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Helpful hints for dogs – Alangus Mini Aussies: A Dog Blog
Aug 162015
 

There are just those times when “stuff happens”.  A friend of mine teases me about having a backup plan, but when we have dogs or other pets, a plan of action in place is very important for their safety if we have an emergency and have to be away.

Just recently, my husband became ill and the visit to the ER turned into a stay in the hospital which is not unusual.  Since I have 6 dogs, I have a person that pet sits for me on a regular basis and knows my dogs, my house systems and my routine well.  That is part of my backup plan so she was able to pick right up with a last minute call to fill in for me until we returned.

It isn’t always easy to find that reliable person that is available or willing to care for our animals when we are away.  Using a neighbor isn’t usually a good idea although they might pinch hit in an extreme situation.  They have their own lives and imposing on their hospitality can lead to them avoiding us.  Plus, although being friendly and helpful, they may not be the right person to be on schedule to let the dogs out or may not follow our directions on feeding, sometimes leading to a dog escaping or damage to our house or even causing illness to the pet.

As a part of that backup plan, have it in place before you need it.  People that “pet sit” for a business are your best bet because they are usually insured and know how to follow your directions and are usually on call once you have established a relationship.  An Internet search will typically locate petsitters in your area or often you can use websites like www.petsit.com or www.petsits.com to find a reliable person.  Personally, I would avoid Craigslist ads.

Expect to pay.  The old adage “you get what you pay for”, is most often true.  Asking someone to care for your animals for free is not a backup plan.  Knowing there is no payout, the psyche tells them they can do it their way instead of your way.

Be careful of using children or even teenagers.  Children, although they might love your dog, do not have the judgment to deal with emergencies appropriately and it is likely they won’t be there for that early morning potty break to be sure your house isn’t soiled or keeping dogs separated for feeding to prevent a scuffle.  Teenagers, on the other hand, can (but not necessarily) be more reliable but an empty house + teenagers could lead to trouble.  Even so, most 16 year olds won’t be up at 6 am to let the dogs out and they might not realize the importance of not missing a visit.

Get your plan in place early.  Find the sitter, fill out the paperwork, check their insurance and reviews, and have them do a visit occasionally on one of your shopping days to be sure it goes well and the pets get to know them.  Then, check in with them routinely to be sure they are still in business and keep them up to date on changes you might have or changes to locks.

That backup plan will give you peace of mind when the Emergency Room beckons or you decide last minute to fly to Las Vegas for a weekend of the awesome buffets! Plan ahead for your pets to keep them safe while you are away because “stuff happens”!!!!

 

 

 Posted by at 4:52 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.

 

 

 

 

Dec 092013
 

 

My pooches were starting to make those click click sounds as they run around on the hardwood floors which is a reminder that it is time for their nails to be trimmed…aka doggy pedicure.

I am so fortunate because my pooches aren’t necessarily happy to have their nails clipped, but they don’t hold grudges and will stay still for me.  The trick is that I started them all when they were tiny little furballs and always try to make it a happy occasion with yummy treats afterward.  If you dog is fussier, a muzzle is a good idea and just take it slow.  Once they learn that you aren’t giving in and it really doesn’t hurt, the next time will be easier. A good light is essential and I either put the dog on my grooming table or let them lay in my lap, depending on which gets more cooperation.

There are different tools to use including a Dremel grinder, scissor style clippers or guillotine type.  I do have a grinder and use it some to smooth off the rough edges, but for the most part I use clippers like the ones pictured mostly because it is faster and they have a safety to help gauge how far to cut.  If the nail is a little too sharp on the edges, then I might grind them a bit or let them run around on the concrete driveway!

It is recommended that nails be cut in small increments weekly so the “quick” will move back in their nail and make it less likely to cut too short and cause bleeding.  I can’t say I do the trim that often, but I try to go no more than a couple of weeks.  If you do cut the quick, be prepared for a big bleed that takes awhile to stop.  It does hurt the dog some, but the worst part is keeping them still until the blood clots.  I have stypic pads on hand just in case.

Dog’s nails are either black or white or some of each.  Definitely the white nails are much easier because you can see where the quick starts.  I try to judge how much I cut off the white ones to know where to cut on the black since my dogs have some of each (weird, eh?).

