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.

 

 

The Queen’s Dog of Choice

Female Welsh corgi dog

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.

10 Rules for Dogs

  1. Never give up. If your owner (master, mommy/daddy) doesn’t get that you want to go out the first time you bring the leash, try and try again.  And if he (or she) still ignores you, begin dancing around like a bee providing GPS directions for the hive.  This will show him that it’s “high time” for a trip to the outside washroom.  Remember you know the right “time”.  You’re a watch dog.
  2. If another dog goes near your dish, growl (practise this with the family cat). However, if a dog urinates on your owner’s leg, pretend you didn’t see a thing.
  3.  If you have had a disagreement with a dog bigger than you, hide behind your owner when you see that dog coming. If, like Bean, you actually nipped the dog because he stood over you and pretended to be in love, hide behind your bigger brother who will be hiding behind your owner.
  4. If you actually had a fight with another dog (about your size), and nothing got settled during that dispute, insist on trying to get at that other dog every time you see him walking with his owner. Being the responsible dog owner, your owner will move off the walking trail into the brambles and thickets and will have to spend an hour getting burrs out of your fur.  The other dog owner will have insisted on bringing you and your enemy as close together as possible.  This other dog owner will smile and say “Nice evening isn’t it?” as he passes on the trail with his dog growling (uttering insults) at you. This will make you even more committed to getting at that s.o.b. the next time.
  5. When it’s bath time, head for the hills.
  6. When it’s grooming time, hide behind the Mugho pine that grew huge due to neglect. Ignore your owner when he says, “You could be more cooperative; groomers cost money you know.”  Definitely turn the other cheek if he says, “Come here you little so and so.  Who do you think buys your food?” He really doesn’t mean to lay on the guilt.  He has just lost it because he trampled his wife’s prized tea rose.  (Don’t forget to act fearful yourself when he catches it from the wife.  It’s called moral support and shows how you really are man’s best friend.  Tuck your tail between your legs and start to skulk away.  That’ll make her wonder who did what.  (It’s kind of like providing your owner with an alibi.)
  7. When it’s time to go to the veterinarian, refuse to get in the car. At all other times, insist that you’re part of the family and should not be left behind.  If they don’t get this, bark and jump in the door as they are existing the house.  If they still don’t get it, howl the whole time they’re away.  Make sure the neighbours hear.
  8. When you finally get to the off-leash dog park, get in with the most disobedient dog there. Forget all your training.  When your owner says “Come”, pretend you heard the word “Run”.
  9. When you have gas, insist on sleeping on her side of the bedroom. That’ll teach her to disallow dogs on the bed.  Rules, rules, rules.  Who needs them?  Also, never let on that pop actually takes you up on the bed when she’s away on business trips.  (It would make her feel that any warm body will do.)
  10. Oh yeh, and when she is away on those business trips, always tilt your head in that cute way so pop insists she talks to you over the phone even if all her co-workers are listening.  Do the same when he calls to say he’s at a union meeting or having a beer with the guys from work.  (This will show her that you aren’t playing favourites.)

10 REASONS TO GET A DOG

  1. You’re having trouble getting up in the morning. It takes a person about 12 weeks to turn repeated action into a habit. It takes a dog about four days, especially if there’s something in it for the dog. I took my dog for a walk two mornings in a row. Now he expects a walk every morning. I don’t always wake up to my clock, but the persistent thumping of my dog against my bed will inevitably get me up. (The only other animal I would recommend is a rooster.)
  1. You need reminding to change the batteries in your smoke alarms. The beeping noise the manufacture installed to warn you of a low battery will send your dog into painful hurling. You will have no peace until you change those batteries.
  1. You need a butler. The minute someone knocks at the door your dog will be there to greet your visitor.
  1. You want your favorite chair kept warm while you’re gone. There is nothing Fido likes better than to occupy your chair during your absence.
  1. You have a wood burning appliance and you need lots of kindling. Some dogs are absolute masters at finding every loose stick in any area, even in a field where a tree has not grown in twenty years.
  1. You need a water dowser. Any Labrador owner will tell you that if there’s water within half a mile, their dog will find it.
  1. You want to hone your baseball skills. Just accidentally drop your piece of chicken and see which one of you — you or your dog – catch it midair.
  1. You want one sided conversations. Dogs are the best listeners. Some may even tilt their head to ask questions.
  1. You need an excuse for not doing your homework. It stills a good one. My dog ate my blog.  Oops.
  1. Someone needs to watch the cat while you’re away. On the other hand, I had a dog and a cat who collaborated during my absence to get a frozen chicken out of the sink.

Traveling with Dogs.

DOG FRIENDLY HOTELS – YES? NO? MAYBE?

By the time  Mr. Bean and I came on the scene, our owners had already had enough of hotels that didn’t allow dogs, so they had bought a small trailer to pull behind their vehicle and were staying at trailer parks.

Recently, we have needed to go to bigger centers and that makes it hard to find a convenient trailer park.    Luckily, it seems there are more hotels allowing dogs.  However, many have started to charge for each dog which is okay, but now some have started to allow only one dog per room. One dog per room?  So this means you have to rent a room for each additional dog?  Plus Bean and I are used to being together and one of us has a medical condition that cannot be tended to easily in a dog boarding situation.

 

 

DOG FRIENDLY CITIES

We have noticed that some cities just seem to love dogs and others don’t. Some cities have so many rules against dogs that they make you not even want to enter the city limits with your dog.    Poop and scoop laws are quite acceptable.  It’s the banning of dogs in parks and beaches that drives us crazy.   We understand that some people are terrified of dogs, even dogs as small as Mr. Bean in size.   One city has become creative and has provided dog-free times in their parks.  This makes sense as long as they are consistent with the hours.

