Its The Dog

Learning through dogs

‘Tis the season

Dingo at 8 weeks old

Some of you may be considering bringing home a new puppy for the holidays. Maybe you’re trying to justify it; the kids will enjoy it; it’ll keep you company during the winter; it’ll be fun. Maybe it’s time for a reality check.

Winter puppies are no fun, house training in 2 feet of snow, bone chilling winds and road salt are only a few of the complications. Dingo was a winter puppy, it took 8 months before he was reliably going potty outside. We had a routine, 3am I’d be up take him outside, then back in the crate, 5 minutes later go back out. By this time he was awake, great. Play for a few hours, potty breaks every 5-10 minutes. By 5am he’d be sleeping in his crate and I’d head for bed. By 7am he’d be awake again and already have gone potty in his crate. I’d wash his bed, play with him for an hour, feed him, again we’d be outside every few minutes. In between I’d be cleaning his accidents because he’d get so cold outside wouldn’t do his business. By spring this was the norm, and it became a battle of breaking the habbit of going potty inside. Once it was warm enough to spend more than 3 minutes outside, we assumed a very strict schedule, and even then there were accidents.

Other issues such as lack of soclialization are common among winter puppies. Due to the weather, lack of day light and, in some areas, winter road conditions, people lack the motivation or the means to take a puppy out for daily socialization. The puppies only social interaction is with the people who live at the house, and occassional guests. This is great if you want a dog who’s unsure about how to interact with other dogs and people.

The point is winter puppy raising isn’t all that fun, infact there are times when you’ll feel overwhelmed, and maybe even consider rehoming or abandoning the dog. The typical christmas puppy will find itself in a shelter by spring, when the family had become tired of their floors being destroyed by urine, or when the adolescent dog begins showing signs of being under socialized and nips the kids. Once the novelty wears off, it’s the puppy who suffers.

House Guests

For the last week we’ve had four little house guests of the feline kind. Terrified and pretty feral we spent a week with them getting them use to people and dogs. Dasy adored her little friends, and tried her best not to scare them. They were about 10 weeks old and tamed pretty easily once they realized he had food for them. By the end of their stay they were trying to play with Dasy’s tail and hissing and growling had just about stopped. Dasy’s only other experience with cats was with a mean adult that never gave her a chance. On Friday the foursome went to new homes with friends, two live with a large dog. Dasy became invaluable in the lives of these kittens, and I’d say she enjoyed every second she had with her litter, even the times they just wanted to run from her.

BtC4Animals!

I decided to write on a topic that has touched many thousands of people’s lives and devastated families; BSL. There has been an outpouring of support for one particular dog named Lennox who’s been in holding at a Belfast Council Contracted Kennel in Belfast, Ireland since May 2010. Lennox is only one of thousands of dogs forcefully removed from their homes because of the way they look.

So whats wrong with BSL? BSL was implemented under the guise that pit-bull-type dogs have a higher incidence of bites and a propensity to be vicious. These myths are the foundation of a legislation bent on tearing families apart and imposing certain false beliefs on innocent people. The other problem is that many mixed breeds take on characteristics that may look a bit like the so-called pit-bull-type dog. Given the bull and terrier/bulldog past of pit fighting and baiting these beliefs are common. But for those who know the bully breeds the truth is the complete opposite. In fact American Pit Bull Terriers were never bred to be human aggressive, it was as close to being bred out of them as possible so they could be pried off their query without the human being bitten. Even in the days where fighting was legal these dogs were often called Nanny dogs or The children’s Nurse Maid due to their disposition and friendliness toward people and especially children. They are incredibly gentle dogs who would sooner lick you to death.

Many thousands of dogs are put to death every year in the name of looks. These dogs are torn from their families with no warning and euthanized without chance to remove the dog from the area of the BSL. So to honor the lives lost, Dingo and Dasy present a candle, for those on death row and those who’ve passed.

So what can you do to help stop BSL? A step in the right direction would be to write your law makers.

