RETURNING FROM VACATION

Sinatra and I have had such a great summer.  We visited several lakes during day trips and then we took a vacation up to Temiskaming Shores in Ontario Canada.  We stopped in Temagami, a unique place where the old growth forest provides for beautiful vistas.

Here is a picture taken atop of the Temagami fire tower.

viewing platorm Temagami

 

Most people get to know other people by chatting about the weather. But we tend to talk with dog owners about their dogs, and we remember them by their dog’s name, such as “There’s Hunter” or “Diesel is going for a walk”.  So when a cute dog walked by our hotel we naturally took a picture of the dog and not the owner.

 

little dog in Temagami

 

 

 

WHY THESE DOGS WILL BE MY LAST

I have tried to keep this site on the light side but recently I read in the local paper that  my veterinarian just got a CAT-Scan.  I know I should be thrilled but to be honest I am concerned.   For sure this will be another expensive procedure I cannot afford.  It is certain it will be an option offered to me.   After all, the vet must recover his investment.

Recently, I heard that a dog was taken away by the SPCA because the person was not taking care of its medical problems.  These were not your run-of-the-mill medical problems:  the dog had a huge growth on its face.   I feel for the dog, but the SPCA made no effort to assist the owner with the medical expenses which would have required at the very least an operation to the dog’s face.

I could not bare to have something like that happen to me.   My dogs have lumps and my veterinarian assures me that they are “just” fat lumps.  But what if they weren’t?  What if they had to be removed?

Many people hold the opinion that if you can’t pay for your dog’s care then you should not own one.  But the cost of ownership goes up yearly.  Every new medical discovery brings with it new expenses.  It used to be that an owner who brought his dog in for neutering and vaccination was considered a responsible pet owner.  Not so anymore. Now, when your canine has “something”, the guilt trip begins.

“We need to do X-rays,” the vet tells you and quotes you a price that would pay for your child’s first semester of college.  Will that be the end of it?  No!  The X-Rays will maybe, but maybe not, provide an answer.  Blood tests will also have to be done.  And it goes on.

Veterinarians are special people.  The schooling required is incredible.  A doctor must know about people and only people.  A veterinarian most know about reptiles, birds, mammals and I don’t claim to know the all of it.    A veterinarian must deal with his patient and the patients owners.  I suppose it happens, but I have never heard of a human patient biting a doctor or nurse.  Yet the patient biting staff is not an infrequent occurrence at the veterinary hospital.

However, veterinarians may be pricing themselves out of business.  Or at least pricing themselves so that only the rich can afford to own pets.  Of course, there is insurance, but I am unsure of the regulations around these agencies.  I don’t know anyone who has had insurance.

I’m thinking that it’s high time that I reconsider pet ownership.  Just last week I paid $25 per dog to have them stay with me at a hotel.  And still I cannot claim any of their expenses on my income tax.  Dogs may be sentient beings, but they are not “part of the family”, not according to the government.

 

 

DON’T TAKE OFFENSE IF I PROTECT DOG

Recently one of my neighbors was walking her beautiful German Shepherd and another dog came out of nowhere and attacked her dog.  The attacking dog ran off and she was unable to identify the owner.  She spent a small fortunate on vet bills but to no avail.  Eventually, her dog had to be put down.

You can imagine that I am a bit nervous since I think this vicious dog is still in the neighborhood.  So, the other day  when a dog came running towards my dog,   I scooped my smaller Sheltie up into my arms.  The owner was upset with me.  She accused me of babying my dog and of being paranoid.  She didn’t give me the chance to tell her why I was so cautious and why she should not let her dog run amuck in case he should come up against the vicious dog.

I can’t understand why anyone would be upset about the fact that I pick up my small Sheltie when a bigger dog down comes running down on him.  If I had been able to I would have protected my bigger Sheltie too.

I am at a loss to explain that woman’s attitude.  I always make my dogs give way to other dogs by pulling my dogs to the side and making them sit while the other dog walks by.  This way little dogs don’t feel so threatened.

10 IDEAS FOR HOUSE TRAINING YOUR DOG

My first dog would not poop anywhere in the house than on newspaper.  Wow, I thought this is great.  Put down some newspaper and problem solved.  Then I got my second dog.  Maybe she read the paper.  That would explain her reluctance to soil any part of it.  No sirree.  Anywhere in the house but on that newspaper.

The most success I’ve had with training puppies is in the summer.  This has nothing to do with the puppy’s intelligence, and everything to do with my preference for going out in the yard in the summer instead of the winter.  So, consider the time of year when you decide to get a puppy.

What I have learned is that, although the puppy might want to please you, he won’t be able to control his bladder until he is at least four months old.  So, expect accidents even once you think the puppy has finally GOT IT.

If you have recently gotten a puppy, here are some ideas I wish I had thought of with my second dog.

