is a long term commitment, not one to be taken lightly.  With that in mind, I am drawing from one of my old posts about the parallel importance of shopping for a breeder along with shopping for a puppy.

In our digital age where we can talk online to folks all over the country and world and see what they want us to see, and no more, it is even more important to do due diligence in our searches and to ask the right questions and make the correct observations when buying a dog.  None of us want to feed the fodder to a person that is running a puppy mill operation.  As consumers, we are the best police for those folks.  If they have no customers, it is no longer profitable for them to run their business.

How do you know you are buying a puppy from a reputable breeder?  What questions should you ask? How do you determine if the person you are talking to is giving you straight answers?

  • After making initial contact, try to speak on the phone to the person to get a feel for their personality.  Do they have time to talk to you?  Are they evasive or forthcoming when you ask relevant questions? Go with the gut.
  • Look at the dog’s pedigree. Even if buying a companion puppy, it is a plus to see some titled dogs in the bloodlines which indicates adherence to breed standard.  Pictures of other dogs in the line are helpful to see what the genetics behind the puppies predicts.
  • Ask to see the sire and dam’s registration papers if you wish to register your puppy.  Know the different venues for registration for the particular breed you choose.
  • If the dogs have been health tested, ask for the paperwork. Not every health item is life threatening and some have little to no effect on companion puppies, but the breeder should be open and discuss what they mean to you, as a buyer.
  • Ask the name of the breeder’s veterinarian and call the office for a reference.  Ask how often they see the breeder in their vet office for routine care.  Do not be afraid to inquire about the care the breeder gives their adults dogs.  Do they have their teeth cleaned, do they get regular vaccinations, what is the dog’s condition when they come in for exam, etc?
  • Check out Yahoo Local or Angie’s List for comments from previous buyers of puppies.  You can also ask the breeder for references and make those phone calls.  If you ask the right questions, you can get a feel for what the previous puppies from the breeder are like.
  •  Ask about membership in breed organizations and check it out.
  •  Google the person’s name and state.  Watch for any criminal activity or complaints that might crop up online.
  •  And if you can, make a personal connection with the breeder by visiting their adult dogs and seeing their house.  When visiting someone’s home, it is quite easy to see the environment in which the dogs live.  I have a strong opinion that if a breeder does not want me to see their dogs or where their dogs live, there must be a reason.  That’s not always possible if you are making a purchase out of state, but just be careful and diligent.  With our technology, virtual real time tours are very easy and valuable.

Contrary to the belief of the general public and implications of the media, reputable hobby breeders do not net a large amount of money.   Health testing, feeding quality food, routine health care,  and showing and competition are expensive  and time consuming endeavors.  Reputable breeders typically charge higher prices than those pumping out puppies in the barn to cover those costs and to guarantee a healthy animal.  For most of us, we love our breed and breeding a few litters a year is just fun and we enjoy the extended relationships with the buyers of our puppies and watching the puppies mature to become loved companions.

Puppy mills should be stopped when the health and welfare of the animals are being sacrificed for profit. The Law of Supply and Demand will help to control and eliminate the bad apples if puppy buyers will do their homework. Ask the right questions and consider the answers you find when shopping for a new puppy.

Jan 272014
 

Since my last post, I am still sold on using a litter box for potty training puppies and giving them an alternative potty place when no one is home to let them outside.  The management and cleanliness over the other methods I have used is much superior.

I have evaluated three different kinds of litter for the puppies and two containers and would like to share my experience for my puppy buyers and also for breeders that may be considering this method of potty training.

Sterlite Type Under Bed Container

Pros:  Room for puppies to move around a bit, contains litter very well with 6″ sides. Easy to clean. Easy to use small dustpan to scoop litter out to garbage for emptying.

Cons: Puppies with very short legs had trouble scaling the side to get in but once they were 5 weeks old and learned to hop over, no issues.  Container is heavy when filled.

Rabbit Hutch Tray

Pros: Shallow for ease of entry and exit.  Contained litter well.

Cons: Little boys found they could stand with front feet inside, back legs outside the container for peepee.  No problems on poopies.

Wood Stove Pellets from Tractor Supply

Pros: Pups did not try to eat the pellets. Turned to sawdust when wet.  Minimal smell. $4.50 for 40 pound bag.  Made of compressed wood sawdust so biodegradable

Cons: Pellets were not as compact and bags contained some sawdust from purchase.

Horse Bedding Pellets

Pros: Pups did not try to eat the pellets. Turned to sawdust when wet.  Minimal smell.  Liquid seemed to “disappear” with no dampness in bottom of tray. Pellets were very compressed with no sawdust in bag. $5.00 for 40 pound bag.  Made of compressed wood sawdust so biodegradable. Minimal tracking. Easy to scoop solids with cat litter scoop.

Cons: I didn’t find any cons unless you are allergic to the wood source, a non issue for me.

Dog Litter Box Pellets from PetCo (ordered online)

Pros: Non allergenic because made of compressed newspaper. Minimal to no smell. No tracking. Easy to scoop solids with cat litter scoop.

Cons: Pups liked to carry the pellets around and chew on them (at 6 weeks old). $17 per 18 pound bag. Paper absorbed the urine rather than changing form.

Evaluation:  For a litter of six puppies, starting at 3-4 weeks old, the combination of under bed box and rabbit hutch tray has been sufficient for containers for litter box training. Long term as a puppy grows, I would prefer the under bed box.   My choice of puppy litter is the horse bedding pellets from Tractor Supply both for practicality and cleanliness and price.  The textures of the 3 kinds of pellets are similar, so it is easy to transfer from one to the other and is a matter of preference and price.

Jan 212014
 

This new litter of Mini Aussie/ Mini American Shepherd puppies has been my trial run for litter box training and I am sold that it works much better than any other method I have tried.  Previously, I have used disposable pee pads and washable pee pads, the latter being the best of those two methods.  However, I learned that the washable pee pads sometimes led the puppies to believe it was okay for them to potty on their owner’s rugs since the fabric texture was what their feet were searching for as a potty area.  The litter is like nothing else found in our home environment so they can’t be confused about what is “okay”.

I have a series of YouTube videos on litter training for anyone interested but thought I would outline the steps I have taken that have worked very well.  As a retired teacher, I always have the desire to learn and also to teach.  As I was researching litter box training for dogs, I found very little worthwhile information with sequential steps from puppy hood.  Mostly folks show a picture of their final setup with a dog walking in to the box to potty.  Well, how did they get to that point??

When my puppies are born, they sleep with their dam in a Perla bed which keeps them contained in a safe and warm environment.  For the first 2-2 1/2 weeks they are unable to move out of that area and their mama dog keeps them clean and neat so potty training is a moot point.  However, once they open their eyes and ears, they start to explore and before long their little legs start to take them out into the big world around them.

At the point that they are able to roll out of their Perla bed, I changed  to the bottom half of a large plastic kennel lined with “vet bed” and left it open for the mama to come in and out.  Across from the kennel bottom, I placed the other half of the kennel lined with bed pads that you find at the drug store or Walmart. I used a large clamp to hold the two together so there were no cracks for them to fall through.  I gave them a ramp (rolled up towel) to toddle over into their bathroom area and gave them practice moving from one side to the other.  I spend a lot of time with my puppies, so I tried to move them over and back many times during the day and before long they were starting to potty on the pad.  Excellent–first step completed!  The good part was that the mama dog could jump in and out gingerly when she needed to and the puppies were contained.

As the puppies have matured, they got some time out on the floor to play and explore, but when I wasn’t watching and during the night, I made sure the halves of the crate were clamped together so they had two options, sleep in their bed, or potty in their bathroom.  Before long, I was waking up in the morning to their knowing the difference in the two areas.  Slowly, I started to add the litter on top of the pee pad.  At first it was very alien to the puppies and they weren’t sure what to do so I kept enough of the pad surface showing for their feet to feel what they were used to.   This step, introduction of litter completed!

Once the first bold puppy learned to topple out of the bed at night, I had to change out the plan once again.  I added a Sterlite under the bed plastic box to the pen area with a pad and just some litter covering the pad and many times during the day moved the puppies into that area saying “go potty” and giving praise.   I continued to keep the other kennel half with a pad and litter available as well so there were now two areas.  As much as possible overnight, I contained the puppies in their bed using my Iris fencing along side so they still had two options, sleep or potty.  During the day, I moved the fence outwards for play and eating areas along with their potty places.  During this step, I continued to make the litter deeper but still having some pad showing in places.  It was amazing for me to see them moving on their own to the litter box, especially for their number twos.

Two of the babies had very short legs, so instead of getting a second Sterlite box, I took away the kennel bottom and added a plastic rabbit hutch tray again lined with a pad and litter.  The short sides were easy to walk over and it was still large enough for the puppies to do their dance.  At this stage the kennel area contained their bed, eating area, Sterlite litter box and rabbit hutch litter box.  Lots more practice and by 4 weeks old, we are at nearly 100% on poops and 80% on peepees, which seem to be a little harder, especially right after napping.  Some just can’t wait!