Here are some resources for you:

https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=0AhApKv_NwWN9dDFfaXRBNVg1bWNmYjNKaWc1M0lzT1E&hl=en&output=html

http://stopbsl.com/take-action/write-letters/

Blog the Change

Puppies! or something like them

Over the past two weeks I’ve been playing mother to a brood of coturnix quail eggs. Now they’re due to hatch!

To celebrate the occassion I’ve got a live webcam on them at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/quail-hatch-cam
http://www.ustream.tv/embed/9424033

One was internally pipped last night.With any luck they will hatch. So join the fun and excitement.. okay it’s a bit dull until they actually pip, but you can still watch.

Blogpaws Carnival Submission, Dasy’s arrival story.

Litter of beagle mix pups, can you guess which one is Dasy?

 This post is my entry into the BlogPaws Blog Carnival Contest sponsored by BISSELL Homecare, Inc.

During the spring of 2009 I began a search for a new addition to our family unit. At this point Dingo was about 4.5 years old and mature enough to help raise a pup. Due to his reactivity I felt a puppy was a better option than an adult, and spring is usually the worst season for puppy fever. Dingo had never really interacted with a puppy, at least not as an adult. My reasoning was a puppy is more likely to throw calming signals and actively try to fit in. The search began in late March, I frequented the two nearby shelters looking for the right fit. Our humane society had a little of apparent corgi/dachshund mixes that had come from a hoarding situation. The litter of 7 little black fluffy pups were put into a viewing room by the front door of the shelter. All of the pups were nearly identical to their mom. The mom and suspected dad were both at the shelter, he was a fairly laid back long, short and chubby dog with German Shepherd type markings. She looked like a long haired dachshund mixed with who knows what. During a play session I had with the puppies(welcomed whole heartedly by the staff for socialization) I was informed that other kennel staff and volunteers were already planning to adopt the pups. Although they were cute, I didn’t feel any connection with any of the pups anyway. A few weeks had gone by when I noticed a litter of beagle mixes at the other shelter. All appeared to be around 10 weeks old. No one could give me any information on the puppies and it was assumed that they all had homes waiting. I was put on waiting lists to be informed if any new puppies had arrived. I frequented the shelter websites in hopes of finding a dog who would work out in our house. A few weeks had gone by and spring break had come. My mom and I went for an outing to check the shelters again. To my surprise the litter of beagle mixes were still at the shelter. Now about 12-15 weeks old as I was told by the staff and volunteers, only 2 had homes waiting. That day only 4 puppies were at the shelter, the others were at the vet to be altered. We were allowed to play with the pups one on one in a adjacent kennel. Pup number one was a red female with one white paw, she was very forward and a little snarky. Pup number two was a little black female with a white chin and paws, she was more standoff-ish not really interested in meeting us, and she was also snarky with the other pups. Pup number three was another red female with white on her chin, throat and all four paws. She was wiggly, very eager to meet us, but also interested in the scents in the kennel. Pup four was a male, mostly white with some light brown patches. He was far more interested in the scent of Gilly, the pit who spent his nights in the kennel we were in. Knowing nothing else about them other than our initial meeting, I asked to see pup Three one more time. It was definitely sealed with a kiss, several kisses. The paperwork was filled that day and a date was set to have Dingo meet the puppy. I had nearly a week to ready the house for a puppy. Although my greatest fear was Dingo not liking the puppy.

Finally the day came, we loaded Dingo into the car, brought along the new harness and leash that I had bought for the little pup. My mom went to let the shelter staff know we had arrived and I took Dingo for a short walk. When we got back to the car I sat Dingo down and shortly after my mom, the shelter manager and another woman who works at the shelter came out with the little red pup. The pup was too interested in the scents of a world unknown to her until that very moment, and Dingo was too concerned with where my mom was to give a hoot about anything else. Although not a perfect meeting it was better than him trying to eat the little hound, or the person walking her for that matter. We were sent on our merry way with warning to keep an eye on Dingo because he might attack her. I knew my boy better than that however, if his initial reaction was like this, there would be no issues unless brought on by the pup. During the ride home Dingo became curious about the new red dog in the car who was soundly sleeping on my lap. A good sign as far as I could tell, curiosity is far better than fear. The pup who at this point was nameless almost became known as Droolia due to the drool seeping from her jowls as she dreamt puppy dreams. When we arrived home we brought the dogs in the house and allowed them too meet freely. Dingo was disinterested, and the pup was busy checking out her new home, including the noisy feathered animals.

