Jun 262012

Puppy in Bicycle Basket

Our favorite vacations are to take the dogs in our motor home and ride our bikes, non-motorized, on a scenic rail to trail. This summer our choice was the Katy Trail spanning Missouri east to west. There’s always beautiful nature since the old rail lines ran through the countryside and often along waterways.  This trail is no exception.

After a slow start and a poor choice of campground for our first night, we landed in Hermann, MO in the middle of Mssouri wine country. The little town with obvious German heritage  was a neat place to relax. The city park had shaded campsites just half mile from one of the wineries with tours, tasting and a nice German themed restaurant menu. Poor planning delayed getting our rental car a couple of days, but once we were mobile to get to a trailhead, helmets to the wind. 

Although the trail is over 100 miles long stretching from St. Charles, MO to the west, we only had time to ride in 10 mile segments because of the heat of midsummer with daytime temperatures approaching 100 degrees F.  We hit the trail very early in the morning for our ride and if possible stoppwd at a local diner in one of the little depot towns for a hearty breakfast. The first morning’s ride took us from McKendrick east to Rhineland, MO with acres of flat cornfields with some hills in the distance.

This trip we traveled with Izzy, Rosie and Swagger our 3 mini Aussies. Ike and Fancy stayed home to be cared for by the lady that works for me in my pet sitting business. I bought a bike basket just for dogs on Amazon and this was our debut. Swagger LOVED IT!!  He has his face to the cool morning breeze and was a happy rider. Rosie and Izzy got in a morning nap back at ground zero.

 Posted by at 9:52 pm
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
Mar 222012

This is Rose’s first outing in the motorhome and she’s all about it!  Nothing more fun than grandbabies and puppies 🙂  We’re babysitting for a couple of days at Kentucky Horse Park, which by the way is a very nice state campground in our area.

I was thinking yesterday as my almost 3 year old granddaughter  and I were walking Rose to the playground and letting her meet everyone along the way, that this should be on my “to do” list for all the puppies that I sell.  There is no better place for socialization than in a campground environment.  People of all ages, lots of children, noisy playground and other dogs with a safe place to walk and practice our new obedience commands provides lots of wonderful experiences.  Same goes for the ball park!

Izzy, our little pregnant mama, tagged along on this trip too.  Even though she’s been grumpy with Fancy and Ike, she’s quite tolerant of the two girls.  Of course, I always provide a place for her to get away when the baby crawls toward her face to face, but so far she just jumps onto the dash for higher ground!

 Posted by at 7:36 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