It is very important to keep your dogs nails trimmed whether you do it or pay your vet or groomer to do it.  Long nails make it difficult for the dogs to get traction and actually causes them to be a bit off balance.  If the nails get long enough to turn sideways when the dog walks, it can also be painful for them and or even cause sores on their pads.  No more click clicks in my house today, nails are trimmed and pups are licking their lips from their yummy treat 🙂

Oct 092013
 

 

57356,1380530546$SS172$One of the most important things we can teach our dogs is a reliable recall.  We practice and practice in our backyard when there are no distractions and it is an easy thing for them to run back to us since they know the territory and have nothing more interesting to distract them.  Then, we take them to the soccer field to play Frisbee or the dog park where there are lots of fun things to see and smell, and they might act like they don’t know who we are when we ask them to return unless we have done some serious practice.  And, I might add, some dogs are easier to teach reliable recall than others!

In teaching recall, one of the things that is super important is that we always make it fun and rewarding for them to come to us.  As puppies, if they don’t come when we call, we must make it a game and run away rather than toward them and act like our closest family member has just come home from Afghanistan when they finally “catch” us.  We should NEVER punish a dog for not coming although I have done it in my distant past and paid the consequences of a dog that became a “runner”.  Letting them drag a long lightweight “clothesline” when they are not quite dependable gives us the edge. We can just step on the end of the line when they start to dart, and reel them back in with lots of “good boys”.

When working on recall, I try to keep a few of the very best “jackpot” treats in my pocket, ones that aren’t used for the usual sit and down and spin.  It has to be something that they can smell from a distance and tastes scrumptious and is only used when what they are asked to do is especially tough.  Since I get samples occasionally from chewy.com, I have decided one they have sent me would be excellent  to use for training recall  or to use a jackpot.  Nature’s Variety Instinct Mini treats are freeze dried raw chicken so nothing but meat and natural ingredients as is typical of this company’s products.  My dogs go crazy when I get out the box and if I have them in my pocket, they sniff and sniff at my side.  I dare say, if I can them to “go out” at all, they will be quick to return if I have these little treats ready to pop in their mouth when they come back to me from a distance.

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Minis are available from chewy.com with free shipping over $49.  I do not receive any money for my reviews, although I do like to share products that I like and this company gives me the opportunity to receive samples for the reviews.

If you’d like to subscribe to the Blog for email notifications when one is posted, click HERE. Your comments and experiences with your dogs are welcome!  You can unsubscribe at any time.

 

 

 

 Posted by at 3:10 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 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 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.

If you’d like to subscribe to the blog for email notifications, click HERE. Your comments and experiences with your dogs are welcome!

 

 Posted by at 10:05 pm
Jun 082013
 

I have a previous post about doggy diarrhea, but thought I’d pass along my recent experience.  Swagger has been attending doggy daycare a couple of days a week plus training one night a week in agility and to help him get ready to go into the show ring in the near future.  I added that so you’d know he has been out of my home environment a lot lately.  About three weeks ago, he lost his appetite, but I thought it was just because I had a girl in season which isn’t unusual for the little man of the household.  He hasn’t been a hearty eater anyway and was starting to look really thin…not good.

As it always happens, his symptoms of bloody diarrhea and prolific vomiting started to show up on a Saturday afternoon after all the local vets were closed.  I texted one of my contact vets and she didn’t seem concerned and just wanted me to hold food and give Pepcid and Pepto Bismol.  Because I’ve been down this road occasionally, I knew it was more than just an upset stomach but did as she instructed.  Sunday morning and things were much worse overnight.  Poor little buddy was sick…very sick and those sad eyes were asking for help.  Being Sunday….off we go to Blue Pearl, the emergency clinic in our neck of the woods for blood work and to be checked out.  I was seeing $$$ of course.

You guessed it….most likely good ole Giardia!  A quick Google search will give you all the info you need about this stomach bug aka protozoa that is all around and sometimes populates inside our poor doggy’s gut (and ours eeek!) and makes them very sick.  The biggest danger for Swagger was that he was thin at that point and could easily have become dehydrated, which luckily he didn’t.  Giardia is very difficult for a vet to test for because of its life stages, so typically the symptoms tell the story after ruling out something worse like pancreatitis or ingesting a tennis ball!

A diet of boiled chicken and rice along with a 5 day regimen of metronidazole did the trick.  I keep that drug in my stash and could have saved a couple hundred dollars, but you know, it could have been something else and I just didn’t want to risk my little boy.  All’s well that ends well!

Within a few hours, Swagger had his swag back on and was yearning to frisbee and had emptied his food bowl, asking for a second helping.  But metro is an antibiotic, so we all know it’s important to finish the round even if the pup is feeling better.