In another week or so, my plan is to phase out the rabbit tray and add the second Sterlite box because two will fit perfectly across the back of my Iris pen area.  I’m predicting to be in the high 90th percentile on everything by then and little legs will have lengthened to make it easy for everyone.

I have continued to use the bed pads under the litter just because it is so easy to roll everything up and toss in the garbage.  With six puppies, I like to change out the litter daily although I keep it scooped often.  I’m thinking with just one puppy it wouldn’t be necessary to change the litter but occasionally, weekly maybe, and the pads won’t be necessary for the new owners.

Why would you litter box train a puppy/dog?  I am an advocate for teaching a puppy to go outside to do their business, but those first few months or even long term, there may be times when no one is home and rather than have a mess why not have a puppy trained to have a place to go and keep the owners happy.  Overnight, it is also really nice during bad weather to have options if you don’t want to take the dog out.

How will we transition?  Easy!  I am currently using wood stove pellets which are compressed sawdust and biodegradable.  When the weather clears and the puppies are big enough to put on the ground, I will just put some of their litter out on the grass or garden area where I want them to learn to potty.  They know the texture and the smell and will be drawn to the litter.

Wood stove pellets are sold at home stores like Tractor Supply, 40 pounds for $5, which I have stored in a plastic garbage can.   I doubt they are available during the summer, so it may be necessary to stock up.  I have also been told that the pellets that are used for horse bedding are similar and perhaps more compressed so I will also try those and evaluate the difference.  If wood stove pellets are not available, actual dog litter made from compressed newspaper is available at Petco and other big box stores, but for a substantially higher price.  Cat litter should NOT be used because it could be ingested.  In my experience, puppies do not eat the pellets which has also been a pleasant surprise.

I am convinced that training new puppies to use a litter box will help the new owners and it certainly has made my life much easier and kept their area clean and neat.  I’m a believer!

 

Dec 192013
 

full moonI’m an old country girl, so the axiom “the watched pot never boils” is stuck in my head this morning when looking down at my new litter of six toy and miniature Australian Shepherd puppies (aka Miniature American Shepherds) born December 19, 2013.

I bred my black tri, Fancy, to my blue merle male, Swagger, back in October and the excitement has been building for the puppies to be born.  Even though I breed my girls once a year, having a litter of puppies has not become old hat for me.  I get nervous because I love my dogs and would never intend to jeopardize the health of my female for a litter of puppies.  When I’m nervous, I chatter, so I chatted online with friends the last three days as the time I had calculated for the whelping came.  Luckily, I have three really good friends that share my excitement and in some cases, remind me to breathe and relax a bit!!!

Fancy has a very predictable cycle and has had three litters of puppies in mid December from 2011-2013 within three days on the calendar of each other.  After taking her temperature early yesterday morning and it being 98.2, I knew birthing was eminent within 24 hours. However, when she started the normal shaking and quaking about 10 am and then no signs of puppies, I started to stress “a little” and gave my goto whelping vet a call.  She wasn’t concerned and said call her back if no puppies in 24 hours.  Okay.  Well, about 4 pm, Fancy’s water broke, or in dog terms, one water broke which usually indicates a puppy is in the birth canal and you should be seeing a nose or back end within 10 minutes.  Nothing.  She laid down and decided to take a nap while I paced and texted my friends.

So, what did I do, at 4:30 pm I called my vet again and she assured me that things were fine.  Just take a nap and relax.  My husband was making peanut butter balls for some of his friends for Christmas, so I ate a couple, thinking sugar was the perfect medicine.  Six pm passed and 7 was on the clock and no puppy.  Hmmm, the 10 minutes was long gone and I begin to wonder if a little ground hog baby that might have been in that sac of water was laying crossways in the birth canal holding up the train.  Yes, I called the vet again, after hours, and pleaded with her to meet me at the office just to be sure things were okay.  Dr. Ross at PeWee Valley Vet is awesome and I could see her smile on the other end of the line and she told me to meet her there in 15 minutes.

I packed up Fancy into a crate just in case, loaded my warming box for puppies, just in case, and took off.  After an ultrasound on that cool equipment that Dr. Ross has, she told me not to worry, relax, the water I saw was a bag without a puppy that bitches often have.  She said nature has a way of opening the birth canal for the real puppies with that bogus bag of water sometimes.  She also told me to expect puppies within the hour.

8 pm, 9 pm, 10 pm…..no puppies.  Fancy was panting and doing the weird stuff that girls do when they are trying to birth a baby, but no babies.   By then, I was like….come on Fancy, push those pups outta there.  Oh, and I gave her ice cream which I always do when she is whelping because it gives her some sugar for energy, some calcium to help her contractions and helps cool her down from all the panting.

Just before midnight, I woke Paul up from his slumber (haha) and told him to get downstairs because I was seeing a puppy bubble.  Wooohoooo!!!  A bubble with a puppy inside!!!!   And, headed out into the real world!!!

From that point on, Fancy delivered quite naturally and without any kind of issues, five little mini or toy Aussie puppies.  Three of them (all boys) were merles and one black tri girl and one black tri boy.  I remembered the 2012 surprise puppy, so I started to straighten up the gear but I didn’t totally put things away.  I gave my good girl a smooch to tell her thanks for her hard work and walked over to my couch which has its back to the whelping pen to send a couple of emails to tell my friends that all was well.

Five minutes at the max, I walked back over to the bed and saw blood on the pad.  Ah oh, I thought Fancy had done a number on somebody’s belly button since she is a licker and can get pretty wild with her cleaning duties.  I picked up a little black tri and saw it’s button was a little red so I pressed a Quik Stop pad on it.  It was kind of wet and I thought, oh Fancy, you lick too much so I rubbed the puppy a bit with a cloth and stuck her on a nipple to get some milk.  Remember, it is 3 am.

Then, I looked down and what??????  I’m counting six puppies and before there were only five!!!  Fancy, you tricked me again and gave us a surprise puppy.  How did you get that little girl birthed and cleaned up in the time it took me to type a short paragraph email?

So…the night ended about 3 am on December 19 with six gorgeous little puppy dogs.  Swagger is a daddy!!!  Izzy is a grandmother!!!  And, I’m happy to have another sweet litter on the ground on this Full Moon in December 2013.

Nov 302013
 

Fancy is getting heavier and moving slower each day. There is now no doubt that puppies are on the way, quite visible from the outside 🙂  It is about now (2-3 weeks out) that I start to be nervous about the whole whelping thing.  Luckily, my husband stands by and the two of us together keep tabs on progress.  Fancy tends to look to us to help although I’m sure her instinct would take over if we weren’t there.

Contrary to what a lot of folks think, it doesn’t always go smoothly for the mama dog without assistance.  We typically help free the puppies of the sac once they are out and make sure they are breathing well and also clamp and cut the umbilical before giving the puppy a good rubdown.  I don’t think it will ever be “old hat” for me and there is always something to go wrong.  In Fancy’s first litter, she nibbled Bentley’s umbilical cord too short and he had a bleed out which could have been life threatening had we not been close by to help.  Last time, she had two come down the chute at the same time…just room for one!!!  And, of course, little Tardy aka Kona that decided to wait an extra 4 hours to be born.  Yes, always something to get the adrenalin flowing.

Fancy is an awesome mom once the babies come.   Won’t be long now……..Swagger will be passing out bully sticks to all his buds!!

 

Nov 142013
 

Ultrasound for DogsFancy had her ultrasound this morning and Dr. Ross at PeWee Veterinary Hospital saw 5 and perhaps 6 little heartbeats…so puppies are in the oven 🙂  Good job, Swagger Man!!

Some breeders don’t take advantage of an ultrasound, but Dr. Ross has high tech equipment and reproductive veterinary medicine is her specialty so she is my go to vet for breeding and whelping help.  She has been right on the money with my other litters, and I really like knowing if my girl has been bred so I can give her extra special care (as if my dogs aren’t always pampered!!!).

I project the due date based on Fancy’s last litters as December 17-20. 2013.  Fancy and Swagger most likely will have puppies in the 13-15″ range, although there can be exceptions to the rule due to genetics in the dogs behind them.  I know that Fancy carries the gene for “red” which is recessive in Aussies and it will be interesting to see if Swagger also carries it.  No doubt, the probability for black tri and blue merle puppies is high.  Only time will tell…….that is part of the fun!!  Check back in for progress reports.

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Nov 022013
 
Blue Merle Toy Aussie

Intl Ch Alangus Blue Swagger

Photo Apr 21, 12 07 56 PM

Intl Ch Cattle Call Fancy Don’t Let Me Down

We are on the countdown from 63 days for Fancy x Swagger puppies.  About midway, I will take her in for an ultrasound to determine how many there are.   Fingers are crossed for puppies around December 17.  I am currently accepting deposits on this litter. If I find Fancy was not bred this cycle, deposits will be refunded.

