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Blue Dog

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    Sailing, Scuba, Running, Cycling

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  1. I found this a little shocking. My vets have always pushed a strong narrative of spay and neuter as a disease deterrent. I now have two five month old puppies (one male and one female). My vet is obsessed with getting them fixed ASAP. I'm all for getting them fixed too but generally against getting them fixed too soon. How soon is too soon? I have read that, particularly in males, they should keep their equipment for at least a year. A heat in this house would be pandemonium so I would like to avoid that. My puppies' Mom's first heat was well past the one-year mark. Advice anyone? Any advice on alternatives to the cone for keeping surgical sites away from teeth?
  2. That picture was made behind my father's house on the Ross Barnett reservoir. We always take beach vacations and both dogs adore the ocean—even that freezing stuff in Northern California and Oregon. The spots on their faces persist. I'm sure it is some kind of plant sap but cannot figure out what plant it is coming from. They get a fresh batch of sticky spots after each of our morning walks 90% of which is past well-maintained suburban lawns. It's not a big deal as a warm, wet wash cloth and a little elbow grease gets it off and they don't mind being wiped down. I'm just puzzled about where it is coming from.
  3. Just a soaker hose that runs only in the garden, only for 30 minutes every other day. The pups are denied access to the yard when this is going on as Bonnie "attacks" the soaker hose when it is in operation. She is actually quite the gardener. She used to bite our hands when we tried to pull weeds. Now she pulls them for us when we ask her to. I have a little video but don't think this site will let me post it.
  4. Every day we start our day with a 2-3½ mile hike around our suburban neighborhood. For the rest of everyday, both dogs have unfettered access to our fenced back yard via dog door. Lately, by midafternoon every day both dogs have brown spots on their noses and hard spots in their black fur that feels like an overabundance of hardened hairspray. It's not really a problem as it comes of easily on a warm, wet washcloth. Nonetheless, I am curious about what they may be getting into. Any ideas? We have a backyard garden that is currently planted with ginger, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, oregano, parsley and thyme.
  5. Good points all GentleLake. With their weekly weigh-ins, it is unlikely that anyone is going to get too thin. We have decided to stick with two meals a day—King's breakfast and Pauper's supper as well as scaling back Le Bon's treats. My dogs have been a little spoiled. When we first got Blue, my wife was working and I was not. If I wasn't exercising alone, he and I were doing something together. Other than being the runt of a large litter from Welsh parents, he has had no trauma in his life until 6 week-old, 3-pound Bonnie moved in three years later. She was immediately in charge and he was traumatized for two to three months. By then, I was pretty busy and my wife was retired. While less athletically inclined than I, she lavished a ton of full-time love and attention on both of them. Scolding rolls right off both of their backs but, like your first, praise gets immediate, gratifying results.
  6. Thank you Urge to Herd. We don't use treats as training rewards. Praise seems to trump treats for that. What we do do however—and this seems perverse when I see it in print—is we use treats as a reward for eating. The big guy (who is going to eat every molecule every time anyway) gets a single, regular size Greenie or a Good n Fun "Wing" for dessert after each meal. Little Bonnie, who does not eat like a dog, gets as many as three treats for emptying her bowl. We have already agreed that this needs to come to one treat per meal. Very often Bonnie will leave some or all of her food and forgo her treat(s). I am the cook in this house. The only other human here is my wife who is also the dog chef. Bonnie gets bits and pieces of our snacks from time to time but Blue will not eat in her presence so he gets none of that. We don't snack much in general so even Bonnie is getting very little of that. Here is rough coated Bonnie from above:
  7. Thanks for your opinion. I wanted to believe he was just a muscle man but I know you are right. Not surprisingly, he loves to eat and will give you the foot if you are late with his victuals. He and his sister are currently being fed twice a day. I'm thinking of cutting that back to once for both of them. She is still thin but has cruised from 29 to 32 pounds since the beginning of this year. She is 22 months old. He cleans his bowl in an instant while she has to be persuaded to eat. What do you think? As for the weighing, I do human weight management work and am kind of a nut about that. I weigh them both every Sunday lately. If only I could get them to lay still for a DXA :). Again though, I have to agree with you ... feeling for ribs trumps weight on the scale.
