Archive for March, 2010

What to do about dog barking

Barking dogsA question comes in on problem barking:

Q: Any suggestion as to how we can work with our dog when she is sitting in our yard, and barking at others who walk pass our house?

A: Barking is self-reinforcing. That means you don’t have to do anything for the behavior to become a habit. That is why bark collars (the citronella and static shock kind) work – they give a negative correction when the bark happens, breaking the habit. But, before deciding on one of those, I like to try to train the dog to “quiet” on command. To do so, you have find a way to encourage them to bark, and name it a command name (like “speak” or “defend”). When you say that command word, knock on the wall or do what it takes to get the dog to bark. Then, after they bark 3 or 4 times, say, “QUIET” and “Watch!” As they turn toward you, give a treat. So you begin to associate “quiet” with a treat. The other thing you can try is to tell her to “leave it” as she is barking and call her to “come“. Once she is next to you, treat her and bring her inside.

Really, most dogs will bark and that is ok – it just becomes a problem when we have no off switch or if the barking becomes excessive – as can be the case for a dog who isn’t getting enough exercise or stimulation. You have to assess the situation and see what applies to you.

Puppies are leaving, but one remains

Ruffy needs a good home
Ruffy needs a good home

So sad. Anialduln (Ani) left on Sunday of last weekend and it looks like Fluffy is soon to part us too. That leaves poor little Ruffy…I figured he’d go last. He is such a sweet heart and so mellow and easy going. He’ll make some family with kids a great companion. Please, if you know of anyone looking for a sweet puppy, let them know we’ve got him.

So, Ani left and got a clean bill of health from her new vet! Yeah. Here she is getting her “time to go home” bath.

Ruffy lounging in the sun

Ruffy lounging in the sun

Ani Bath 3


Ani Bath 2


Ani Bath 1



Rubi has surgery for obstruction

This disturbing report from Rubi‘s family (of Willow‘s litter):

Really wish I lived closer. If you ever do a get together of all of Willow’s litter mates, we will hopefully be able to do something like that. It would be neat to see how Rubi Red reacts. 🙂

A quick update on her. Lets see, how do I make this quick. 2 weeks ago, Rubi started throwing up her food which is very odd as she doesn’t throw up. It wasn’t every time she ate, but when she started to get a tiny bit lethargic, it started to get us to really think. From Wed to Fri, she threw up 3 times and I decided to take her into the vet on Saturday morning just to make sure.

Good thing I made an appointment because she threw up on Saturday morning. They took x-rays, but thought maybe she just had a poop build up. They sent me home with that prescription bland diet and gave her an anti-nausia shot. She did NOT get any better and was drooling like crazy. On sunday, she stopped drinking water and eating. There’s no messing with that and we brought her to the emergency vet. They took more x-rays and were about 80% sure that something was stuck in or around her small intestines. So, they did immediate surgery. Turns out, she had eaten a part of the blanket she lays on. It filled an entire sandwich bag. She stayed at the vet for a couple days for observation as her pancreas was a little swollen from the blanket that was jammed in there. She was slowly getting better that week, BUT on Saturday night, she stopped eating and drinking again. ugh. We brought her back to the same emergency vet on Sunday and they figured her pancreas might be a little inflamed still, so they put her back on antibiotics and gave her fluids and some anti-nausea just in case. Poor Rubi.

Her staples are out and she’s back to bouncing off the walls! I guess that wasn’t a short update, but I’ve been meaning to email you and update you on what happened with her.

Oh MY! I am SO happy that all is ok now. What a scary situation for you both. Good job acting fast and keeping on it. I’ll post this as a cautionary tale to those with puppies out there.

Much ado about nothing

Ani outsideRingworm is contagious.  Yes that is true.  And there was enough of the fungus on Fluffy‘s hair to grow a culture in the dish.  Yes, that is also true.  But does that mean the pups HAVE ringworm?  If they show no signs does that mean they have it?  If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it fall, did it really fall?  Ok, maybe that is taking it too far.  But really, as I prepare myself mentally for the yellow puppies and the smell of sulfur, I must ask myself, “why?”  If we hadn’t tested the flaky skin on Fluffy we would not think they were sick.  They don’t have any symptoms.  We haven’t caught anything, nor have our dogs.   Really, all we have is part of a story…a beginning line so to speak.  But a very compelling one to many people.  Sigh.  So, I will dip the puppies tomorrow.  I will withstand the smell and mess and unsightliness of it.  I will do it because it is the right thing to do.  Then I will bleach the heck out of the room and bathe my dogs with a anti-fungal shampoo.  Because it is the right thing to do.  But I keep thinking, if it weren’t for that opening line, I’d have a completely different story here, “The puppies are so healthy and ready to go!”  Something to think about.

New photos of Indy

Here is a note with new photos of Indy (formerly Sweet William of Chloe’s litter):

IndyHi Kristin,

Here are the latest photos of Indy. He’s grown into quite a big boy, about 85 pounds.

He’s a great dog, loves to play tug-of-war, loves stuffed animals (steals them from my kids all the time) and loves ice cubes. He comes running to the fridge every time he hears the ice dispenser. Can’t complain, he’s definitely a keeper!

Indy and piggieHere is what Indy did to an “Indestructible Pig” in 15 minutes. My daughter threw the pig in his crate, we ran to the store for about 15 minutes and returned to the gutted pig. Poor Piggy! Good thing he just likes to rip out the stuffing and not eat it. He’s been doing great outside of the crate. He sleeps on his dog bed at the foot of our bed every night and we’ve been leaving him out when we go on short trips. He hasn’t destroyed anything yet. So, hopefully we’ll be able to get rid of the crate soon.

March 9, 2010 • Tags: , , , , • Posted in: Chloe, story update • No Comments

It’s day by day for Brandy

The end of the road is nearing for Brandy. I find myself conflicted on deciding when is her time to go – if it should be my decision at all. She could die naturally, but seeing her decline is so hard for me I wonder if it is not kinder to put her down.

Brandy - Feb, 2010I bought Brandy from Animal Kingdom on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago in September 1994 when she was 6 weeks old. She was always a fairly high energy dog who loved to run and jump like most dogs but I will always remember how she seemed to love the wind. On windy days she would stop in her tracks to face the wind, sniffing, blowing her floppy Snoopy years backward. After a short time, she would bolt from that position and run around crazy – sometimes just I circles – as if to celebrate. This is a vivid but now distant memory. She is old now, arthritic, and increasingly losing the muscle needed to remain standing on all fours. Her legs will frequently slide out from under her in all directions just while she is standing or leaning over to drink some water. I’m sure she wishes we had carpeting to assist rather than our wood and tile floors.