I put in a call to my breeder friend who is my goto when I have a question and asked her protocol.  She emailed me info that the metronidazole should be followed up with a 3 day round of fenbendazole (Safeguard) in the event the other drug didn’t clear the bad bugs from the system.  I buy Safeguard at Tractor Supply and use for worming my young puppies and also every 3 months with my adult dogs. It had been 3 months so it was time for a round anyway.  Giardia is very contagious, so I dosed everyone as a preventive and also to clear any worms that might be hanging around.  In my case, I had everything I needed for Swagger in my medicine cabinet but given the same symptoms again, I’d most likely make the same call for a vet’s advice.

It’s good to look back and say that was nothing serious and I’ll know next time.  Then the next time, when the symptoms show up, I second guess myself and start to worry that it could be more…and it always could.  I’m pretty confident with my dogs and their glitches and upsets, but never confident enough that I don’t seek a professional when it’s warranted.

 Posted by at 9:38 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
Nov 162012
 

As with  all of you, life happens, and I have been busy, too busy to do much formal training with my dogs other than puppy classes in the last year or so.  I’ve gotten rusty, and so have they.

Determined to get back into the circuit, I registered Izzy, my prima donna, for an advanced obedience class which started last night.  Izzy has not been in class for a couple of years during which time she has given us two nice litters of puppies.  She has now been spayed so it is time to let her shine once again.  Every household has a dog that is the “straight A” student, and Izzy is ours.  She is so in tune, it is pretty impressive and she LOVES to work.

I have as a goal to ready her to go into the competitive obedience ring at some point. Since we are a partnership, I have to fine tune my skills while she does the same.  I have found that I can obviously practice at home, but the training class setting is important.  Izzy struggles with her confidence around boisterous dogs and animated people and tends to over react to “scare” them away.  Because of that personality trait, the time among the other dogs is very very important for her.  As she works, she zeros in on me and forgets all the chaos around her.

The biggest obstacle to attending class is drive time for me, but I am very happy with the trainers and nice facility at Almost Home Training in Louisville, KY.  I like to understudy those that have had competitive experience because they have an edge over those that have not been in the ring because they haven’t just read the books, they’ve done it themselves.

If you haven’t taken your dogs to training classes, you’ll find it is addictive and the pride you feel when your dog accomplishes a new skill is just plain fun.

 Posted by at 1:41 am
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
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 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 302012
 

As I was reading the newest edition of The Whole Dog Journal today, I was reminded of the dangers of some dog treats, particularly chicken jerky and semi soft treats imported from China.  The first issued warnings were in 2007 from the FDA and frankly, nothing has changed.  Warnings are still on their website available to the public.  Additional information can be found at http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm092802.htm

Since those warnings, I find myself looking at the small print on the back of dog treat packages for the country of origin, and if I see China, it goes back on the shelf.  And, you do have to be careful because sometimes “packaged in USA” is in big print and “made in China” in very tiny print.

Perhaps circumstantial, but I have had a couple of pet sit client dogs with ongoing diarrhea while their owners were gone when I was following the instructions to give the pups a “treat” each day.  When the treats stopped, so did the stomach upset.  Enough said.

To quote from the article Jerky Treats (and others) still Making Dogs Ill,  The Whole Dog Journal, September 2012:

“All of these treats have been associated with a type of kidney failure in dogs called acquired Fanconi syndrome.  Affected dogs may show any or all of the following signs:

*Decreased appetite

*Lethargy

*Vomiting and diarrhea, sometimes with blood

*Blood tests may show signs of kidney failure”

There are plenty of wholesome treats on the market for our dogs.  My pups love baby carrots, frozen green peas, fresh or frozen green beans, chunks of sweet potato or apples in addition to some treats that I pick up from the pet store shelves. I’m not a fanatic and my dogs do occasionally get some “junk food”, but I admit I’m very careful about where the products come from.

 Posted by at 10:22 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
Jun 192012
 

I know puppy poops is an odd topic, but since I have big dogs and little dogs in my house and I also run a busy pet sitting business, I see lots of them.

Of course, a normal dog poop should be firm and with shape and a normal brown color.  Sometimes, that’s just not what we find in the yard, unfortunately, and for lots of different reasons.

First, I’d like to address puppies.  The number one reason that the new puppy you just brought home has what I call pudding poop is stress and the second is a quick change in the food you’re feeding or too many treats.  Both of those have easy solutions.  If it’s stress related, give the puppy more time alone to rest away from the kids and commotion of life and perhaps add just a little yogurt to their meal to help their gut flora.  When changing puppy food, do so slowly by combining the new food with the old food for a few days before taking the old food out of the mix.