  8. After reading this, I am going to have to conclude that he is overweight. He has a waist but nothing like he used to have and his ribs are only evident when a modest pressure is applied. Nothing left to do but cut back his caloric intake.
  9. My 5yo smooth coated male "matured" at what looked like a pretty healthy 45 pounds at three years of age. He is now 56 pounds which seems like he "has" to be over weight. But he does not really look or feel that way. Blue is 20" tall at the shoulders and 21" over his hips. Neck, chest and waist measure 16", 27" and 23" respectively. Skinfold on belly = 1/2" (same as mine :-). For an urban border collie, Blue gets lots of exercise. I walk him three miles six or seven mornings per week. We typically have one or two brief border collie soccer sessions every day. He and his 2 year old "sister" have at least four lengthy and highly energetic play fights every day. She weighs 32 pounds and has a figure like a wasp.
  10. So far so good. We are making a family road trip to Galveston Island in a few days. If she is anything like Blue, she will be spending some time in the ocean. The water temperature is probably around 57°F now. Blue will be up to his neck in it for brief periods. She got belly deep in the Ross Barnett reservoir a few days ago not sure how cold that was but WAY too cold for me. I have lived most of my life in Miami. I digress. A brush may come in handy in Galveston. Interestingly, unlike Blue, Bonnie does not mind a bubble bath with her "mom" at all. I discourage this as I do not believe in the frequent use of any kind of soap on a dog. They are like cast iron pans. Scrub em with fresh water and dry em off. Actually, they are a whole lot better than antique cookware :).
  11. I have to admit that my knee-jerk reaction to your prescription was "she must be kidding" but we are doing it as prescribed and it is really kind of fun. In addition to all of her favorite stuffed animals, the brush went in her crate last night. We plan to keep these little sessions up all week before we "think about starting to brush". She already seems fond of the menacing purple puppy eater :). Thanks.
  12. I guess it is a good thing she is so food focused. I was the guy with the kitchen problem too. Different dog—kind of indifferent to food rewards but we have made huge progress with him thanks to suggestions I received here. I ordered this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077JPK4G6/ for Bonnie's "training brush" today. I'll try your systematic desensitization suggestion focused on that after it arrives (expected Sunday). I also wondered, as much as she likes to be handled, if something like this https://www.amazon.com/Upgrade-Version-Pet-Grooming-Glove/dp/B01N9KSITZ might work but I have no exeperience with anything like this. I also think I would run away of somebody approached me wearing these mits :).
  13. We use a furninator practically every day on our 4YO smooth coat Blue. His coat is absolutely beautiful shiney, shiney black and brilliant white. Probably helps that he gets at least 4 hose showers per week. He loves to lay in muddy ruts when we play so the showers are a must before he comes back inside. I would say he "tolerates" both the brushing and showers. Does not like them but does not actively avoid them either. Then six week old rough coated Bonnie came into our lives near the end of November. She is an enthusiastic love pig and enjoys being petted, scratched and massaged even more than she likes to eat (which is the second great love in her life). She really does not need to be groomed at this point in her life (now 4 months old) but I wanted to get her used to daily grooming right from the get go. Nothing doing. If she detects anything like a comb or brush in your hand, she takes off like a shot. I even bought a cheap, six inch, plastic hair comb thinking it would be neither uncomfortable nor look scary. She say no way José. Advice?
  14. Things had actually gotten worse this morning. He developed a little limp yesterday (left front) and I had to carry all 45 pounds of him through the kitchen so he could take care of his morning business in the back yard. We pulled a big carpet remnant out of the attic that covered most of the kitchen floor. That, a lot of patience, and a lot of cat treats seems to have solved the problem for now. Looks like hell but he is happy. After Bonnie settles down and Blue forgets his trauma we will probably pick the kitchen carpet back up. By the time either of them get old, I'm sure we will be living elsewhere. Thank all of you for your suggestions and encouragement.
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