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Blue Dog

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Everything posted by Blue Dog

  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.
  15. Thanks for both of your suggestions. I think I am going to try the systematic desensitization / conditioning technique suggested in the youtube video Rika posted first and do the mats second if still necessary.
  16. It is definitely possible. They zip around the house like a pair of Tasmanian devils several times a day. You would think it would be the wee one that would wipe out but Bonnie has been tough, athletic and pretty fearless from day one.
  17. Blue, my four-year-old smooth coat has, all of the sudden, developed a fear of our kitchen. He is normally sensitive but also quite confident. I run him for miles off leash in the woods most mornings well before sunrise. In addition to being odd, this new behavior is a problem because the only way to get from the rest of our house to the back yard is through the kitchen. Neither my wife nor I (the only two humans in the house) have any idea what started this behavior. Our hopes that it will just disappear as suddenly as it appeared are beginning to wane with the passage of time (about two weeks at this point). He will only transit this small space if one of us do it with him and sometimes not even then. The only thing that has changed in our environment is Bonnie, a four-month-old rough coat that came to live with us at six weeks. For her, Blue was love at first sight. It took him a few weeks to adjust but they then became almost inseparable. They play fight (hard) almost continuously during their waking hours. Bonnie has no fear of the kitchen but did hate being penned in there behind a child gate while she was learning not to pee in the house. She sleeps in a crate (which she likes) but was kept in the kitchen if we both had to leave during the day and would whail like she was being drawn and quartered as we walked out the door. Bonnie LOVES the kitchen because that is where the food is. Does anyone have any ideas about what may have caused this or how to fix it? I feel terrible for normally fearless Blue.
  18. That's interesting. We are big fans of http://www.letsfindmomo.com/. Author/Photographer Andrew Knapp says his border collie likes to hide. Made me think it was a breed trait. Perhaps Momo's is conditioned behavior. Maybe Blue has been conditioned to hide as well without consious intent on my part. In any event, the rules of the game are always changing or at least it seems that way to me because Blue has never written them down. Sometimes he will pick up the ball, wait for you to get reasonably close and roll it to you. Other times, he will just pick it up and trot well ahead of you until he suspects you are not paying attention. Then he will hide the ball and make you find it. He will generally make you look for several minutes before he picks it up agan and prances off.
  19. Walks of my 3YO smooth coat usually consist of me throwing a ball with a chuckit while he scrambles ahead off leash to get the ball. We do this in a couple of different places where we can make our way around a 1-2 mile course two to three times. The really interesting thing is that, more often than not, he scrambles ahead to where he thinks the ball will end up and "hides". Hiding usually consists of peeking out from behind a bush or tree though it somethies also manifests as flatening himself to the ground like a black and white pancake. It is really quite charming and has gained him a pretty big fan club in the places where we play. My question is ... is this behavior border collie normal? Does it serve some purpose in the herding work they were bred for? BTW, that much chuckit gives me tennis elbow if I don't alternate chucking arms frequently.
  20. He is back to the appearance of 100% today. We will limit his activities to a little indoor ball this week and weekend then try gradually stepping it up next week. I'm sure he will be bouncing off the walls by then. It is really odd to me that all of this started in the middle of a relatively gentle activity and no apparent trauma.
  21. On the 23rd of May, I took my 2½ year old male for a low-speed, 7 mile hike in the Vicksburg Military Park. At about three miles he began to occasionally limp favoring his left front leg. Immediately after rest and water breaks, the limp was more pronounced but then would disappear and re-apear without any obvious cause. We inspected the paw very thoroughly but found nothing wrong with it. Pressure on the joints resulted in no obvious sign of pain. The next day, we forced complete rest and he appeared to have made a complete recovery. The day after that, we returned to a normal level of activity and the limp returned. Two days of forced rest took care of that. "Normal" activity for Blue is generally chasing a ball over a two-mile shady circuit including a dip or two in the lake. Sometimes it means Border Collie intervals which is alternating 2:00 and 4:00 quarter miles for anywhere from 3 to 9 miles total. Today, he did his two mile ball chase in the Park and was, if anything, friskier than usual. He came home and collapsed on the cold marble fireplace hearth as usual. When he got up, he had the worst limp I have seen yet and it is still there three hours later. Do I need to restrict all exercise for several days ... a week ... more? Is there something else I should be doing? Looking for?
  22. Thanks Gideon. I hope so. His doofusness is part of what makes him so charming but would be happier if he knew where his snout was. Every time we go to the park he makes 2-3 new human friends an +/- one new dog friend. Thinking about running him for President. Most charming guy in the USA.
  23. There is not a veterinary ophthalmologist within 100 miles of this fair city of half a million souls. For now, what is the difference between PRA and CEA? I don't think he has either but some sites use the terms interchangeably and others describe what sound like two very different things. http://i1375.photobucket.com/albums/ag470/fyoung1111/PA270005_zpswvikpuqr.jpg
  24. Yes. I just made that term up. My 317 day old smooth coated male has, so far, failed to grow out of this disturbing pattern of incidents. Specifically, about five times per week I observe him whacking the side his head/snout into brick walls, tree trunks, interior corners (270° type) or one of my shins. This always happens immediately after he has swiveled his head nearly 180° backwards to look at something behind him while moving forward. It is when he whips his head back into nose front position that he sometimes makes contact with inanimate objects. It’s kind of odd as his vision is seemingly as keen as a hawk’s and there is no other evidence of a dyspraxic-like general lack of coordination. So far, he has not hurt himself and never utters a cry when these things happen but I can tell you from some of the shin contact incidents that that he packs a pretty good whack. In fact, I have been known to utter a surprised yelp of my own on contact. Is this a normal BC trait? Will he grow out of it? Should I be concerned?
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