I should also mention that worms can cause puppies to have diarrhea, so be sure to rule out that possibility by either giving worm meds appropriately or having their stool checked by your vet.

Another reason for puppies to have pudding poop is a little more complicated.  Puppies have antibodies which protect them against all kind of stuff in the environment as long as they are nursing from their mommies.  Very shortly after they are weaned, their own bodies have to pick up the slack and do the work on their own.  A couple of “bugs” that are out there that can make a puppy sick with diarrhea are giardia and coccidia.  Most adult dogs have immunities but are often carriers so they can pass these ailments to puppies.  In addition, either can be picked up from the grass, standing water, or even from the floors or toys or bowls in our multi dog households.  You may even bring your puppy home from the breeder to find that they are in the process of “shedding” the organisms through their poop.  If the poop looks like it is encased in mucous or has some blood, those are indicators that they need some medicine from the vet, usually Flagyl for Giardia and Albon for Coccidia. Although not immediately life threatening, small puppies can get dehydrated and we just don’t want their bellies to hurt, so get them in for a checkup.  In most cases, the vet will want to also treat your other dogs because both are highly contagious.

In a worst case scenario and if your puppy is very sick and lethargic along with diarrhea, get the vet ASAP because they just might have Parvo.  Luckily, very early treatment and intervention raise the chances of survival.  You will know the difference between a romping puppy with loose stools and a sick puppy.

Diarrhea in adult dogs often is the result of eating too much food, stress, too many treats, or food from our plates.  I see stress diarrhea a lot with my pet sit clients because our dogs are a little confused when we leave for an extended period of time.  I keep a probiotic called DogZymes on hand and have terrific success with adding a small amount to each meal to keep tummies feeling good.  It is available from NaturesFarmacy.com.  It is an all natural product and I have seen no ill effects, only positive results.  I use it for my own dogs when we are traveling or have guests in the house.

If, however, your adult dog has diarrhea with blood or mucous, they may also be fighting off giardia or coccidia as mentioned above.  My dogs tend to get a round of giardia in the early Spring when there’s a lot of rain and my backyard grass is especially wet.  When I see that mucous in their stool, I immediately give them a round of Flagyl.

This may be more than you wanted to know about puppy poops, but if you are intrigued by the topic, the Internet provides all kinds of detailed information about the ailments I mentioned.

 Posted by at 8:33 pm
Jun 082012
 

Since the puppies are with their new owners, except Swagger, it’s time for us to get my other dogs back into their exercise routine.  Exercise is so important for a happy and healthy dog and for a healthy and happy human.

It’s easy to do passive exercise with Izzy and Fancy, because they are disc dogs and will play until they can run no more.  However, there’s more to exercise than running after a disc in the back yard.

We have a 4 mile walking/running/biking trail just down the street from us and as of this week, I promised myself and especially Ike, Fancy and Rosie that we would be there once a day.  Besides burning calories for myself, the benefits to walking on a trail are numerous.

First, dogs need to walk on a loose leash beside you and that takes practice.  In my younger life, I thought an extend leash was the way to go and wondered why my dogs pulled until they choked themselves on a walk.  Now I know they had not learned that we were partners in the walk rather than them being the head honcho and me the underling. Some dogs learn this much more easily than others, but I’ve found that a pocket full of super yummy treats to pop in their mouth when they’re doing it right soon teaches them the reward of staying with me.  Loose leash is not “heeling” as we do in obedience competition, but does mean they walk at our side in a relaxed fashion.

Second, our dogs have to learn to make way for the other walkers with wheels: bicycles, little children on their trikes, and skaters.  Herding dogs like to herd, of course, so they have to practice ignoring those folks that buzz by us at top speed.  You remembered…a pocket full of treats, and add a clicker on your wrist if you think to bring it along.  Bike passing, say pup’s name, they look at you instead of the bike, click and pop a treat.  It won’t take long, until they are begging for bikes to come by.