By the time evening had arrived it was clear that although they seemed to ignore each other they actually liked each other quite a bit. At this point it was obvious the decision to bring this pup into our home was the right one. In puppy proofing the house I had also bought a large size crate with the divider so the crate can grow with the puppy. We weren’t sure as to how big the pup would get and I prefer to have a crate larger than recommended. The divider was placed so that the pup would have about 1/3 of the crates whole size to sleep in. Dingo’s crate is also a large. This didn’t stop both dogs from cramming themselves into the much smaller divided crate for a nap before dinner. Dingo very quickly took on the roll of big brother, teaching the pup how to get on my bed and the best spot to lay (on the pillow). By the end of the first day with us the pup had a name, Dasy. Her name comes from a family of marsupials native to Australia, the Dasyurids. Over the course of the following months it became more and more obvious that Dasy was a perfect fit. Today it’s common to see them curled up together sleeping, or lounging.

Dingo and Dasy in the crate

The impact of Dasy’s arrival is immesurable. She’s not only brought out the social dog in Dingo but she’s also acted as therapy dog while my mom recovered from hand surgery. Her gentle nature, and tendency to nurture makes her the perect candidate to assist in the rearing of young. Although she’s spayed, she has played mother and nanny to many different species including emu, chickens, budgerigar, and humans. You can’t have a bad day when Dasy is around. If you’re upset she’ll sit on your lap or beside you and kiss you. She spends about an hour every day prancing around the area rug in the living room while tossing a toy or a chewy around. She makes every effort to stay on her “stage” during her game.

There’s not a day that goes by that I ever regret my decision to bring this pup into our family, She’s absolutely wonderful, and her future is as bright as the sun.

Irene’s Kiss

As I’m sure everyone knows the eastern coast of the United States was pummeled over by hurricane Irene. Slamming into the Carolinas and plowing over New Jersey. Thankfully the storm lost its energy as it moved north demoting itself to tropical storm Irene. That’s not to say that Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York didn’t get hammered by the storm. But the effects of the storm weren’t as great as predicted. There was flash flooding, some torrential down pours, and gusty wind, but our once predicted 20+/_ inches of rainfall diminished to 5.8 where I live. This means the dogs don’t have to dock dive off the porch to go potty.

The dogs handled the storm in stride. Dasy refused to go potty Saturday night due to the rain. By Sunday morning she had no choice. Dingo is quick about relieving himself, he barely got wet. Aside from the annoyance of rain neither dog seemed to care about the storm. Dasy thoroughly enjoyed the puddles in the yard however; perhaps they just smelled too good.

But explorations were kept to a minimum to give the wildlife a chance to recover from the blow. Many birds were seen unable to fly much more than 3-4 feet due to being absolutely soaked. One such bird could only hop, she unfortunately ended up passing away. I also saw a number of grounded crows in yards, they just sat there fluffing their feathers to retain any sort of warmth.

Parts of our neighborhood almost washed away with the copious amount of flooding. Some roads had 2 foot deep gorges carved through them by rushing water. Some of the marshes flooded roads and a good number of trees came tumbling to the earth. Truth be told though it could have been much worse.

It’s National Dog Day!

Thats right, today August 26, 2011 is National dog day. In honor of this day I think we should all take a look at why dogs deserve a day all to themselves.

One of the main reasons people bring dogs into their lives is to stay active. Everyone knows dogs thrive on physical activity, even if it’s just a simple walk. A walking companion is just what some people need. Dogs are usually more than happy to fulfil this need(or want).

