A blog about my life with dogs.......

Monday, March 25, 2013

I learned it from watching you!

Wonder sporting her horse blanket style dog coat. Captain sports his natural coat.

There is so much information out there! So much to learn! Where do we start?!
 Where do we move on to once we think we know a thing or two?
This week I learned from my own mistakes. After reading through a previous blog entry I realized that I'm really in a rut. Here I am, with a house full of dogs, telling you and myself that, this dog walks best here, and this dog walks best on leash with this dog, and this dog gets to do this. After a long winter stuck in my routines leave it to spring to help me break out.

Post hike Miles snuggles in a towel.
With out a doubt it is important for me to know that for example, Comet is easily excited by people petting him and that he is likely bark if his head is being petted in a moment of excitement so I should discourage people petting his head, or petting him at all, during moments of high arousal if I don't want him to bark. Instead of letting that keep me from ever matching him as a travel companion with Captain who hears the bark and lets out a loud howl himself, instead of that I should practice with them together of course!

snowy hike.
I finally bagged myself a planner for my year in dogs. With 5 dogs, and two cats don't forget, in the house it is absolutely necessary to keep a calendar or planner with notes of who needs vaccinations, or flea treatment as well as vet appointment dates and when I might give out a heart-worm preventative. Last year my calendar was ity bity. Small enough to stuff in the tiny corner of a treat cubby and forget about it when I didn't need it. I had to abbreviate all dogs names, and anything else that needed documented because there just wasn't room to right. This year I picked up a calendar planner with at least a paragraph of space to write in each day and I have dubbed it my "Activity Manager". Every day I document what I did with each dog. When I started this I had an idea that it might help arrange my activities to ensure that if I skipped a dogs walk one day, that same dog wouldn't get skipped again soon after. But the results of my record keeping have already gone well above my expectations. I should have known! I have recently been reading "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg. The book is full of exmples about how habits affect our lives, and can change them for the better or keep them in a rut for the worse. In one example a group of dieters was asked to keep a daily journal of all the food they ate. In the end all those that did keep the journals, they made a habit of them, lost weight. Perhaps because they were in the habit of thinking about the food they were eating. In the case of my dogs and our "Activity Manager" I have found myself not only successfully knocking out all daily walks, but I'm doing it in new places I have never gone to before. I have found myself taking note of where I have been and that I like to do new things,(huh, imagine that!). Also I have found that when I make the extra effort to go new places I have more fun, so do the dogs, and I find myself less often coming home from work and looking at the dog crew like a daunting to do list. Here is some of my daily entries ....

Friday- Captain, Miles and Comet to farm-Comet 15 ft retracto leash, Miles and Captain off leash in feild
Bugsy and Wonder short walk to park in AM
Bugsy and Wonder Long hike in natural area
Saturday-(cold, rain, slush and snow) Bugsy car ride, shopping trip to petco/petsmart obiedence in stores
All dogs 10 minute training sessions
Sunday- Captain and Miles spent the day at Raptor Clinic with me and had beef stuffed kongs mid-day -Wonder dog-walk around block in AM and walk in park PM-Comet and Bugsy had a long walk down the gravel road, saw 1 raptor and several deer
Miles off leash back and forth from mailbox
Tuesday- Wonder meaty bone to chew in her kennel during the day-Captain and Miles at raptor clinic,lots of people in and out playing with dogs today, raw bones in afternoon and short walk through campus end of day- Bugsy and Comet short walk around neighborhood
Wednesday - Miles went to office with Michael during the day-Wonder dog short walk in AM-Wonder and Captain walk in PM- Miles off leash to mailbox- Bugsy and Comet walk to park
 Thursday- Wonder dog and Jeni run a mile then short walk, Miles walk around the neighborhood, Captain Bugsy and Comet walk to park together.
Friday- Captain and Comet come to raptor clinic, have raw bones to chew in afternoon, get pets and love from janitorial staff and get a short walk around campus end of day, Wonder, Miles and Bugsy get kong puzzle toys while I am at work with C and C. Bugsy and Jeni run a mile then short walk.
Saturday-Wonder, Bugsy and Comet raw bones to chew in AM, Captain and Miles come to Coffee shop with Micheal and Jeni then a walk around post office park, Comet and Bugsy walk to park and around neighborhood, Wonder Long leash walk in the wild wood secret spot.

..........You get the idea. This is just a few of my entries, but you can see from just this that I have begun to try new things like "post office park" (which is actually a park I don't know the name of that is near the post office) and "wild wood secret spot" a place I have been wanting to go but hadn't dared, until now! You don't have to have 5 dogs to make this idea work for you. Trying new things with your dog is good for both of you! Also, having the habit in place of tracking activity of the dog crew will make me more likely to take note, literally, of concerning or positive behavior changes, diet issues or events that effect the dogs. Which reminds me I have to keep that puppy gate up to block the puppy from the basement until I can get that box of old records out of there! Miles keeps peeing on it, even though otherwise he is successfully potty trained. (Have I just doomed myself by declaring that?!?! Oh geez!)

---------diet plan----------------------
Good ole facebook (FB) popped this to my attention this week. This is a colorful and eye catching poster from Dr Peter Dobias, you can see his website address is attached to the image and I don't think I am breaking any copy right laws sharing this with you. Since I am saying to you that this is his poster, which he shared publicly on FB. Anyway,...This poster says "Carrots may cause problems with digestion in dogs" I can't get behind that statement. This poster caused a flurry of comments and speculation, friend him on FB to see for yourself. Many of the comments came from dog owners who were shocked and proclaimed to immediately stop feeding carrots to their dogs as they had been for some time. Others stated that they had fed carrots with success and wondered what the fuss was about. Here is what I know with absolute certainty - I have fed carrots raw, dehydrated and cooked. I have fed them from a can, I have fed them from my garden, I have fed them from the farmers market. I have fed them organic and "natural" and just plain regular. I have noticed that if you feed them raw in large chunks or offer as a whole carrot for a dog to chew that it will come out the other end just as it came in. In this case the carrot plays a role of filling the stomach(along with other foods!), for a doggy on a diet perhaps, also some claim this can help clean the teeth. I have read in a holistic care guide for pets that raw finely grated carrots can aide in digestion (fiber, more easily accessible) when your dog is constipated. I have used this method when I suspected digestive issues. For example when Comet was observed trying to go, but not going and licking his rear frequently I finely grated carrots and apples onto boneless meat and added sea salt and dried sage. During this time I also made sure he had at least 2 short walks a day. I then observed that Comet was able to "eliminate" and the licking problem subsided.
I might feed carrots, in one way or another once every two months, or several times a week and not, in my opinion, to the detriment of my dogs. Some of Dr Dobias ideas are worth a look into, his holistic sense makes him a far cry from the old school country vet I use, but lets be accurate.Lets eliminate scare tactics and hard and fast rules that don't fit into the working reality of a home preparing dog feeder. Later on his page Dr Dobias wrote "They are not harmful, they are just hard to digest for most dogs." Let this be a reminder to a lesson you already know, do your own research to back up claims of others. Don't throw out the carrots the instant you see a pretty poster protesting them.

Know your dog. 

Know your food.

Know your dog food.


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