And, of course, walkers with other dogs.  That one is not so easy because some of those “other” dogs aren’t as well behaved as ours.  If I’m out with more than one dog, I don’t typically do any greeting on the trail, it just turns into a mishmash of dog tails and is too risky.  It doesn’t always work, but I keep my dogs by my side as much as I can, do lots of singsong talking, pop treats and keep walking.  If you hear me singing Happy Birthday to my dogs, it doesn’t mean they have a cake with candles waiting at home.  It is a happy song after all, and gets their attention and gives me a more relaxed feeling so I don’t panic when I see a 120 pound Mastiff walking my way on the trail straining against the owner’s leash, and of course, the owner has on earphones and is not noticing their dog’s body language.  Happy birthday to you….pop a treat…happy birthday to you…pop a treat.  You get the idea.

Izzy got her dose of Frisbee tonight with Swagger running along behind her (so darn cute) and the other dogs got their walk on the trail.  They are relaxed and I’m relaxed.  What a good way to spend a cool Spring evening!

 Posted by at 3:30 am
Jun 032012
 

 Blue Merle Mini Aussie Puppy

Ian Dunbar, a noted author on puppy and dog behavior, indicates that our puppies should meet 100 people in the first weeks of their lives along with being exposed to different sounds and environments and light scenarios.  This is especially true with mini Aussie puppies because unlike some breeds, they are not genetically wired to open their hearts to strangers unless they learn very early that people=fun or in dog terms, TREATS!

Swagger, our keeper from our last litter spent the day at some of the places we frequent for his first big dose of socialization.  If you want attention, ride an 8-week old puppy around in your shopping cart at Lowes!  If you happen to be a little shy yourself, this will definitely bring you out of your shell and you can meet all kinds of interesting people.  My favorite phrase, “would you like to pet my puppy?” always brings the children around followed by their smiling parents.  Perfect…inexpensive, and I would be there anyway with my husband browsing in the electrical aisle.

We want only happy and healthy experiences, so I didn’t sit Swagger on the ground yet since he has only had his first round of shots.  Being at eye level was the perfect scenario for some coos and ahhhhhs and isn’t he the sweetest thing evers!! It was fun and gave others an opportunity to share with me the stories and even pictures of the dogs that they love.

 Posted by at 11:34 pm
May 112012
 

Those cute little fluffy puppies start to morph into adult dogs just like our sweet skin babies pass through life’s stages. At about 3-4 months old, ears start to look funky and the chewies begin indicating that baby teeth are starting to loosen and adult teeth are making their mouths sore. Toward the end of this period, puppies are fully into their adolescent time and their independent spirit takes hold. Sadly, many puppies find themselves banished from their family or even worse, given up to a shelter or rehomed.

How do we survive the next few months?  First, we must realize that our goal is to have a loyal adult dog and no one wants a puppy forever just like we want to see our own children and grandchildren grow into respectful adults.  

Potty mistakes are only mistakes and can be cleaned up. The best defense is crate training and having the puppy in an area easily mopped and to do potty walks often.  They don’t mean to make a mess, they just haven’t learned the rules yet. Consider it the transition from diaper to potty chair to toilet.

At this adolescent stage, puppies also get a wild hair and will take off to explore the world. Knowing this will happen, the best defense when they aren’t in a fenced area is to let them drag 20 feet of light clothesline from their collar so you can step on the end to reel them in if necessary.  The line can get twisted around them and potentially hurt them so only use it under direct and watchful supervision. I use it also to practice recalls.  Of course, don’t chase, but turn from your puppy and call with a happy voice of they get out of reach. And, when they come to you…only good things happen.  Never snatch them up to take them inside immediately or scold them.

Chewing doesn’t  have to be a problem if you have lots of safe toys and Nylabones handy. My floor looks like the dog toy monster spit up.  And…shoes and other valuables just have to be put away until the puppy is dependable, probably after a year or more old.

Time does fly by and with diligence and watchfulness, your rowdy adolescent will develop into the friend you had hoped for.

 Posted by at 2:08 am
Feb 082012
 

Skyhoundz dog disc

Like everything else, I have very strong opinions about what dog toys I use with my puppies.

Since I have Mini Aussies, which are born to herd and retrieve, my number one toy is a Frisbee and I start teaching that skill from the time they are old enough to romp.  It is absolutely the best way to exercise your dog safely and gives them hours of pleasure.  The old adage, “a tired dog is a happy dog”, can’t be quoted too many times.  Like everything else, there are discs and there are discs that are safe and dog friendly.  The hard “freebies” can wreck havoc on a dog’s teeth, so I purchase my discs from http://www.skyhoundz.com/, the provider of competition discs for all size dogs.  Since my dogs are less than 25 pounds, I use the SofFlite.  They fly long distances but are flexible.  I buy the “seconds” by the dozen and when the disc gets ragged, pitch it and start with a new one.