This will be Fancy’s third litter, Swagger’s first.  Both sire and dam have well known foundation Miniature Aussies in their pedigrees and multiple titled dogs. Even more importantly, Fancy has proven to stamp her puppies with her friendly temperament.  Pedigrees are on my webpage at Swagger and Fancy.

Videos of previous litters are on my Alangus Aussies YouTube Channel and puppy pictures from previous litters have been moved to Facebook.

Oct 172013
 

Vet SymbolAs always, I have strong opinions about choosing a veterinarian just as I am prejudiced when I choose a doctor for my own health.  Luckily, I came to know the half dozen vet clinics in my area with all their strengths and weaknesses during the six years that I owned a pet sitting business.  I had the advantage of recommendations from my clients and had contact with most of the offices as I made rounds to meet the staff or called for meds or advice when I had a sick dog or cat under my care.

When asked by folks, “who do you use as a vet?”, my answer is “it depends on what I need”.  I go to one for teeth cleaning and general health because I just like and trust her, one when I want an alternative to prescription meds because she is trained in Chinese alternative medicine, one for my puppy tail docking because she knows the breed standard and is consistent, another for reproductive issues because that is her expertise and a mobile vet that comes to my house for my puppy wellness checks before they leave my care.  I just realized they are all women…too strange!

However, these guidelines are important to me:

1–Does the vet talk to me?  Do they have time to answer my questions?  It is easy to tell if it is an “in and out” kind of office where number of clients is more important that good relationships.

2–Does the doctor practice good medicine?  Do I trust them?  Do they offer reasons why they are choosing the treatment options?  Do they give me alternatives?

3–Is the vet on call for me off hours or do they only have an answering machine?  In my case, I need a vet that is on call for C-sections in the middle of the night on a weekend for a reasonable price or has advice for a difficult whelp where my bitch is at risk when I call to ask. (Been there)

4–Do they require what I consider unnecessary tests before basic treatment is tried, seemingly to raise my bill?  One of my favorite vets offers me advice on home remedies and holistic methods, often before giving a prescription or in addition to meds.

5–Is the office clean?  No vet’s office is spotless, but clean enough is important.  Sick dogs come and go and I don’t like to take in my healthy dog for shots and risk them coming out diseased.

6–Is the office staff efficient?  It bugs me if the clerks are gossiping or eating lunch at their desk while ignoring folks that are waiting in line.  Even worse is them snickering about clients behind their backs.

7–Is the vet coming to my house helpful?  When I have puppies, it is much easier to pay an extra $25 to have the mobile vet come to me for shots and wellness checks.  Typically, if my older dogs are also due immunizations, we may do that at the same time.

8–Does the vet like my breed and my dog specifically?  And, does my dog like the vet?  Our dogs do not forget a bad experience and luckily, the vets I use both like Mini Aussies and also like my pooches.  The dogs can tell because they are not freaked out when we walk in the door.  Nervous yes, freaked out..no.

9–Is the vet smart about nutrition?  This is another one that is important to me.  Since Science Diet is a sponsor of most veterinary schools, their products are on the shelves for sale.  I also like to see higher quality grain free foods for sale and the doctor knowledgeable about grain allergies and sometimes particular protein intolerance in dogs.  Just a side note, Swagger is doing excellent having eliminated dog food with chicken from his diet.  My general purpose vet noted that on his chart recently and we talked about it at length.  It is not uncommon but sometimes difficult to detect.

10–Does the vet have good techs?  After all, the techs do a lot of the routine work like nurses in our hospitals, so they need to also have expertise at both their jobs and also be good at handling the dog patients.

Pricing is important in our dog’s health care picture, but must be balanced with the quality of the care they receive.  Many issues are preventable by good nutrition and weight management, but when our pets are ill or need routine preventative care, we are responsible for finding a good doctor to treat them.

 

 

Oct 072013
 
photo(16)

Front to back: Rosie, Swagger, Phoebe

One of the fun parts of having that occasional litter of puppies is to stay in contact with the new owners and watch them grow into adults.  Yesterday, Kelley and Mike stopped by on their way back to Nashville and let their little Phoebe have a visit with her brother Swagger and friend Rosie, as well as her doggy mom, Izzy.  They had a good run in the yard, even though the rain was pelting down, and then sat pretty for a treat!!

Phoebe is measured at 13.75″  and weighs  in about 17 pounds at 18 months old.  She is a gorgeous little Aussie with a sweet disposition and pretty bright colors like her brother.  I was happy to see how she has developed.

 Posted by at 5:31 pm
Oct 022013
 

Dog Grooming Tools

I am often asked the question about grooming my dogs and my reply is “seldom”.  I do bathe them to keep them smelling sweet and their hair soft, but I don’t do much in the way of grooming except to keep down the straggles and to get ready for  the show ring in which case I sometimes use a professional groomer.  Aside from the above, I keep my dogs’ nails clipped regularly for a couple of reasons.  First, I have hardwood floors and secondly, long nails are actually a detriment to a dog’s stability on their feet and can even be painful.

I found some neat videos on YouTube to share and I have practiced on my dogs and like the recommended techniques.  The two areas that I try to keep neat are the ears and pantaloons and watching the demonstration made clipping these areas easy.   The videos are in five parts and I am linking to each one.  Enjoy!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

 Posted by at 6:13 pm
Sep 202013
 

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed and it will soon be time for Fancy to be bred for her 2013 puppies.  She has had a nice break from motherhood this year and running the yard with Swagger and Rosie has toned up her muscles so she is nice and trim and healthy at about 22 pounds and will have her 4th birthday in November.

If Fancy is on her usual schedule, she will be bred to Swagger in October for December 2013 puppies.  This will be her third litter, but first for Swagger.  I’m excited to see this cross.  Fancy’s strong points are her nice Aussie conformation and bone and steady and friendly personality.  Swagger is a smaller athletic dog with keen intelligence and has very bright merle colors to add to the mix. Both dogs have been in the show ring for their Int’l Championships as adults and have their health tests.  They are registered NSDR as Miniature Australian Shepherds and AKC FSS as Miniature American Shepherds.

Fancy’s last two litters are on my YouTube channel with a few pictures on the photo gallery page of my website and on the Alangus-Mini-Toy-Aussies Facebook Page .

Lots of folks have inquired about this litter, and I will take deposits as soon as Fancy stands.  The order that I receive deposits is the order that folks pick their puppies.  I like to be sure everyone is healthy before I invite folks in to visit to choose their new playmate so typically wait until about 4-5 weeks.  My puppies are weaned at about 6 weeks so they are ready for a vet check and shots at 7 weeks and are ready to move to their new homes around 8 weeks.

As you can see, my dogs are our house pets and travel partners and I do not have a kennel so having puppies in the house occasionally is a bright spot in my year.

 

Black Tri Australian Shepherd

Intl’l Ch Fancy Don’t Let Me Down of Alangus

 

Blue Merle Toy Aussie

Int’l Ch Alangus Blue Swagger

 Posted by at 3:28 am
Sep 022013
 
Three Aussies

Morning Nylabone Ritual in Motorhome

We just returned from 21 days on the road in our motor home with three of our dogs, Izzy, Rosie and Swagger.   It was both an educational journey along the canals of the northeast and a fitness journey along the bike trails. If you’d like to read where we went and see a few pictures, the blog is posted at PACK EM UP.

Our three smallest travel well and don’t take much space.  We did start out the trip with Swagger not feeling so well.  He has struggled off and on lately with stomach issues and I am doing trial and error to determine the trigger that is playing havoc with his digestion.  I am slowly adding and deleting from his menu to determine the culprit of what seems to be Irritable Bowel Syndrome, either brought on by stress or what he eats or both.  When I had his last bloodwork done, his liver enzymes were a bit elevated and the vet recommended putting him on Denosyl, a supplement which helps the liver to do its work properly.  By the way, we ruled out all the parasitic causes of diarrhea first.

My old standby for dogs with diarrhea is boiled chicken and rice for a few days but in Swagger’s case, that seemed to make him worse so I changed to  lean hamburger (rinsed and drained) and rice.  When I made that change and he improved overnight, a light bulb went off and I started to consider that he might not be tolerating chicken or chicken dog food well.  Surprisingly, many dogs are “allergic” to chicken.  Over the course of a few days, when I would add in a tad bit of chicken or a rich dog treat, he would start to have symptoms again.  As always, I carry a variety of food with me when traveling, so along with the burger/rice mixture, I also gave him some canned lamb dog  food (Solid Gold) which he tolerated well.  I slowly moved on to Solid Gold Bison kibble and he was as good as new.  A couple of weeks into a red meat only diet, he is feeling spunky and eating like a little Trojan, something he hasn’t done for awhile.