 

DOG FRIENDLY BIKING

Our owners love to bike but really hate to 1) be chased by dogs and  2) ride through dog poop.   They also hate to see a dog run ragged beside a bike.  To avoid doing that to us on long distance rides,  they have rigged up dog carriers to attach to their bikes.  This has led many people to comment that Mr. Bean and I are spoiled.  We beg to differ.    And I never drink so I don’t know what this sign is all about.

 

Dogs not allowed

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT TO EXPECT ON YOUR FIRST VISIT TO A BREEDER

So, you’ve decided that a breed dog is the way to go.  You’ve read all the information on the net and you’ve decided on the breed.  Now you’ve set up a date to meet the breeder who had 5 puppies for sale, but has informed you that she only has the one puppy left.  You’re desperate to get your hands on that last puppy.

Breeders are a special “pardon the pun” breed onto themselves.  You may want to get your new pet home…. or at least out to the car….but hold on…not so fast.

1.  You will likely meet your pet in the breeder’s home.   Puppies are like people.  They fare best if they come from good homes.  You should have checked out the breeder’s credentials so now you can check out the puppy’s home life.  Some of the other puppies may still be there so you may get to see how social your puppy is.  Also, the puppy’s mom will be there.  Is she healthy, jumping around her brood, fleet foot and cheerful?

2.  Ask to see both mom and dad.  The breeder expects it.  Oh,  and the breeder will likely be insulted if you don’t treat the mom like the Belle of the Ball.  “Mom” may be quite scruffy having just been through dog-birth, but you will get in the breeder’s good grace if you give “Mom” lots of compliments.  Like, “I hope Prince looks just like her when he grows up.  She’s so beautiful.” 

3.  Expect to be interrogated.  Don’t be insulted by the questions.  The breeder doesn’t think you’re an ex-con.  He (or she) is  looking for the best home for their puppy.

4.  Don’t worry about the person holding onto the puppy very tightly and glaring at you.  That’s the  Breeder’s daughter and Sparky (her name for Prince) was her favorite. (Oh she is going to cry when you leave but you’re tough —right?)

5.  Expect to sign some papers.  You will get some papers in return.  Don’t say, “But I don’t want to show the puppy, I just want a pet.”  Doesn’t matter.  The breeder is very proud of the puppy’s lineage.

6.  If a dog steals your purse—as one did when I got my puppies—you should find it amusing— you’re in for a lot more of that kind of behavior.  If you don’t find it funny, you may not be ready for puppy ownership.

 

Now it’s your turn:

1.  If the breeder doesn’t provide you with vaccination papers — think that odd, think that very odd.  Ask for them.  Leave if they don’t have them.  And when you do get them, keep them handy and bring them to your vet for all your visits.

2.  Ask the breeder what’s special about this breed.  What should you know about it?  Mentally check the information the breeder gives you against the information you’ve already checked out on your own.

3.  Now that you have the puppy in the car…(Yes, the daughter has stomped up to her bedroom crying)….and your wallet feels lighter.

4.  If you haven’t already stocked up on food and dog poop bags….better do so now.

5.  Enjoy your new puppy.

 

Oh, and expect the breeder to check back with you again and again….send pictures to provide reassurance.  In about a year …or two, the breeder will have learned to trust that you are doing right by Sparky.  I mean Prince, of course.

 

 

DOG TRAINING SITES or HELP IS ON THE WAY

 

Frank does not make his jump

I believe my way of training is the best for my  dogs or I wouldn’t use it.   I think my method works best with dogs that are “people pleasers”, dogs like the Border Collie, the Shetland Sheepdog, the Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever.

See a list of dogs here

http://www.dogbreedslist.info/easy-to-train-dog-breeds/#.VWbzZ0bCsfU

 

Some dogs were bred for a purpose (like getting rid of rats on boats) and they are not interested in doing tricks.  On the other hand,  personality plays a big part.  For instance my dog Sinatra (jumping in picture) is much more of a “people pleaser” than my other dog, Mr. Beans.   Mr. Beans seems to think that being cute should be enough.   He only recently began to show a keen interest in training.  I’ve no idea what finally clicked for him—most likely the type of treats which are now very small (for his small mouth) and soft (he has bad teeth).  (This kind of goes against the old adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks…because it is only now that Beans is in middle age that he wants to learn more than ever.)

 

THE LIST

What follows is a list of training sites.  It is not extensive.  I took my own training locally, and they hold training only periodically so I did not include their site.  The training was given by the local kennel club and if there is one in your area you could definitely start with them.   If you have a PetSmart, they also have training.  I list Cesar Millan first, only because he is the best known right now.  However, I am not promoting one method over the others (except mine of course!).

http://www.cesarsway.com/

 

The following are not in any order and I have not tried them.

 

Dog Training Basics
http://thepersonalguide.net/dogtraining/index.html#a_aid=Vorobievak&a_bid=3e5a5b05

 

 

It’s Pawsible

http://www.itspawsible.com

 

Peggy Swagger

http://www.peggyswager.com/

 

If you know a site, please submit it

 

Training your Dog – The Basics

I thought I’d share a document that I recently wrote up for distribution.  Hope some of you find it helpful.

Dog Training – Basics

If you want to download that’s great.  If you want to share it, please refer people to my website so they can get their own copy and see what else I might have to offer by then.  Much appreciated.