My second favorite toy is a Kong, especially the hard black super Kongs.  They can provide hours of safe entertainment for a crated dog if they are stuffed and frozen with something yummy.  Sometimes, I stuff with their normal kibble and block the holes with a dab of peanut butter.  Other great stuffings are banana and yogurt, pumpkin, oatmeal and banana or even a little cream cheese.  I keep a supply in a zip-loc in my freeze for when company comes and I want them entertained.  With some testing, you’ll check what works well for your dog and doesn’t cause stomach upset.

Dogs love balls, especially if they have any retriever instinct.  Since tennis balls can be swallowed and their “fuzz” chewed also causing damage to teeth, I like to use a chuck-it, replacing the balls with the ones available that have a hole which is much safer.  http://www.amazon.com/Chuckit-Pocket-Ball-Launcher-Colors/dp/B000PKWKMQ/ref=pd_sim_petsupplies_4

My dogs also love a herding ball and it is hilarious to watch my little 13 pound girl nose it all around my back yard.  She is in heaven and can play for hours by herself.  So many dogs love it, it has been turned into a dog sport called Treibball.

My last favorite are Nylabones.  I have seen disasters happen in a short period of time with rawhide chews, so I teach all my dogs to chew a Nylabone as soon as they get teeth.  My dogs prefer the wishbone shape for some reason, perhaps because they can maneuver it with their feet while they chew, but there are a variety of shapes and flavors.  The goal is to purchase one that will not bite off in chunks and is the right size for your dog that they cannot lodge it in their throat.  http://www.amazon.com/Nylabone-Dura-Wishbone-Original-Flavor/dp/B0010P0YSW

Dogs need exercise and dogs need entertainment to keep them from being bored and destructive.  Safe toys are an answer.

 Posted by at 4:22 pm
Feb 042012
 

Mini Aussie Puppy with Veterinarian

We had the vet check this morning and first shots on my litter of mini aussie puppies.  All good!!  I knew it would be, but I always like them to be checked from head to toe just to be sure.  With a litter of puppies, it is nice to use a mobile veterinarian that comes to my house, less stress on the puppies, less stress on me.  After, the exams Dr. Rubsche gave them some cookies so they will associate her with only happy thoughts 🙂

So….weather is mild here in Kentucky and we did our first potty run this afternoon.  Kinda hard with 5 little munchkins, but everyone ran the yard and pooped.  Yay!!! good start.  I have undergound fencing for my adult dogs, so I need to be an octopus to keep all the little ones contained.  Luckily, my male is a really good babysitter and he rounds them up if they head toward the boundary line as did Fancy, their mom.  Sooooo cute, those little balls of fluff running around!!  They had the look of wild abandon on their faces.  Priceless!

Since they are doing so well, I’ve changed them over to 3 meals a day rather than free feeding.  That way I can guesstimate their poop action and now get them out in time.  Sure makes for less cleanup and starting them on their potty training.  It seems I always do some free feeding at first until they are fully weaned, but now ready to start the training phase.

 Posted by at 1:03 am
Jan 292012
 

Okay, I’m crying Uncle on using peepads with this litter. They are absolutely having a blast turning them into giblets even when they are in a holder. And, of course, when I find them sleeping so contentedly and ask “who” all I get are innocent little puppy smiles.

So now I’m trying something different and actually it’s not too bad. I ordered some small pooch pads (otherwise named whelping pads) for other uses, but they fit in the peepad holders quite nicely. I have read reviews from other folks that using them instead of disposable is a viable option and so far I’m liking the outcome.

The washable pads soak up the peepee nicely and it doesn’t soak through. It is also easy to use a baby wipe to pick up the poo and just put it in a ziplock to throw away in the garbage. By the way, using a large ziploc saves smell in the garbage and can be filled up before discarding. At the end of the day or when it’s really messy, I just throw the pad in the washer like a cloth diaper and put in a fresh one.  It does feel good to know I’m not putting more garbage in the landfill and I’m hoping using the holders is teaching the puppies the “acceptable” place since they have to step up onto it. Now all this said, I’m an advocate of training dogs to go outside but at 6 weeks old or overnight during training that just isn’t doable.  

 Posted by at 8:33 pm
Dec 302011
 

Children and puppies are a match made in heaven, but sometimes the devil can sneak in when the adults aren’t looking.