I am continuing the Denosyl as recommended by the vet because as a supplement, it is a plus for dogs with or recovering from IBS.  I also read on Dog Aware  that probiotics are best given in the evening to help stomach flora replenish themselves overnight and prevent empty stomach nausea.  I had always given them in the am, so I also made that change.  For several years, I have used Dogzymes Digestive Enzymes from Nature’s Farmacy with my dogs and also with pet sit client dogs that had stress diarrhea when their owners were traveling.

It is certainly too early to make a definitive diagnosis of intolerance of chicken or chicken products and may just be circumstantial, but for now, I’m playing it safe and letting him put on some needed weight with alternative protein sources.  I’ll keep you posted on the long term outcome.

Jul 242013
 
Blue Merle Toy Aussie

Alangus Blue Swagger Groomed for the Conformation Show Ring

 

Dog Conformation Judging

Dog Conformation Judging–Show One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brags!!  We returned from the IABCA Show in Atlanta with an Int’l CH title for Swagger!!  This was his first time in the ring and I had no idea how he would perform.  Yes, we had practiced, but practice isn’t the same as the environment of a dog show with dogs, some the size of ponies and some the size of rabbits, milling around and people everywhere surrounded by a cacophony of noises that even made me shutter.  Barking, hair dryers, people cheering…all echoing off the walls. Then, add to that a floor as shiny as a mirror.  Yikes!!

An IABCA dog event spans over two days with four shows, morning and afternoon of each day.  Each show is judged by a different judge and the dogs are rated on their conformation to their breed standard with one chosen as Best of Breed.  An adult dog which receives the necessary points is awarded their title at the end of the two-day event.  Swagger is registered as Miniature, but he is just under the 14″ measurement so he can show as a Toy Australian Shepherd.  He is still young and as a male not totally developed at 18 months old.   As he matures, we will repeat the process to move him up the ranks among his breed competitors.

Admittedly, the first morning I was nervous and so was Swagger and it was not his best performance in the ring.  He hesitated a bit as we made our debut to the conformation show circuit, but thanks to a very kind judge as you see in the picture above, he relaxed and decided he was “just fine”.  On the table, he was a perfect gentleman as he was examined, teeth and private parts included.

By the first afternoon show, it was old hat.  The second morning, I really wondered if he would be anxious in a good way or a bad way as we went back into the building.  Luckily, he was a happy camper and seemed to know exactly what was expected.  By the second afternoon when he circled the ring and then posed himself in the lineup, he had a happy face as our admiring group cheered for him.  Did he understand he was in the spotlight?  He most certainly did!

My dogs love to play and work and conformation showing is just the icing on the cake, but not the end of the story.  It made me very happy that four professional conformation judges gave him accolades for his attitude and structure, but I know under that beauty is my little lapdog when it’s raining and my playmate when it’s sunny!  You just can’t beat that!

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 Posted by at 12:22 am
Jul 082013
 

Link to a quick video from our morning adventure:  Out for a Walk

I like to take Fancy and Ike, my “big” little dogs around the two mile neighborhood loop at least once a day and morning is preferable for their walk.  They think they are out for a hunt and it’s all business to them from start to finish.  After the exercise, their day is much more relaxed as is mine.

I am fortunate to live in an area where we can walk with the dogs safely.  We have leash laws and our Animal Control facility is diligent about picking up loose or lost dogs and helping them to find their way back home, occasionally with a little reprimand for the owners.  Plus, our traffic is minimal and we can make the loop with very few stops if we time it right.

Today my thoughts were totally random, as they typically are, but as we were walking I had my headphones on and had chosen a station on my Iphone from the TuneIn Radio app.  I don’t know why this appeals to me, but I think it is fun to listen to stations from around the country and this morning the call was 96.3 The Wolf. When I kept hearing “Anchorage”, I thought..hmmm…that’s not far from me, maybe 15 miles.  But, when they gave the high temp today as 63, I realized, the music in my ear was being broadcast from Alaska which was a surprise.  Isn’t technology amazing?  I know that is a trite saying, but it really is amazing what information and media we have so easily at our discretion.  The younger generation expects it all to work, the older generation is still amazed that it does.

The pooches and I had a pleasant walk with the sun starting to shine after several days of gray skies summer and rain.  The dogs probably could hear the beat of the country music from my ear buds and we were in step in more ways than just our feet.  They didn’t care that a human + computer thousands of miles away programmed the music itinerary for this morning, but it gave me random food for thought.  Walking for exercise and relaxation is good, life is good and dogs in step make it better.

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 Posted by at 10:05 pm
Jun 112013
 

As you know, I like to breed my girls only once a year and Fancy’s turn doesn’t come about until Fall 2013.  She gave us six healthy and beautiful puppies last Winter and I like to give her “time off” to just relax and play in between litters.

Swagger, our little male, is coming into his own at just over a year old and it was questionable if he might have bred Fancy last month.  We didn’t think so, then we thought so, and it was just a little iffy because there was that sneaky suspicion…..

Fancy has been a little symptomatic by not eating like her usual chow hound self and that has always been a giveaway that she is having some morning sickness.  So, I scheduled her ultrasound on Monday, and…..NO heartbeats to my relief.  Summers are just very busy for me and for some reason I like winter puppies if I can work it out. Plus, the timing is good for them to go to their forever homes just as the weather turns to Spring.

So, back on schedule, and Fancy will be bred again come October for December 2013 puppies if all goes as planned.  I’m still holding my cards on Rosie for this year.  Her little body is developing well, but I haven’t decided if I will breed her this go around.  News on that later!

For archives of my Blog articles, link to www.blog.alangusaussies.com and join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/alangusaussies  We’ll meet you there!

 Posted by at 5:41 pm
May 082013
 
Dogs in Training

Dinner at Selenas

There are so many ways to train our dogs, some formal and some quite informal.  In fact, every moment we spend with them, we are training in some way because we are constantly sending them signals and they are responding.

I train formally at Almost Home Boarding and Training on Dorsey Lane in Louisville.  Since I have five dogs, it’s difficult for me to decide who gets to go to classes, but Izzy, my little blue merle girl is often chosen.  Just because.  Just because she so loves to work.  Just because she needs to work.  Just because she has a fear factor that I am working hard to resolve with her.

Once a week, a group of five owners and five dogs of all sizes and personalities meet for “class” led by Almost Home owner and APDT certified trainer, Katie Peckenpaugh.  It is an ongoing class unlike most that are limited to a number of sessions.  I have been a member of the group for a few months, but others have been meeting  for much longer.  We have worked on a variety of activities to stimulate the dogs to think and be a partner with us.  On some nights, we practice basic obedience like long sits or stays and recall exercises using both verbal and non verbal signals.  Other times, we are greeted with a Rally or Agility course to run through.  The variety is fun for the dogs and for us.

Since the weather is now nicer, the last two meetings have been outdoor adventures with our dogs.  Last week, we all met at a local walking trail and worked on heel exercises, keeping our dogs focused on us while meeting other dogs, people and even children romping and playing.  The treat, however, came last night when one of our members arranged for us to meet at a local restaurant, Selenas, for dinner with our dogs on the patio.  What a pleasure on a nice Spring evening to eat a delicious meal and enjoy visiting with new friends while being accompanied by our fur babies!

Dog training at its best is evaluating our dog and our interactions with our dog and giving them the opportunity to succeed.  Why do I so enjoy this?  Just because.  Just because I love to work with my dog.  Just because I need to work with my dog to build a better relationship.  Just because I also sometimes have factors that I need to resolve which affect how my dog responds and the quality of their life.

Note on picture:  Izzy is in trainer’s lap rather than under the table and one owner is our photographer so not pictured.  The group consists of Izzy, a mini Aussie; Naylan, a Corgi;  Sam, a Collie; Sonny, an Aussie; and Claire, a Doberman.

 

 

 Posted by at 9:28 pm

WDJ Recommended Foods

 Alangus Aussies, Dog Food, Dog Health, Helpful hints for dogs  Comments Off on WDJ Recommended Foods
May 042013
 

I subscribe to Whole Dog Journal newsletter and even though it is a small publication, I always look forward to reading the articles.  Once a year, the publishers analyze and list their recommended food brands in alphabetical order based on a variety of criteria, much like those used at dogfoodanalysis.com.  We often talk about dog food on this Blog so I thought I would share ten of the recommended brands (not a complete list) for you to consider.  Since I rotate foods at the end of each bag, I have used some, but not all of these brands so this is not a personal recommendation but for your consideration.  Of course, within each brand, there are a variety of protein sources ie red meat, chicken, fish etc.