  1. When we first get our cute little puppy, we are highly tolerant. After all, we want him to feel welcomed into our home.  Big mistake.  Start training as soon as you get your puppy.  If you let the puppy pee in the house, he will get the idea that you are okay with that behavior.
  2. Choose a spot in your yard where you want the puppy to eliminate and bring him there each time. I’ll admit I’ve never thought of doing this but it would save the grass for sure.
  3. Bring him out on a leash. This will show him that this is not fun time—no playing—this is toilet time.
  4. You might want to put a bell on your door hanging from a rope. Ring it each time you take the puppy out – better yet get the dog to ring the bell when you are going out.  Give the dog a treat if he rings the bell then eliminates.  If he rings the bell and doesn’t eliminate…no praising, no treat.  You don’t want him ringing that bell whenever the dog wants to take you out.
  5. Have one word for “the business”. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated, unless you want to impress your neighbors.   “Do your ca-ca” is fine.
  6. Reward the puppy when he does his business.
  7. Bring him out first thing when he wakes up and 20 minutes after he eats.
  8. Play time should be done only after “the business”.
  9. Clean up after your dog right away. This will prevent him and other dogs from eating poop.  See my article on that distasteful (pardon the pun) topic.
  10. If your dog poops in the house, take the poop and place it in his designated ca-ca spot in the yard.  (That’s another task that is way easier in the summer.)

So, how will you know when your puppy gets the urge?  If you see him doing circles or semi circles, it’s time to take him outside.

Good luck.

 

 

Poopsicles

Why does my dog eat poop?

The dog may have an illness that makes him ravenous.  Not the case with my dog—according to my vet.  So what gives?  Females will eat poop to clean the nest, but that’s not the case with my dog who is definitely a male.  I’m at a lost.  So, I’m going to take this advise and see if it works.

  • Call him to you.
  • If he comes, give him a treat.
  • If he doesn’t, let him know in a stern voice that you don’t approve.  If he is off-leashing, leash him to show him that he has lost his privilege.

REPEAT.

By the way the name for this yukky habit is Coprophagia.

Stopping your dog from anticipating.

I could have titled this – When your dog gets too smart for his own good.

 

You are training your dog and you notice that he has already moved on to the next trick. Or, you ask him to do something and he does every other trick he knows. Or, he does the last trick he finally learned no matter what command you give him.

 

  1. Cross your arms. Don’t look at dog. This will usually calm the dog down.

 

  1. If at first you thought this behavior was cute, you probably gave the dog positive reinforcement even if you didn’t realize you were doing so: a smile, a laugh, telling him/her it was cute. (I am so guilty of this. Sinatra always learns the tricks first so when Mr. Beans learned Scoot (going through my legs backwards) before Sinatra, I was so thrilled that I overdid the praise. Now he wants to Scoot all the time.) So, be mindful that you aren’t giving positive reinforcement unless the dog does the trick you want.

 

  1. Work on one or two commands only per session. Make sure the dog does only those commands. (This is boring, right? I hear you.)

 

  1. Ask for only one command at once. I am also guilty of this. Sit and Down seem to go so well together, but I can see how saying them one after the other could make the dog do them one after the other all the time. So mix it up.

 

  1. Watch your hand signals. Dogs really cue in on hand signals. I realized how close my hand signals for Scoot and Spin and Go Through were so I changed them up a bit.

 

  1. If the dog does something you don’t want, absolutely no treat. It might be cute that the dog gets your slippers, but if you didn’t ask for them, don’t treat out of guilt.

 

  1. Slow down. Here’s another one I’m guilty of. Once the dog knows a trick, I am anxious to move on. Sinatra is an especially fast learner so I have to give Mr. Beans time to catch up. This means putting Sinatra in a sit position and leaving him there to “watch”. He doesn’t like it, but I do reward him for staying put, so he does it.

 

  1. Dogs are show offs. Sinatra finally learned “You’re under arrest.” He is so impressed with himself that he wants to show off his new trick all the time. I ask him to “Go Around” and he does his new trick. He learned “Go Around” a long time ago so he doesn’t find it a challenge anymore. He’d much rather do his new trick. Again, no positive reinforcement.

 

Here’s a story that will illustrate just how much a command can get into a dog’s head. My husband and I were visiting my mother-in-law. She was buzzing around – as mothers often do when their children visit—and my husband wanted her to sit down and just enjoy our visit. So he said, “Ma, sit down.” And didn’t our dog sit down obediently.

Another example:

We used to clap whenever the dog caught the ball off the wall without having to chase it down. In other words, she was catching it right off the bounce on the wall. One summer we were traveling with her across the country and we stopped at a free outdoor Jazz Festival. Every time the audience clapped, she thought it was for her and she was looking around very perplexed. So, choose your praise signal carefully.