When I was raising my now adult children, we lived on a farm and we always had a dog as a beloved pet and in our case, to work the cattle when needed.  That was the beginning of our love for the herding breeds.  At the time, we chose a Border Collie because of its ability to “eye” those Angus cattle that can be a little cantankerous and move them where we wanted them.  Through the years, we had 3 very loving and talented BC’s that lived a full life with us.

My dad also had a Border Collie, but came upon a litter of Aussies in the area and one morning appeared at my house with a gorgeous little red merle female.  As had happened in the past, he asked that I keep her and get her through her puppy stage until he could teach her to work the cattle. Patch never left us and became a pampered house dog living 16.5 years and starting our love for Aussies.  She was registered as a Standard, but I now know she was a Mini Aussie standing about 17″ and weighing 30 pounds.  As they say, the rest is history.

I said that to say, having a dog for the children to train and play with is very important for both and teaches them to respect animals and learn their nuances.  My adult children both have pampered dogs in their homes now that they are starting their own families.

When you bring a puppy into your home that is a baby, it should be treated much like you would treat a skin baby and the children in the house should be supervised at all times lest the “devil” appear.  Even though the puppies appear rambunctious sometimes, they are actually still pretty fragile in that first month that you have them.

Guide your children (and neighbor’s children)  in how to keep the puppy safe and happy:

  • Play times should be short stretches with naps in between.
  • Children should be taught to sit or lay in the floor and let the puppy come to them rather chasing the puppy around the house lest they trip and fall on the puppy or give it a big scare from the chase.
  • Children, even young adolescents, should not pick up or carry a young puppy.  Wiggly puppies can be dropped very easily (even by adults) and legs broken or even worse they can be killed.  Even if not injured seriously, the drama of a fall makes a negative impression that can last a lifetime.  Mini Aussies, being very intelligent dogs, are also very sensitive and once they have  a fearful experience, it is very difficult to get them past that event.
  • Puppies should have a safe area that they can snuggle into away from the ruckus of children playing and being their normal selves.  This is where a cozy crate in an out of the way corner works perfectly.
  • Children should be taught never to “drag” a puppy from its safe place, but rather to encourage them to come out by laying in the floor and using a sing song voice to call them out.
  • Children should be taught to rub or scratch a puppy on its neck or belly and not to pat its head.  Patting a dogs head is never a good idea because the dog construes it as being punished and sometimes in adult dogs can result in a bite.

Seeing your children develop a friendship and bond with a dog is worth a million and makes memories that no one forgets.  I can see my young children playing in my yard with their doggy friends and know they were precious moments.  Herding dogs love children they have been raised with and will do their best to keep them safe, often rounding them up from perceived danger.  Our BC’s knew the boundary where the children were allowed to play, and if they tried to venture further, you’d see a tail wagging and a dog circling to get them going back in the right direction.

Puppies and children are a special combination. As adults, we must just be alert with that new puppy and be sure the devil stays away.

 Posted by at 4:35 pm
Dec 222011
 

I know you new puppy parents are perusing my Blog to not miss a moment of your new friend’s life so I took another video this morning.  It’s with my Iphone and not high quality, but has a good view of the little ones.  They are eating really well, as is Momma Dog, and their little bellies are starting to pooch out.  I love the time when they start to turn from newborns into puppies.

At this point it is very very important for me to keep Fancy healthy with as many calories as I can get down here.  She’s currently eating Orijen Fish dog food because it is very high calcium and  very high calorie (600+ kcal per cup), a six star food, the very best rating.  That is much higher calorie count than I would like to feed my dogs normally because when not whelping I like to keep them just a tad lean.  Fancy loves that particular food and I’m adding some hot water to make a stew because her intake of fluids needs to be maximized as well.  This morning early, she ate about 1 1/2 cups of dog food covered with hot water.  At lunch she got another bowl of  1 1/2 cups mixture of cottage cheese, rice and chicken that I had cooked earlier and frozen for her and a little puppy food.  The extra calcium in the cottage cheese and the protein again will help her milk supply.  With five nursing puppies, a female dog can lose a lot of her body fat and sacrifice her own health just as nursing skin mothers do.  Tonight she’ll get another meal and perhaps a chunk of cheese if she’s still hungry.  To compare, when not with puppies, Fancy eats 1 cup of food per day and maintains a healthy weight.

I’m not seeing a way to link to my video on my version of WordPress, so if necessary, you may need to copy and paste the url into your browser:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vpBTrynYPM

 Posted by at 6:09 pm
Dec 172011
 

I should have bought stock in Amazon a few years back as much business as I give them. Now that I have the App on my IPhone, it’s even worse.  Amazon plus the fact that I’m an avid reader of books about dogs means my bookshelves are full and my husband seems to think I have a relationship with the UPS driver since he stops at our house daily.