  1. Blue Buffalo
  2. Canidae
  3. Champion (Arcana and Orijen)
  4. Drs Foster & Smith (for home delivery)
  5. Fromm
  6. Merrick
  7. Natural Balance
  8. Nature’s Variety
  9. Precise
  10. Solid Gold

I’m often asked the quantity that I feed and I typically feed my dogs approximately 1 level cup per day.  However, caloric content is quite different among foods and if I see one of my dogs moving beyond what I consider their optimum weight, I reduce their portions.  My dogs that are not going into the show ring are kept leaner for their better health and less stress on their joints during activity.

Note:  My blog platform has changed somewhat and this is a test to determine if those subscribed to previous posts are still receiving their email updates.  If not, you can subscribe by adding your email at the top of the menu section on right right side of your screen.  You will only receive an email when I do a new post and I welcome your comments.

 

Mar 152013
 

This is posted with permission of the author. It is the best description of Aussies that I have ever seen and a printed and marked up copy will remind me of my oversights with these intelligent dogs and prompt me to keep working to do better as I bring along puppies to adulthood.

Raising An Australian Shepherd

 Posted by at 11:50 pm
Mar 012013
 

why won't my dog eat?In my pet sitting business, I often heard the comment “My dog won’t eat”.  There are some reasons to consider if our dog isn’t eating the yummy food we put in front of them.

1–The dog just might not be hungry.  Free feeding is when the owner leaves a big bowl of food always available.  Often times, the dog over eats and munches throughout the day and just isn’t hungry.  In my opinion, this is not the way to keep our dogs at a healthy weight.  I know what I do when there’s an open bowl of cookies in my line of vision. A better practice is to determine the optimum quantity your dog should eat each day to maintain a good weight and feed in one meal or two meals a day at a fairly set time and place.

2–The food we are offering is low quality.  Low quality can mean it contains large amounts of food coloring or is rancid or is just “cheap, low grade food”.  Dogs have such good sniffers, they sometimes shy away from what their dog smarts tell them is unhealthy for them to eat.  Dog foods have added oils and if left in a plastic container, opened bag or hot environment can become rancid, stale, and even have mold growth.  There is no reason at all for dog foods to contain food coloring, except to make it look appealing to the humans.  It is a good idea to consider storage methods and also to watch for expiration dates on dog food bags.  I have found if I buy smaller bags that are fresh, my dogs are much more excited about their meals.

3–The dog is bored with the food.  There was an excellent article in Whole Dog Journal recently about the advantage of rotating among brands of dog foods and also meat sources.  I’ve long thought that was a good idea and do it to keep my dogs interested in what’s in their dishes.  Also, if started early in their lives, the rotation helps them develop stomach enzymes for a variety of foods and minimizes upset when a change is made.  If, for example, they are fed one brand of food for 5 years and then all of a sudden their food is changed, you can expect major diarrhea because their bodies are not equipped for the change.  The added advantage is that they do not develop allergies to specific protein sources or ingredients.  I should add here that you can check the quality of the foods at dogfoodanalysis.com.  I try to keep my dogs rotating among the foods in the 4-5* classification.  I reserve 6* foods for my bitches that are nursing puppies because of their high caloric content.

4–Do you wash the food bowls regularly?  Dogs are dogs and cleanliness isn’t as important to them, but our domesticated and pampered house dogs will sometimes turn away from the remnants of spoiled food in their bowls.

5–Lastly, the dog might be sick.  Prolonged weight loss from not eating can, of course, be from illness.  Because we know our house pets so well, there are typically other indicators of illness besides loss of appetite so I put this last on the list.

Having ruled out illness in our dog, it’s time to evaluate our feeding methods or the food we are offering if our dogs routinely are not interested in their next meal.

 Posted by at 7:14 pm
Feb 252013
 

I’m hearing lots of good reports from this last litter of Fancy x Randy puppies.

C from Western KY sent me videos of Kobe aka Target already chasing Frisbee rollers and doing multiple parlor tricks at 9 weeks old.  It’s not surprising because both mom and dad of this litter are very intelligent and eager to please.  You can view one of the short videos at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTAsNjovRrA.  Puppies learn very quickly with yummy treats and positive reinforcement.  Notice C uses the word “yes” or “good boy” as the marker to let Kobe know he has accomplished what she asked him to do and then popped him a “yummy”.

Petey aka Shadow stayed here close to me and I hear he is a snuggle bunny loving his bubble baths and is sleeping the night through.  Puppies that get plenty of exercise, both physical and mental, are tired by evening and if cBlue Merle Mini Aussie Puppyrated, will rest peacefully.  I couldn’t resist posting the pictures M & G sent because there is just nothing cuter than a little Aussie behind at 9 weeks old.  Petey will be starting puppy classes at Almost Home in Louisville soon.

Blue Merle Mini Aussie Puppy

Little Kona aka Tardy had to travel far to her home near Cleveland.  I hear she is also doing really well with her potty training and loves to play ball.  What Aussie doesn’t like to play ball??  All they have to do is train us to toss it and we humans are pretty quick to learn we are rewarded with puppy kisses if we do what we’re told.

I have had emails from both Corky and Storm that stayed in Louisville, and will post some pictures when I get them.

And…last…little Brave ended up staying in the family here.  She, of course, was the puppy that my granddaughter named from the Disney movie and she managed to convince her skin daddy that the puppy was meant to be hers.  At three years old, I’d say she can convince her daddy of about anything with either a pout or a little girl hug 🙂  The only caveat was that grandmommy keep her until she is potty trained and just a little less fragile for a life with toddlers.  Potty training is going quite well with very few mistakes (which are mine in most cases) so only the second stipulation is pending.

Another sweet group of puppies in their forever homes and we’ll continue to share pictures and stories as they grow. It is so rewarding to see others enjoy the little Aussies the same way I do.  They are just a special breed and their nickname “velcro dog” is very suitable.

 Posted by at 10:54 pm
Feb 012013
 

Corky, one of the black tri male puppies from Fancy x Randy litter of December 16, 2012, is still available for a forever home.  At his 7-week old vet check today, he weighed in at 4.6 pounds and is a healthy little boy.  He has a funny and happy personality, not afraid, and ready to play.  Additional info at Alangus Aussies.  Click to enlarge pictures.

Black Tri Miniature American Shepherd MaleBlack Tri Mini Aussie Male PuppyBlack Tri Mini Aussie Male Puppy

 Posted by at 9:15 pm
Jan 172013
 

Today is photo shoot day and luckily, the puppies were fairly cooperative.  I was playing around a bit with my camera with lighting and poses and got some fairly good shots between eating, playtime and naps.  I admit photographing 4-5 week old puppies without someone to assist requires some time and patience.  Let’s just say I had a nice number of “not so good” ones and had to work in short intervals.

The eye color is fairly distinct in these photos with the exception of Shadow and I had him facing the light so his pupils were dilated.  He and Brave both have blue eyes.  It is still possible that Tardy might be partially blue which sometimes happens with merles.  Their eyes carry the same merling pigment as their coats and can be multi-colored.

All but one of these puppies has deposits, and it’s still a mystery who is behind Door #6! I will revise the Blog as folks make their selections.  The excitement is building!!

Fancy x Randy (2012) Miniature Australian Shepherd Puppies 4.5 weeks old

Shadow–Blue Merle Male (Selected)

Blue Merle Miniature Australian Shepherd Male

Corky–Black Tri Male

Black Tri Miniature Australian Shepherd Male

Brave–Blue Merle Female (Selected)

Blue Merle Miniature Australian Shepherd Male

Target–Black Tri Male

Black Tri Miniature Australian Shepherd Male

Tardy–Blue Merle Female

Blue Merle Miniature Australian Shepherd Female

Storm–Black Tri Female

Black Tri Miniature Australian Shepherd Female

 Posted by at 10:52 pm
Dec 312012
 

Fancy x Randy Dec 2012 Litter

Fancy x Randy December 2012 litter of Miniature Australian Shepherds at 2 weeks old.

Left to right: Brave, Target (under), Tardy, Corky (over), Shadow, Storm.

Puppies typically open their eyes and ears at about two weeks old, and these are no exception.  Yesterday, I could see just a glimpse of eyes through the slits and today all but Tardy have them wide open.  By evening or tomorrow, hers will be open as well.  Notice the ears have laid down against the puppy heads since the individual pictures which tells us they are also starting to hear the sounds of their world.

It is amazing the progress puppies make in their first two weeks, from residing in a bubble of embryonic fluid, to testing their legs for wobbly steps, nibbling on their siblings’ ears, and even sometimes a little squeaky bark while dreaming of chasing a future Frisbee.  There’s a world of fun in that POP (pile of puppies) and enough love to make 6 families a lifetime friend!

 Posted by at 9:25 pm
Dec 232012
 

Of course, these puppies will most likely get new names when they go to their forever homes, but we need to identify them and we have a good time giving them nicknames while they spend their first eight weeks with us.

