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Michael Parkey

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Everything posted by Michael Parkey

  1. For a fairly balanced discussion of this topic, go to Moose Nuggets. People who are concerned about health effects of early neutering usually recommend waiting until 1.5 or 2 years old so that the bone growth plates have closed. There are alternatives to castration and ovariohysterectomy: vasectomy and tubal ligation. But I've never found a vet who could do either.
  2. Agree with D'Elle, this is what we have done. Also we find that our dogs become more familiar with things-outside-the-fence (TOF) they are less likely to bark. Could you take Katie on leash outside the fence to meet some of the walkers? Once our dogs meet TOF and see us having a normal interaction, they are much less likely to bark at TOF when inside the fence.
  3. For diarrhea symptoms, try feeding some canned pumpkin. Pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. Obviously this does not address the cause but can alleviate symptoms while you figure it out.
  4. Sorry to hear it, and hope it is nothing serious!
  5. Look at this from the standpoint of risk assessment. If we list all the possible ways dogs can come to harm in order of frequency, where would playing fetch rank? Top ten? Top one hundred? Top one thousand? The risks from playing fetch are extremely low, and easy to prevent.
  6. Every problem you attribute to fetch could have multiple other causes, including stock work.
  7. How many dogs are truly obsessed with fetch? By obsessed I mean to the point of being a significant behavior problem for the owner or a health problem for the dog? In my entire life (68 years) I have seen only one. All of our concern about fetch may be a solution in search of a problem.
  8. Referring to your other thread about balls, apparently this is a much more controversial subject than I ever imagined. Some dogs love fetch, others can't be bothered. Currently we have one of each. Levi is the border collie, and he loves fetch, but only with a ball. Frisbees or other toys simply won't do--throw one of those and the game immediately becomes keep away. We play many different versions of fetch. The simplest is human throws ball, dog brings ball, repeat. But this gets old after a while. One of Levi's favorite alternates is fetch played during a long walk. The human keeps moving, either throwing the ball ahead or behind and Levi has to figure out which way to run. This evolved into field fetch, played in a meadow with tall grass. Levi follows a moving ball by sight and sound, but when it drops out of sight and hearing into the grass, the game becomes nose work. Jungle fetch is similar, but played in wooded terrain where the search is much more difficult. Levi will continue searching for as much as 15 or 20 minutes, with help from voice and gesture directions from me, if I even know where the ball is. Then there is water fetch, with either a floating or sinking ball. Fortunately there is a wonderful creek near our house with gravel beaches and deep pools for swimming after a floating ball. Sinking ball fetch is the most difficult. In good conditions (clear water, gravel bottom) Levi has to find a non-moving ball on the bottom that he can't smell just by shape and color alone. Of course Levi has lots of other games too. He loves to hike and run with me when I ride my bicycle. He "finds" objects, people, or other dogs when asked to do so: "find Buddy" (our other dog), "find blue ring", "find Bruce". He also keeps vermin out of the yard, and we are working on "put the ducks away" but that is a hard one. Levi is too enthusiastic and the ducks are pretty flaky.
  9. Thank you, D'Elle. I resent being called "mindless" by someone who has never met me or my dog, and never seen us play fetch.
  10. beachdogz, for your son's dog that destroys balls, try a lacrosse ball. They are indestructible. They fit in a Chuck-it thrower and are extremely bouncy, which our Levi loves.
  11. I was going to suggest a Jolly Ball, but we always wore shoes.
  12. I agree with Journey. Border collies are smart enough to find a work-around for so-called invisible fences. One Australian shepherd I know learned that if she stayed close enough to the fence that the warning buzzer sounded but not close enough to get a shock eventually the battery would run out and she was free! Another pair of Aussies learned that if they ran full tilt at the fence, the pain was brief but the freedom was worth it. Of course when coming home it wasn't worth the discomfort, so they stayed outside the fence.
  13. Our Australian shepherd puppy had a fear reaction to carports at about the same age. Carports are common here (we have one too) so this mostly happened on walks. We remained calm and let him get a good look at any threatening carport from what he considered a safe distance. After a few weeks it passed. Interestingly, he was not afraid of our carport when we left the house through a door under the carport. It was only when we came home from a walk and approached the house from the carport side that he didn't like it.
  14. You have great advice above. I just want to add that we really appreciate the puppy pictures.
  15. Thanks! We are suckers for puppy pictures.
  16. Truer words were never spoken! Our Levi, a BC of uncertain ancestry, is 3 years old and 20.5" at the withers and weighs 42 lbs. During late adolescence, he peaked at 45 lbs., but lost 3 pounds in his third year. We always give him as much food as he will eat, except for treats which are rationed. By all criteria in the chart above, he is a very lean, fit, and athletic dog. On our last vet visit I asked if he needed to gain weight, and the answer was "No!" Our Aussie/BC? mix Buddy is 11 years old, the same height as Levi, and weighs 60 lbs. He is a rescue and when we got him at about 14 months old, he was definitely overweight at 67 lbs. At 60 lbs. he meets all the criteria for normal weight by the chart. He is also very active for 11, regularly following me on off-road bike rides. Is Buddy fat? Under all his hair, Buddy has the blocky build of an Aussie, but still has a waist, tuck, and his ribs can easily be felt with light pressure. Levi has the build of a greyhound, with a waist, high tuck, ribs under muscle, and LONG legs. Is he too thin?
  17. She certainly doesn't sound overweight! Comparing a dog's weight to numbers in a breed description tells you almost nothing about that dog's health and fitness. Can you get a second opinion from another vet?
  18. Thanks for the info! I don't need another poultry project, so I'll stick to my ducks.
  19. I raised bobwhites once. They were unbearably flaky and nervous. Are Coturnix more calm?
  20. Nylabones are far and away our dogs' favorite toys, and they help keep teeth clean. But all dogs are individuals, and you probably need to keep trying things until you find Monte's favorite.
  21. What a terrible decision you had to make! But you made it after careful thought and advice from experts who knew Darcy best. There are some genetic and neurological behavior problems that cannot be fixed. And you needed to protect your family. Don't grieve longer than you need to. There are so many wonderful dogs who need the kind of home you can give them.
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