To the topic, I have on my shelves a few books that I highly recommend for the person planning to purchase a puppy or that has just brought one home. My very favorite even though it is not a new edition is “Before and After You Get Your Puppy”.  This particular author especially emphasizes things to look for in a breeder as well as giving very practical advice that we probably should think of on our own, but probably haven’t.  Another title that I like is “How to Raise A Puppy You Can Live With”. This is also an older book in its 4th Edition, but again is an easy read with helpful hints even for those of us that are not new to dog training and ownership. 

The window of opportunity to socialize and prepare your puppy for a happy lifetime is so short, it is important to do a little homework by reading some good books.  

 Posted by at 4:45 am
Nov 262011
 

All of us who own dogs see occasional bouts of diarrhea and since I’m also a Petsitter, I see it more often. Diarrhea has many causes, but most often it’s a change of food, eating something in the yard not meant for consumption, or stress.

When I find a product that I like and that works I like to pass it along. This particular item came from one of my pet sit clients and it has saved lots of tummy aches and lots of messy cleanups for me.  

There are a variety of probiotics  on the market, but one I really like is sold online by Nature’s Farmacy called Dogzymes Digestive Enhancer. I buy the powder form because I like its consistency and the dogs like the taste. It looks a lot like Parmesan cheese and has a pleasant odor. In most cases 1/4 to 1/2 t a day over food solves or prevents any tummy upset. I give it to my mini Aussies when I change their food and when we travel. I also use it for my bitches after they whelp.  For my pet sit dogs that I know get stress diarrhea, I start it as soon as the owners leave, with their permission, of course.

 Posted by at 7:43 pm
Jul 172011
 

Puppy PlaypenThe two toy/mini Aussie puppies that are growing at my house are doing really well in the pen set up that I have for them.  I’ve taken hints from other breeders and put them together into what has worked for me.

Since I don’t have a “kennel” and my dogs are home raised, once the puppies were moving around, I set up the play yard in some extra space at the side of my dining room.  I have hardwood floors, so the first thing I did was go to Lowes and buy an inexpensive pre-cut roll of vinyl flooring that looks like wood and unrolled it over my hardwood.  To the casual observer coming into my home, you don’t really notice that I have laid down vinyl and it is easily mopped without doing damage to my wood.

I divided the play area loosely into 3 areas.  In one corner, I have an appropriately sized crate with the door open and sherpa fabric inside that is easy to change out and wash.  The puppies like to “den” in their crate.  Originally, when they were smaller I used the Perla bed, but found they would hunker behind it to sleep so the crate works better at this stage.

In the opposite corner, I use an Out plastic holder for their peepee pads.  I really like that product and the puppies caught on almost immediately and transitioned form the peepee pad on the floor to the holder.  I’m trying to do the math, but when I can put people bed pads on sale and cut them in half, I think it is more cost effective than the puppy pads at the pet store.  It will take a little more computation to figure out if that is actually true.  On the up side, the bed pads are thicker and more absorbant which I do like and a large one cut in half will make 2 perfect size ones for the holder.  I’m finding that about 80% of the time, the puppies are going to the holder which is a terrific percentage for their 6 1/2 weeks old.  Very surprising.

In the other corner, I have their water and puppy food dish which leaves all the middle for their toys and play time.  This set up is very practical, easy to clean and keeping the puppies exercised and happy.

The picture shows the pen in it’s original octagon shape when the puppies were younger and as they have gotten more active, I added 2 additional sections to the pen and made it a large square with more play room.

 Posted by at 2:30 pm

Tummy Aches Happen

 Helpful hints for dogs, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Tummy Aches Happen
Apr 262010
 

My little female toy Aussie has been under the weather for a couple of days with a tum tum ache.  A couple of weeks ago Fancy had the same symptoms and a vet’s visit didn’t bring any answers.  I went back to advice that Fancy’s breeder had given me and found some Metronidazole tablets (Flagyl) in my stash from another vet, another dog, another time.  That seems to be curing the problem.  After 2 days, her tail is wagging and she’s looking for her Frisbee once again.  And…starting to eat.

Had I not had the Flagyl, I would have used Fish Zole which is the same medication and can be purchased at a minimal price from pet supply stores without a prescription.  (Disclaimer- I am not a veterinarian)

 Posted by at 2:41 am