Blue Merle Mini Aussie Puppy–Female

I mentioned Tardy (the puppy born 3 hours late) in my earlier post, but misrepresented “her” as a “him”.  Right now she is the biggest puppy and it will be interesting to see if that continues.  The position in the uterus often determines the amount of nutrients the embryo is getting and she may have just been a mainliner right to her mom giving her a head start…or she may be a bigger adult.  Tardy is a blue merle female with a very nice wide white half collar and split lower face, half white and half merle.

The second bluBlue Merle Mini Aussie Puppy–Femalee merle female has been nicknamed Brave, thanks to our 3 year old granddaughter who recently went to see the movie with her Uncle.  Of course, she wanted all the puppies to have prince and princess names, but we are straying a bit. Brave has bright colors and will be striking.

The darkestBlue Merle Mini Aussie Puppy–Male of the blue merle puppies, Shadow, is a male.  He has a white blaze on his face and white socks, but no collar.  I’m thinking he may be the darker color of his sire when he matures with just a bit less white.

Black Tri Mini Aussie Puppy–MaleOne of the black tri males has a unique marking on his underside.  His white belly has a small black circle in the center, so we’re calling him Target.  He’s a cutie pie with a white blaze on his face.  He was a little grumpy after his tail dock, but was back in good form today.  He has nice symetrical white markings on his face which typically enlarge some as they mature.

The black tri female’s white blaze is in the shape of a lightning symbol so she is now called Storm.  It was pouring Black Tri Mini Aussie Puppy–Femalerain, after all, in the North Carolina valley when the puppies were born so her name is quite appropriate.  She also has split color on her muzzle.

And, last, thereBlack Tri Mini Aussie Puppy–Male‘s Corky!  Right now, he’s the smallest of the puppies, but definitely roots his way right to the milk supply without any problems.  He has a white star on the back of his neck.  There was a little glitch with the tail dock glue and he had to have a quick visit back to the vet.  Can you guess why he is called Corky? All is cleared away now, but the nickname stuck (catch the pun) 🙂

At one week old, the puppies seem to be thriving and I can hardly keep my hands off them.  Their little ears and eyes are shut tight for another week or so, so their world is quiet and dark as they snuggle into their mommy’s soft belly and peep occasionally in their sleep to show their contentment.

Merry Christmas to All!!

 Posted by at 4:59 pm
Dec 212012
 

Here is a candid shot of the Fancy x Randy December 16, 2012 babies after their “de-tailing” (tail docks) at five days old.

Color coding:

  • Blue Merle with white half collar–Female
  • Blue Merle with minimal white–Male
  • Blue Merle, black patches on left top–Female
  • Black Tri with white star on neck–Male
  • Black Tri in front–Female
  • Black Tri in middle acting as pillow–Male

Mini Aussie Puppies  

 Posted by at 6:32 pm
Dec 182012
 

Mini Aussie and litter of puppies

We decided to load up the motorhome and start the trek home to Kentucky from Hilton Head Island on Sunday, December 16 since Fancy seemed to be holding stable.  She had held off, so we had our fingers crossed that perhaps her body was telling her to wait for her own bed and safety zone.

Of course…not to be and as I originally predicted..day 74 from first show, the exact same time interlude as her litter in 2011.  We stopped for the night in Maggie Valley, NC at the base of the Smokey Mountains in the campground we typically use when traveling on I-40, Creekwood Farm RV Park.  It was pouring rain, so luckily we stopped a little early, around 6 pm.  By 8, Fancy was panting and pacing and crying just a little and there was no doubt, it was happening.  I gathered all the supplies and we got ourselves set to help her and for an all-night stint.  Why is it that it always starts just at bedtime?

At 9:15, the first puppy appeared and struggled a bit to finish its  entry into the world.  We cut the cord and helped it along and found the reason it was hanging back was that two puppies were trying to come down the chute at the same time.  Oops, one at a time please!  Things progressed well, with just a few glitches, but nothing serious.  By 2 am, we had 5 puppies and since the ultra sound had shown 5 heartbeats, our sigh of relief could be heard through the valley.  We straightened up the supplies and Paul went to bed and I stayed on the couch so I could monitor.  At about 4 am, the babies were squeaking a bit and I woke from my coma to check on them and found another baby entering the world.  Oh My!!!  The little blue merle boy was the biggest of the lot and ready for milk right now, or yesterday even!  Paul says this one should be named “Tardy” 🙂  We ended the night with 3 girls and 3 boys, 3 black tris and 3 blue merles.

Because I’m one to try to be as prepared as possible, I had already gathered vet info for the area and set my alarm for 730 am.  I wasn’t sure the last placenta delivered and Fancy hadn’t totally settled as mamas usually do after whelping, so I called a local vet office to ask about an Oxytocin clean out shot for her. My local vet felt like I shouldn’t risk waiting just in case because of the possibility of infection or even another puppy.  Dr. Gibson at Animal Hospital of Waynesville was so helpful and worked us into her schedule for the morning, something a lot of veterinarians just won’t do, especially for a traveler that will probably never be back.  X-rays and an exam didn’t indicate problems, but we opted for the clean out shot and a round of antibiotics.  We then loaded up to continue our ride back toward LaGrange Kentucky.

The shot gave Fancy a little discomfort because just like a similar drug for laboring people, it “induced” contractions to push out any residue that might need to be released.  Within the hour, she was obviously feeling better and laid down quietly to snuggle her new family.  The puppies had already nursed non stop for 12 hours and their little flat bellies had  rounded out and little squeaks of content could be heard on occasion.

I can’t help but interject Paul and my discussion here as we drove down the road with mama and 6 sweet little Mini Aussie puppies.  The production of a new living being is a miraculous event whether it be an animal or our more precious skin children.  There is just no way it could be a random freak of nature coming about with so much precision and in such a complicated way.

Fancy is a wonderful mom to her babies and once settled into her x-pen in our sun room, she is just relaxing and making milk to feed six hungry little mouths. We had a very nice vacation with our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren and our “fancy girl” but coming home is always sweet.  We had missed our pooches left behind with the petsitter on this trip.

Stay tuned for updates on these puppies!  Additional info can be found at my website www.alangusaussies.com.

 Posted by at 5:18 pm
Nov 252012
 

 Fancyheart.jpgRandy

It’s almost time for Santa to deliver some puppies to Alangus Aussies!  Fancy had her ultrasound November 14, 2012 and the doctor counted five heartbeats thump thumping on the monitor.  Due date is around December 17.

Fancy is bred once again to RB’s Wee Randy da Rebel who sired her litter in 2011.  They made some happy and healthy puppies who have developed into friendly and beautiful little Aussies, one of which is my Derby Rose aka Rosie.

For additional info, visit us at alangusaussies.com

 Posted by at 6:29 pm
Nov 082012
 

An examination by a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist is one of the health exams that we use at Alangus Mini & Toy Aussies. Eye exams are much like the ones that we have as humans and start with a visual exam with a lighted magnifying instrument to look for lesions or anomalies on the surface of the eye.  After the eyes are dilated, the doctor can look for additional issues like cataracts that might be heritable to the next generation.

Once the exam is complete, the ophthalmologist completes a form to be submitted to CERF  (Canine Eye Registration Foundation)  to add the dog’s name to the database.  CERF was started by a group of breeders to encourage good husbandry by not passing along excessive risks of blindness in canine bloodlines. Additional information at  www.vmdb.org/history.html

All of my adult dogs have been certified by CERF and Swagger and Rosie just “passed” their test which is one more check mark on their list of health clearances.

To read our Blog Archives on a variety of topics, visit blog.alangusaussies.com and we welcome your comments and contributions to our discussion.

 Posted by at 9:56 pm
Oct 092012
 

I now have have five dogs at my house, one neutered male, one in-tact male puppy, one spayed female and two in-tact females.  It is a mix of sizes from 12-28 pounds and personalities.  My dogs have a definite pecking order and as I have written before, it is quite interesting to observe, fun actually.

In my “before Mini Aussie life”, I owned a spayed female German Shepherd and at the same time, a spayed standard Aussie.  Both were beloved pets and lived long lives, past 14 years for my Shepherd and past 16 for my Aussie.  However, 12 of those years, those two dogs could not be in the backyard together, much less the same room or we would have an instant dog fight to the death of most likely the smaller dog.  They started out as good friends, with my Aussie raised from a puppy and the Shepherd added two years later also as a puppy.  All was well until the Shepherd reached maturity and one morning when I was letting the dogs back into the house from their potty time, a voracious fight ensued at my back door. Luckily, I had pepper spray on my counter and let them both have it because I was otherwise defenseless and knew my Aussie was going to die.  My Aussie girl did not have the personality to cry “uncle” and my Shepherd out weighed her by 25 pounds.

I have to admit that perhaps I triggered the scuffle, but body language is so subtle, I don’t know for sure what I did because it was like every other morning as I was leaving for work.  I was in a rush and had the day on my mind.  A few months later, the second fight occurred with totally different circumstances.  This time, I was not in sight but heard their “noise” in the back yard and quickly dumped a bucket of water on them to break up the argument.

