Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Checklist for New Puppy or Dog

Before you bring home that Christmas Puppy:

Shots-Puppies need at least 4 sets of vaccinations and an adult set.  Can't afford it?  Don't bring puppy home.  Consider an older dog-who will need yearly vaccinations.

Food-dogs and puppies need high quality pet food to live a long and healthy life.

Exercise-backyard time alone is NOT exercise.  Dogs and puppies need sustained play-and they need YOU in that backyard to play with.  Don't want to go outside-don't get a dog, or consider a smaller dog who can do well indoors.

If you are going to leave the dog alone for hours in the backyard, for whatever reason, please do not get a dog.  It isn't fair to the dog.


Crate Training-I consider crate training essential to living with a dog.  There are just going to be times when you want them in a quiet place.  Waiting till then to shove them in a crate isn't going to be a happy time for you or the dog.

Leash Manners-another essential.

Car Manners-yes, essential.

Recall-you have to have a good recall-a dog that you can call to you is likely going to end up lost or dead.

All the other stuff, agility, obedience, etc, is fun and I recommend it-but if you can't do these minimal things, please reconsider owning a dog.

Do not use a dog or puppy to teach your children that life is disposable or worthless.  If you do not have time to honor the life you are contemplating bringing into YOUR life, please reconsider owning a dog.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I've been putting the dogs out to play in different groups-by age, energy level, size, etc.

Putting the pups out together first seems to work best. The go out, piddle, run off some energy without the added burden of having to behave. Then the elders come out and their energy level pretty much matches the pups and they all play nicely until they are tired.

Prissy and Cody seem to be less domineering if the pups have toned it down some. This means less discipline is needed and it's better for everyone. I really think Ollie is such a soft dog because Prissy and Dottie and Lily just bossed the living crap out of him.

Lily in particular is blossoming-if I group them by size or sex she's always with Prissy-the boys are far less domineering. She's become far more confident and outgoing, and Prissy is coincidentally less of a bully.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Random Update

I moved the crates out into the sunroom (that I'm having heated this week for winter.) I'm trying to organize my house and get all the dog stuff in one area, instead of everywhere.

The sunroom has less of a "den" feel than the bedroom, but they have their crates and I don't have to parade through the entire house which is a problem with messy paws-although, honestly, my dogs are angels about not detouring and not jumping on the furniture when muddy.

It opens to the front part of the house where they can see me more and it allows me to expand my various experiments with them. It's still a crated zone for now, although when it gets really cold I've tiled part of the floor for the little dogs who struggle with snow. I've also put down some rubber flooring stuff for a training area-more for me than the dogs. Heel work and such on concrete is tough on my old bones.

They've done really pretty well with the transition-which involved shuffling crates as well. Greta and Lily had a bit of relapse on the idea that I could walk by and there should be no barking etc, but they figured it out pretty quickly. It never ceases to amaze me that someone will have a wonderfully trained dog that they can't leave crated while they work another dog. "He just loves me too much".....uh, no, he doesn't respect your wishes enough.

Moonie was funny as heck with his crate training. He got the concept immediately, would willing enter the crate, then protest.......and protest.......and protest some more. The fearful part was over quickly, but the bratty, let me out stuff lasted a looooooooooooong time. I had to make the rule that I never entered the room and released him when he was bawling-ever ever ever, even if it meant he piddled in his crate. Even if someone ELSE piddled in their crate. Oi oi oi.

Then I generalized it to the other dogs-no crate door is opened if there is noise. Even Lily, the deaf dog, and sure enough, when I started demanding the behavior from her, she started giving it to me.

The next phase is pulling the dogs in one at a time, in the Xpen in the kitchen where the crated dogs can see THAT-and then getting all parties to relax, even if the Xpen dog prances to make sure they are noticing. My goal is to make the Xpen kind of a status place for the dogs-which will be oh so helpful for the ones who travel.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rainy Day Training

Rainy days are good for setting up an X pen in the kitchen and rotating the dogs in and out. That's really pretty much it. The idea of the exercise is
1. We don't always do every thing in a pack
2. I am the decider
3. Howl all you want, but I am going about my business
(not everyone howls)

One of my pet peeves is people's pets who will not stay quietly in a crate or a pen even if the person is 2 feet away. Seriously, don't wait till you hit the campground to work on the skill.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Riddle

What do you get when you take one part Sage:

Add one part Vibe

And mix them well? You get

Blastoff Blue Moon Doggie, bred at Blastoff Border Collies and now residing with me.
He's an amazing puppy, truly amazing. He already knows sit, down, heel (not the walking part, just calling him into position). He's going to give Oliver a run for his money in who can learn the fastest-but Oliver doesn't mind. He's grooving on having another able bodied, ready to rumble kiddo to play with.

Prissy shows off her flashy Blue and White Coat to the newcomer.

More about Blue.

Another comment.

Oliver is not a bit jealous.

Like big brother Oliver, Moon was the house child's favorite. Krystal did a great job of making a socialable, easy going little fellow. The right kid is such a plus when it comes to puppy raising.

As you can see, after losing two of our senior members this year, the crew is really excited about this new pup. And so am I.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Listening by looking

It's fascinating, at least to me, to observe my deaf dog Lily and try to figure out what visual clues she is using to tell herself to growl or bark or run. Now, if the other dogs are growling, barking or running it's pretty easy to suss out.

Tails are problematic-Greta's tail is curved. Cody has a magnificent tail, but a lot of nervous energy and ambivalence, so it's usually waving no matter what the situation. Prissy's tail is in a permanent state of asserting dominance.

Oliver's scruffy tail seems to be the one she watches for clues. His tail is the most fluent for expressing what is going on in the world of the hearing. It's also the biggest and easiest to spot after dark.

Now his ears, not so much. It's pretty hard to tell what movements are intentional and what is just flapping in the breeze-but the rest of the gang has very expressive ears.

Another interesting thing I've noticed is that the other dogs have clued in to the fact that Lily barks when she sees something she doesn't understand, which is to say she barks at a lot more things than THEY do. Anyone else's bark is usually given at least a look see by one or more of the guys. Not Lily's.

It will be interesting to see if she works out what is bark worthy and develops some street cred, or continues to vocalize. She is actually a month or so older than Oliver, but size and handicap has made her very much a follower-but not an unhappy one.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I'm going to take a break from doggy updates for awhile (but not from the dogs).