Monthly Archives: July 2007

Aslan’s summer ‘do

Aslan has sooo much coat, and since he prefers to spend most of his time outside, I decided to shave him for the summer. So I took the day off and took him to Great Dog today. I haven’t gotten used to his new look yet — nor has he or Pax. They’ve been growling at each other since he got home.

I have no worries that his coat won’t grow back. He is anything but hair-challenged. I wasn’t sure how he’d do at the groomer, but he was a champ. Stressed, but so sweet. I stayed for the initial rough cut, not sure how he’d react to it all, but he wasn’t a bit of a problem. The groomers said he’d been a super good boy. (Yay!)

I was glad to do this, if only so I could get a good visual assessment of his weight. He’s not fat — has a waistline — but he has a little excess skin there. He doesn’t have quite as much waist as I like to see. Pax is in the same boat, though I suppose he looks thinner because he has more spring of rib.. Both are probably at a good conformation weight, but I want to trim a few pounds off. I’d rather have them at a performance weight, not a conformation weight.

(I got a good look at Aslan’s conformation too. Ugh. He’s too straight in the rear and in the shoulder. Good thing I had no agility aspirations for this guy!)

Pax was absolutely heart-broken that I left him home today. Poor dog tried to climb through the fence as I drove away. I have no doubt that had he been successful, he’d have chased the car. I bought him a guilt gift — something called a Kong Wubba. He liked it muchly and forgave me for abandoning him.

Pax, though he’s a retriever, was never really taught to retrieve. He’ll go out and pick up anything thrown, but he’s not much on bringing it back. Since I haven’t done any dog sports with him, that was never a problem. If I want to play with him, I’ll just use two or three toys and rotate throwing them. He also has never been taught to wait to be released before chasing something that’s thrown. As soon as he sees the throwing motion, he bolts. This means, of course, that the dogs can’t take turns retrieving.

Well, today I thought I’d play around a little. I got his new toy and pulled out a toy I bought some time ago to use in an obedience class that had been kept up where he couldn’t play with it whenever he wanted. So I had two high-value retrieve items. I asked him to sit at heel — which he remembered beautifully — asked him to stay, wrapped my arm loosely around his chest to hold him if he broke, and then tossed a toy.

Needless to say, he tried very hard to chase that toy. I held him and asked him to sit. As soon as he sat, I released him to get the toy. I switched toys to get him to repeat the exercise — and on the very next rep, he had only a slight bobble on the throw. He tried bolting again on the third throw, and then was better on the fourth. So he’ll need practice, but he’s catching onto the idea darn quick!

I want to teach him this, because I want to be able to throw retrieves for the new puppy without having to put Pax away. I want them to be able to take turns. Teaching him to be steady on the throw is the first step. “Honoring” another dog’s retrieve is quite a ways down the road. But this was an auspicious start.

Aslan is exhausted and should sleep well tonight. I can only pray Pax does the same. He was restless last night, and he was up and down and up and down and up and down from 3AM on. I got very little sleep after that. He was being whiny and barky and needy — kept coming up and needing to lick my face. I thought maybe there was something outside, but the horses were out where I could see them from my bedroom and they were stretched out flat, snoring away. Considering the restlessness of the dogs right next to them, if there was anything to be concerned about, they’d have been up, ready to run.

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Leslie is going to visit again

Kyra called me yesterday. She and Monica want Leslie to come up and work with their horses, and she wanted me to call and negotiate times and costs with Leslie. I love this because it means I get to see her, but I don’t have to empty my own coffers to do so. 🙂

Leslie is going to come up next Friday night, and then work with them on Saturday and Sunday. I’ll be around for part of it. I’ve got plans with my girlfriends next Saturday afternoon and evening though.

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that Monica is living at Kalisa’s house or that Monica got a mini-horse. Well, they’ve moved the mini to Kalisa’s. They’ve created a pen off the basement, and she can come inside and visit with the family. Last night they were clicking her for going up and down stairs so she can visit the rest of the house.

I, of course, think this is wonderful, because I’ve been wanting a mini-horse as a house pet for a couple of years. Jay thinks it’s horrible because he doesn’t want a horse as a house pet, and now he’s faced with a friend of mine who can say, “It’s great!”

I just can’t stop laughing though, as I think about Kalisa’s poor husband. He didn’t want to get into horses in the first place, and now he’s got one living in his house!

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The pros and CONS of spaying and neutering

I am not a big fan of spaying and neutering, for several reasons, not the least of which is I think it’s foolish to cut off hormone-producing bodyparts without good reason. (If I have a reason, I’m all for it — just not across the board.)

Vets have a tendency to push spay’neuter to everyone. They quote the statistics that spay/neuter has health benefits — decreases in testicular and mammary cancer — and, of course, it prevents unplanned litters. They don’t, however, spend much time talking about the health problems that spayed’neutered animals are at an increased risk for, and that bugs me. It’s just not right to give part of the story.

That’s PROPOGANDA, folks, not medical advice. (Problem is, I’d be willing to bet a lot of vets don’t KNOW the downsides to spaying and neutering because those aren’t well publicized.)

Anyway, here’s an awesome article that reviews the data from 50+ veterinary studies and comes up with an excellent discussion of the pros and cons of spaying and neutering:

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Rabbits, rabbits everywhere

Or so Pax thinks.

Pax loves rabbits. More than loves. When he sees a rabbit, he goes all trembly and begins going “Oooooooooo.” Problem is, he usually spots them through our basement window, which is level with the ground outside and level with the landing of the stairs (where he lies most of the day) inside. And when he sees one of these rabbits, instead of running out the dog door, he stands on the back of my chair, oooooing out the window, until I open said window, so he can climb through.

The further problem is that for the past two days, he has been convinced there’s a rabbit out there that isn’t a rabbit. It’s a rock — on the other side of the fence. So today I let him out the gate, and we went together to examine that dastardly rock. He was unimpressed, and was certain I had hidden his bunny, so he ran manically around and searched for it.

Poor dog was terribly disappointed. He’ll be further disappointed when he looks out the window again, because I tossed that rock in the bushes.

In other news, Jay e-mailed Pax’s breeder and told her he wants a boy puppy, not a girl puppy. Now, since I do 99% of the puppy raising around here, I don’t really think he gets a vote, but I’ll concede that if there are two pups in the litter, and the boy is more suited to us than the girl, then we should get the girl. But if the girl is more suited for us OR if they are equally suited, I want the girl. After all, I’ve already named her.

Of course, I’ve named the boy too — Shaden Zane. (It’s an inside joke… But I really will name the boy puppy that.)

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Rowan’s second hoof trim

Today was Rowan’s second hoof trim — her first by Christina, my regular barefoot trimmer. It was, as Christina said, a non-event. I don’t know if it’s a testament to clicker training or to her incredible base personality, but depsite the lack of training I’ve done with her, she’s gentle and calm and willing. I’m absolutely besotted with her.

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