From that date on, our house became one of two separate dog apartments.  Both got people time and training.  Both were loved for the next 12 years.  But there was no way I was going to let them together in my presence because it was so traumatic for me that I knew they would sense my insecurity and both were large dogs with the ability to do damage, even to me, if their aggression to each other might be redirected.

I’ve had dogs all my adult life and once again I’m managing a multiple dog household, but it is totally different.  Now, my dogs are small enough that scuffles are easily handled.  Second, I know much more about dog psychology and pack behavior so hopefully, I can forgo the extreme situation from before by better understanding what exacerbates a playful wrestling match into a real fight. I might add that although I dearly loved my German Shepherd and she was better than ADT for keeping intruders away from our home, I would be hesitant to own another female of that breed because of their tendency to be argumentative with other dogs. She was very people friendly, but never saw another dog she didn’t hate.

I personally think that one dog can be lonely, two dogs each have a pal for comfort and exercise and three make for lots of interaction. Those of us that have more than three need to understand dog language and behavior to keep the peace.  I found an excellent source of suggestions for multiple dog management at

http://www.shirleychong.com/keepers/archives/many.txt

Because I do not have contact information for Ms. Chong to ask her permission to post her text, but you can copy the link into your browser to read.  The article is simple and makes perfect sense.

One of my adult females is with another breeder today, my two young ones are at doggy day camp so only two of my five are at home with me.   I miss part of my pack and  will be glad to have them all back home again. Yes, it can be loud when they are all bebopping around, but we have a lot of fun!

 Posted by at 8:21 pm
Oct 062012
 

Phoebe 6 months oldAddie Catching Frisbee

Phoebe is relaxing with her nose in mommy’s shoe and Addie is putting the move on the flying disc.  Both are 6 months old and showing that little Aussies love to play, but also know how to chill when the time is right.

These two pictures are of the girls from Izzy’s April 2012 litter.  I have discussed the “puppy uglies” where the babies lose their fat little faces and tummies and puppy fur and grow long legs and out of proportion bodies.  At about 6 months old, everything starts to catch up.  Adult fur comes in along with those last canine teeth and bodies start to fill out with some bulk, catching up to the appendages. Those of us that have hidden our adolescent dogs away for a couple of months or tried to explain to gawkers why they are  scraggly can now start to take pictures and show them off again.  It only gets better from here! Puppies continue to develop past their first birthday although smaller dogs get their growth sooner than large breeds.

If you are interested in Addie’s ability to fly high and catch the Frisbee, post a comment or question and her owner can explain his methodology to get her to this point so young.

 Posted by at 8:39 pm
Sep 212012
 

Because I am a pet sitter and I’m out in neighborhoods on a daily basis, I often see dogs roaming around with their owner’s blessings. I won’t sermonize that issue, but would like to relay my experience with micro chipped and non-micro chipped dogs.

I was doing vacation visits for a client’s dogs and at each visit I was greeted by a friendly English Shepherd just wanting some attention. I didn’t think much of it for the first 3-4 times, then I began to wonder if the dog might be lost so I visited several houses on the adjoining streets and was told the dog was new to the area and wandering. I made sure she had some water and continued on my way. It became obvious the dog was scavenging and was hungry, so I decided the next day to put her in the kennel in my car and have the local vet check for a microchip to find the owner. No luck, so she went home with me for the night. She was obviously crate and potty trained so I knew someone had to be missing her.  I took her to our local Animal Control which is a no kill shelter and they checked again for a chip. The story does have a sad and a happy ending, but not as you’d expect. She was never reunited with her owner because they couldn’t be found, but she was placed in the prison training program at Kentucky State Prison and after the time there was adopted into a loving home where she would be kept contained and safe.

The second story is more personal.  My parents live on a farm in rural southern Kentucky.  Dad was driving down the road to his barn and saw a little dog sitting on the side of the road and being a dog lover like me, he stopped and checked him out.  When he opened the truck door, in hopped a little Miniature Schnauzer, freshly groomed and sweet as could be.  Once again, Dad took now “Ralphie” to the vet to be scanned for a chip and also advertised in the local newspapers and on the radio for the owner to possibly retrieve their pet.   No luck.  There was no doubt, Ralphie belonged to someone and had been well cared for…but he was a runner, and a dog that gets on a scent and runs can actually go miles and then be disoriented and totally lost.  Dad fell in love with Ralphie and he now is pampered.  Another sad but happy ending because the owners could not be identified.  He continues to have that will to “run” so has to be walked on a leash or kept inside.

The third story has a totally different ending.  I was driving on a two lane road near my home and came upon a dog laying in the road that had been hit and killed by a car and his buddy was standing watch over the friend he had lost.  I zoomed in a driveway to keep the second dog from being hit and slipped a lead on him and put him in my kennel once again.  This time, the remaining dog had a HomeAgain tag on his collar indicating he was micro chipped.  It wasn’t necessary to have him scanned, but I just called the HA phone number and they contacted the owner who called me.  I was able to return the dog to his owners who lived nearby.  In this case, they were new to the community and the children let the dogs out without their electronic fence collars and they wandered away to the busy highway. As you know by reading, had the tag been gone, I would have had the dog checked and it would have led me to the owners.

My dogs wear collars and also tags with my phone numbers most of the time.  However, there are certain instances where I have their collars off and there is always the possibility the collars or tags can be lost.  All five of my dogs have a microchip although I know it is no guarantee they would be returned to me.  People are sometimes unethical and would keep or resell a nice dog or would never think to have it scanned.  However, I feel better knowing the chip is there and if they did end up at a vet’s office or animal facility, the chances are good I could be notified.

I personally have my vets insert HomeAgain chips and have all my data in their online system (free) so I can keep it updated should I move or change my phone number. The information is only worthwhile if it is correct.  They do have a yearly fee for the “extras” but I have never subscribed.  HA chips can be read by their proprietary scanners or by the universal scanners that many veterinarians and animal control officers now use. A local vet gave me some additional information which made me even more proactive. Vets that do use the HomeAgain chips have been provided with universal scanners which will read all brands of chips and the office was given a list of companies and the code system for their numbers so it helps to further trace the owner directly by the brand chip the animal has.  This particular vet said they scan and identify owners for approximately one dog per week, and knowing they are only one of several vets in my area, this seems significant.

It may be a false sense of security, but I do feel better having my dogs micro chipped and it is inexpensive insurance. Luckily, my Iphone  and Ipad can now be located with GPS as well.  Now, I just need to find a way to keep from losing my glasses!

 Posted by at 2:24 pm
Sep 132012
 

Izzy, our blue merle mini Aussie just turned four last week and has given us two very nice litters of puppies. However, she struggles to whelp and when her last litter had to be taken by C-section, I determined to have her spayed after her recovery period of a few months. The vet that performed the section did not advocate a spay during delivery because of the risk of bleeding and extra stress on her with nursing babies.  Our dogs are first and foremost our companions.

Izzy had the normal pre-op fast and she went in early in the morning for her surgery so she would have the day to recover before closing time. I chose to have the additional blood work done to ensure her safety and also to have pain meds administered. The vet I used called me after blood work and again at the end of the surgery because she knows I’m a worrier. Izzy did great with no complications during the procedure to remove both her ovaries and uterus.  My vet is a traditionalist although she does use glue in lieu of sutures that have to be removed.  I know in some clinics, laser procedures are being done and I read it speeds recovery time.

Because I’m relatively dog smart, the doc sent her home to my care by noon instead of keeping her the full day. She was still groggy and glassy eyed, but walked out on her own steam. When we got home, I gave her the chance to get a little drink and then I put her in her crate away from my other dogs to sleep it off. I withheld food and water to prevent her getting sick.

By late afternoon, she was ready for a small meal and a drink. I took her out to potty and then back to her safe place. She was still feeling sleepy. I remembered  that she had had antibiotics so I gave her some probiotics to help her stomach flora stay balanced. The evening came and went and she slept all night in her crate by our bed. By morning, she was her tail waggin, bebopping self.  I continued to walk her on leash and limit her jumping for another couple of days, but by day 3, I just let her be.  Her 1-1/2″ incision looked good and she was not licking or bothering it at all.  My vet did not mention her wearing a cone, although I know some do.  In her case, it was not necessary.

I have to admit that I’m sad to know that Izzy will not be able to produce any more babies, but I do have Swagger as her progeny and to keep her intelligent bloodline. I’m sure she will continue to help me train any new puppies that come along.  She has a way with them to teach them manners without intimidation.

It is advisable to have your dog spayed or neutered unless you intend to breed them, and then only if you understand all the ramifications of a breeding program.  Having a female dog in heat is quite a nuisance for 3 weeks about every 6 months and unplanned litters are nothing to scoff at.  All the females I have owned over my 40 years of having dogs have been spayed except for the two that I will now be breeding, Fancy and Rosie.  Recovery time is minimal as is the expense, even for worriers like me.

