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.
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.
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.
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.
The following are questions I’ve secretly asked myself about my own dogs. I found the answers through internet research. Here I provide a short answer, and I have provided links where I found the best information should you want further knowledge.
Do dogs have boogers?
My dog has a very long snout so I figured that was the reason I never saw boogers coming out of his nose. In fact, it is rare to see dogs with anything hanging out of their nose unless they are sick. Mucus in a dog can be caused by an infection, allergies and injuries. If your dog has mucus running out of his nose you should bring him to the vet. This is not the same as little bit of watery discharge, which is normal.
Dogs go through similar sleep stages as humans. Within 20 minutes of falling asleep a dog will often start to twitch, quiver, paw-swim, and even growl. What do they dream about? They often relive the activities they experience during the day. That is, a dog will dream about chasing a ball, or barking at the mailman, or taking a walk with his pal. I assume that a working sheep dog will occasionally dream about a flock of sheep. (I don’t know if he will count them.)
I was in hospital and afterwards convalescing over several weeks. When I finally felt well enough to get down to the living-room, I noticed that when my dogs walked across the laminate floor their claws made a clicking noise, a sound that can drive me to distraction. As soon as I was feeling up to it, I got out the clippers and trimmed their claws. It’s winter and my dogs don’t get a chance to “file” their claws down on pavement or gravel or rocky surfaces so their claws were quite long.
Some vets recommend you clip a dog’s claws weekly to get him accustomed to the procedure. I find that if I have the luxury of doing it weekly, I rarely need to use the clipper, I just use a file made special for dog claws.
So when should you clip your dog’s claws? When he needs it. Check weekly and try to clip them at least monthly. Pay special attention to the dew claw which can curl back into the dog’s paw.
I always thought I’d love to have a border collie. It seems that they are more than well represented at obedience trials and show trials. However, I have spoken to a number of border collie owners and some have actually told me that they would never own another one. When I asked why, they said, “Because he outsmarts me.” And I thought, “Oh come on.”
But research proves it. If you don’t stimulate your smart dog’s brain, he will outsmart you. And that means that he will likely do so in destructive ways like collaborating with the cat to get food off the cupboard—this happened to me with a Labrador Retriever. Just check these dog shaming pictures. I think you will see that smart dogs are well represented.
I have had both and can tell you that either can be a great pet. People who get a breed dog may want to enter it in breed competitions. But there are other reasons to get a dog with a pedigree.
You should get a breed dog if you want a certain height or strength or personality. For instance, if you are looking for a dog that loves winter and might haul your child in a sleigh, you will probably be looking at a Husky or even a St. Barnard.
But keep in mind that there are never any guarantees. I like Shelties because they are not high enough to reach the table (and steal food) or strong enough to overwhelm me on a walk, but they are a hardy enough to go hiking– which happens to be my favourite pastime. However, I had one Sheltie that was such a slow walker I had to wait up for him all the time on open trails. This same dog would run through the woods when I took him hiking on trails through forests. So, much to my disappointment, I ended up leaving him at home when I went for a hike. To be fair, I also had a mutt who would take off when he was hiking and then “sneak” back. He looked exactly like a coyote so this was quite an annoying habit. Seeing a coyote-like animal coming at you at a slow, determined pace through the trees can make the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up.
All the other dogs I’ve had were perfect companions, stayed by my side, and never wandered off.
Here is a breed finder that may help you decide if you want a certain pedigree.
It is hard to imagine this little dog herding cattle, but that is exactly what he was bred to do. In reality, his shortness gives him an advantage because it allows him to avoid cow hooves. He nips at the cattle’s heels and then quickly gets out of the way with great agility.
There are two breeds, the Cardigan, which has a larger head, and the Pembroke. Cardigans have long tails while the Pembroke has a docked tail.
The dog originated in Wales. This breed has a lifespan of 12 to 14 years.
Although we more often see pictures of the tan coloured Corgi, it also comes in other colours including black and white and merle. The dog stands between 10 to 12 inches at shoulder height.
The Corgi has a nice personality. It likes children and makes a great family dog. However, it may not always be tolerant of other dogs. This little dog has lots of energy and loves to play ball, and takes well to agility and obedience training. Its short fur means he does not need special grooming like my shelties require. And this is the Queen’s dog of choice.
Okay…so it’s the perfect little dog. Not quite. It is known to be a barker and to be stubborn. It also likes to eat (who doesn’t) and may easily become obese if not checked. It can weigh up to 30 pounds. Anything more than that may mean a diet adjustment.
Maybe you thought that the title of this post should contain the word not as in “How not to spoil your dog.” But the title fits the article’s intent. I am going to give you several ways to bond with your dog.
These ideas are certainly not vet approved and no certified trainer will encourage you to follow my suggestions. But your dog will love you.
Take the dog in the car with you whenever you can. That means that you have to pay attention to the weather. Don’t take him out on hot summer days or frigid winter days. Also, you should use a harness buckled to the seat belt if you want to avoid an accident. A dog jumping around like a toad is not only distracting, it is downright dangerous. And, when you do take him out, follow canine principles. It’s best to establish that humans and only humans sit in the front seat. If you have two dogs, buckle the alpha dog in the seat behind the driver. Trust me, dogs know the pecking order in the car. If you put the alpha dog behind the passenger and the beta dog behind the driver, the alpha dog’s pride will be hurt. Now if you own a truck with no backseat…let the dog drive.
Whenever you take your dog with you, make sure he gets a treat. Never ever return to the car empty handed. Just a wee tiny bit of that donut shop muffin will not hurt his waist line, not nearly as much as the coffee latte you had will hurt yours.
On foot, there are different loving acts that can be done. Make walks a doggy experience. If you haven’t tried playing hide and seek with your dog yet, you may be depriving the dog of his chance to hone his spotting or hunting skills. Just know that some dogs find hide and seek below their dignity. I had a dog who would look in the direction of where I was hiding and give me a look that clearly said, “Honestly, do you really think I don’t know where you are?” Her brother, on the other hand, just loved the game.
All dogs should be treated as lapdogs, no matter what their size.
Do agility training as well as obedience training. Dogs enjoy agility and they love showing off their acquired skills
Play ball with your dog. Now this may seem obvious, but if you use a tennis ball which is relatively soft, you can play soccer and baseball, as well as fetch. Use a mini tennis ball for small dog. Get a floating ball and play at the lake.
Bring the dog on the bed with you. This does not have to be an every night ritual, but an occasional visit. Make him feel special once in a while.
If you live somewhere where there is winter, play snowball with your dog. Ensure the dog is not getting too cold. Remember you’re the one wearing the $150 parka.
Finally, get down on the floor with him once in a while, and get a dog’s eye view of things.
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.
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.
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.
Bring him out on a leash. This will show him that this is not fun time—no playing—this is toilet time.
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.
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.
Reward the puppy when he does his business.
Bring him out first thing when he wakes up and 20 minutes after he eats.
Play time should be done only after “the business”.
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.
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.