Dogs are also comedians, bringing laughter into the lives of people all around the world. Inspiring people from Charles M. Schulz to Brad Anderson to immortalize the antics of the canines who touched their lives. People have been welcoming fictional and non-foctional stories of dogs in books and film for ages. Dogs pose a safe subject in childrens stories and an endearing feature for adults. The stories of Lassie, who’se fame cannot just be credited to children, are a fine example of this. The popular Little Orphan Annie radio series featured Sandy the dog. And how about Buck from Call of The Wild. These are all classics that have outlived their time and continue to amuse, entertain and fascinate people.

Endearing, and heart warming experiences play out in reality as well. On August 19th, Petty Officer Jon Tumilson’s dog, Hawkeye, remained by his casket during the funeral service. Stories like this exist from all corners of the world. After the earthquake in Japan, a story of two dogs made headlines. One was injured, the other was his faithful companion who refused to leave his side.

So to all the constant companions, compadres and furry partners in crime, here’s to you for all that you do for and with the people in your lives. Happy National Dog Day!

Contest blog for Camp Unleashed

It’s a rare occassion when people today get to enjoy life without worry of whats for dinner, or what projects need completion on the “to do list.” Thankfully thats why we have Camp Unleashed. A camp that allows dog guardians a chance to be a dog for at least a few days. To experience what our dogs like to do, and maybe even do it with them.

Dasy is an earthy dog, her aroma is sweet and musty a combination of the dirt she rolls in and the flowers she frollics among. I do not consider her scent to be an odor, I actually like it as it is her. She, and I, enjoy many outdoor activies however opprotunity for some activities in this area are slim. It’s an oddity when there’s a seminar anywhere within an hours drive of Berkshire County. To have a place like Camp Unleashed in the Berkshires gives dog guardians and their dogs an outlet that is difficult to meet in our normal daily lives.

This past summer I’ve spent much time helping Dasy over come her water phobia. She’s now at the point where she’ll walk out to me and allow me to carry her into deeper water and release her. She’s become quite the little fish, however she will not leave the shore on her own. The only attempt she’s ever made at doing so was during Woofstock 2010 when she attempted to follow a very loud three legged GSP into the water after a stick. I say attempted because she was on a 6′ lead. I have no doubt that if surrounded by canine friends who are water savvy she would dare the impossible and paddle her way shore to shore.

Dasy at Woofstock 2010

Dasy at Woofstock 2010

Dasy has other interests besides swimming. She’s a regular Tom-Boy(she even stands very boy-like when she’s playing)  enjoying to get her hands, or any other part dirty. I could see her excelling at agility, scent games and nose work. And enjoying every minute of a nature walk. We would both benefit from off lead seminars as thats the ultimate goal. I think I might benefit more from that than her however.

Wordless Wednesday

Dingo at the beach

Dasy swimming

The Hunter

 

Two months ago Dasy alerted me to an intruder in the house, the
culprit; a lactating female mouse. Together she and I set out to capture the
free loader, although we both had different ideas on how this would end. Dasy
got her way and with a quick bite the intruder was dead. The following day her
offspring made its presence known, although it managed to avoid the jaws of
Das. I bring this up because Dasy has since developed a fetish for killing. She’s
still trustworthy with the small animals that I surround her with, but those who’ve
shown up on their own are not as welcome. Aside from mice she’s also developing
a liking of chasing rabbits (she is part beagle).

This has posed a challenge for us because, outside smells of
rodent and bird, with some bear, dog, and raccoon thrown in for good measure.
Training outside has turned into mostly jackpots when she’s willing to break
the bond of her nose to the ground. I expect I’ll be writing of this often as
it’s a fairly common issue especially among the hound group.

This has also put a damper on our (My) hopes of having her
enjoy the freedoms of the world off lead. Her nose has the potential of leading
her off to places she just shouldn’t be (we now live less than 4 miles from an
interstate, the traffic can be heard clearly at night). I expect I will be
writing more on this as well.

Anyway I suppose this means I am on my way back from the long hiatus. It’s good to be back.

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