 Posted by at 8:16 pm

Lifeguard on Duty

 Adolescent Dogs, Alangus Aussies, Dog Instinct  Comments Off on Lifeguard on Duty
Sep 022012
 

Miniature American Shepherd FemaleMiniature American Shepherd Female

These pictures are quite indicative of the “herding” and “pack” instinct of a Miniature Australian Shepherd aka Miniature American Shepherd.  In both cases, just out of photography range are children in the pool and children stepping onto the back of the dive board.  Nika is watchful in one case and barring the way from her perceived danger in the other.

Dogs are dogs, but breed characteristics are hereditary and even though we train our dogs to better mesh into our lifestyle, those instincts are there just under the surface.  A herding dog has developed from bloodlines that brought their sheep or cattle together into a group and stood watch to enable the herdsman or farmer to attend to other tasks.  These early men/women chose their most dependable “shepherds” and bred those dogs together to improve the qualities of their next generation.

Hunting dogs hunt, terriers go to ground and herding dogs are watchful of their pack.  Have you wondered why your Aussie follows you from room to room and acts a little nervous when the family is in different parts of the house?  Those innate instincts are working to get the pack together and in their sight so they can alert for danger.

Nika is from Fancy x Randy litter December 2011 and is approximately 9 months old in these pictures.  She is on duty in the lifeguard tower!

 Posted by at 7:12 pm
Sep 012012
 

Happy Labor Day weekend!  It is difficult to travel and leave your fur friends behind and it’s equally difficult to decide who will care for them.  Since I retired from my teaching job in 2007, I have operated a pet sitting business called Puppy Luv Pet Sitters LLC in my local area to provide loving care to the pets that my clients can’t take on vacation with them.

I am definitely not anti-boarding facility, but you know your dog and I know mine.  My pups would go absolutely crazy and be majorly freaked out in a place where the other dogs were barking non stop and the cats meowing at the top of their lungs.  In fact, many dogs are so stressed, they come home sick from any variety of problems.

This is where hiring a local and qualified pet sitter might be your answer. If you check references, ask about insurance and talk with your prospective pet sitter before hiring them, you are most likely to have a good experience.  You can find professional pet sitters who are serious about their business by searching www.petsit.com or www.petsits.com using your zip code.  Most reputable pet sitters will have websites as well.

There are reasons we don’t ask our neighbors and family or the neighborhood teenager to care for our dogs while we travel.  Firstly, our neighbors, while being super nice people, just don’t want to be up at 6-7 am to let our dogs out and then back during the day and late evening.  They might graciously do the tasks for a day, but over a long period of time, you may find they no longer answer your phone calls.

Family members who know our dogs are also candidates for pet care, but many have jobs and often do not live nearby.  In addition, they may not quite be on the “same page” as you with your animals and it’s a sad story when you have boarded your dog or dogs at a parent or sister’s house and they accidentally let the dog get out to be lost in a neighborhood where they are not familiar.  I personally have witnessed that happening a couple of times when I was walking a client’s dog and saw distressed family members searching for their daughter’s dog who had “run” from fear.  Both times, I had this sinking feeling that they just might not be found 🙁

As an adult that has raised two children to adulthood, I just couldn’t leave my house key with even the most responsible teenager or even college age young person.  The liability of an empty house and teenagers isn’t something listed on my homeowner’s policy!  After all, I was a high school and junior college teacher for 28 years so I do know something about the youth psyche and good judgement isn’t always top of the list.

Taking your dogs along is always the best answer when it’s possible, but if you must leave them home when you go on vacation, consider using a pet sitter.  The dogs will be comfy in their own beds, eating from their own bowls and because they do not have the sense of time of humans, when you come home….they’ll think you’ve just been to work!

 Posted by at 6:15 pm
Aug 232012
 

Black Tri Miniature American Shepherd Females

Check out the resemblance of Fancy and two of her daughters, Rosie and Nika. Fancy is the larger of the three with the full white bib.  Rosie is the red tri female, which was my keeper from her 2011 litter. Fancy is registered with National Stock Dog Registry (NSDR) as a Miniature Australian Shepherd and American Kennel Club (AKC) as a Miniature American Shepherd. I wanted to get some candids while Nika is visiting us this week.

Since Fancy is a black tri female, it was not obvious until she whelped Rosie if she carried the “red” gene.  In order to have red puppies, both the dam and the sire must be red factored and black is always dominant in this breed.  If one parent is merle, then that opens up the crayon box!  A blue merle puppy is a black tri dog carrying the merle gene and a red merle puppy is a red tri dog with the merle gene.  Detailed information is available online for the correct genetic terminology.

This means that genetically Fancy, a black tri female that is red factored and Randy, a blue merle male that is red factored can produce any of the colors. We’ll see what we get this Fall in the 2012 litter!!

 Posted by at 11:15 pm
Aug 232012
 

 Mini Aussie Puppy with Swim Vest

Bentley, another of the puppies from the Fancy x Randy litter of 2011 is probably the smallest so far of that group.  He left Kentucky to travel north toward the Great Lakes and his little flotation device keeps him safe in the big water.  What a cutie!!  It would be hard not to snuggle that little man 🙂

Contrary to what folks often think, dogs do not necessarily swim naturally.  They have the instinct but must be comfortable in the water or fear will do the same thing to them as to us, panic and drowning. In addition, they can misjudge their distance if they are playing and get exhausted before they can make it to shore. When introducing dogs to the pool or lake, it is best to be safe by having them wear a vest and to teach them to be comfortable by always showing them where to “exit”, either on the stairs of a pool or the shore. All those laps on the swim team build confidence and style, all those doggy paddles do the same.

 Posted by at 4:17 pm
Aug 192012
 

Blue skies, puffy white clouds, temperatures only approaching 80 degrees on a Sunday afternoon–perfect day to take a dog for a walk, which is exactly what I did.  I had to draw straws, and since Ike, my older male, seems to be the last one chosen, he got the walk today!  Nice music with a good beat in my earphones, breeze in my hair, dog nose to the wind, bliss!

All said to review a product that is one of my favorites, The Buddy System Hands Free Leash, available on Amazon or perhaps a store near you.  It’s a nice adjustable and comfortable fit around my waist and the dog’s part of the leash attaches very easily to my part with a strong clip.  Of course, it depends on your dog, but Ike has a very nice heel so I keep the length of the leash where he’s right beside my left knee and AWAYYYYYYY we go!  With the Hands Free leash, I have a hand to adjust my music on my phone and another to hold my Tervis Water Bottle, a gift from my husband for my birthday 🙂

 Posted by at 10:44 pm
Jul 162012
 

None of us will argue that dogs have different intelligence levels just as people do.  Some are focused and tuned into their owners and some are just “out there” with a mind of their own doing what they please.  In my half century of living, I’ve had dogs in both categories and have settled on a breed and bloodlines that are of the “tuned in” variety.  No dumb dogs in my house!

I’m getting lots of feedback from Izzy’s last litter of puppies and there is no doubt that her intelligence has passed to her prodgeny. Plus, Swagger was a keeper to stay with me so I have some first hand experience.   I have to admit that I’m being shamed by some of the puppies’ new owners with their dedication to training and there have been video and pictorial evidence that these very young dogs can learn lots of tricks with repetition and positive reinforcement.  The more a puppy learns, the more she wants to learn and the more she becomes capable of learning because of those connections being made early in the brain development.

Do I have any preschool teachers out there in the audience?  Isn’t it proven that early  childhood  experiences lead to the development of what we consider intelligence and the lack of stimulation can thwart later learning, even though the capability was inherent in the child.  This concept is the same with our fur children as with our skin babies.  Learning is fun and leads to the inquisitiveness to learn more.

I stand by the notion that early puppy training, particularly in an intelligent breed like Miniature Australian Shepherds ie Miniature American Shepherds leads to increased ability to learn.  The key is starting with small behaviors that please us and marking them  with a clicker or a verbal marker and using a treat to reward.  Then, we must watch closely and continue to reward the actions we like, and ignore or redirect the actions that we are discouraging.

The question, “is it necessary for a dog to have intelligence to be trained”?  Yes. But, it is just as important for the owner to take the lead and teach the puppy “to learn”.   Smart dog? or Smart owner?

 Posted by at 7:21 pm
Jun 282012
 

While camping and riding the bike trail, we’ve picked up a few freeloaders, those icky ticks. I treat my dogs monthly with topical Revolution from my vet so the critters don’t “hang” around but I read a great idea for being sure the ticks and fleas that might hitchhike into our house get a really bad headache..put a flea and tick collar inside the bag of the vacuum cleaner.  That’s ingenious!!

Do you have other ideas like that one that you’d like to share? 

 Posted by at 2:29 am