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

Sunday, March 17, 2013

This week in dogs...

This week in dogs....I'm awash with my love for Bugsy. I'm just gooshy for all my dogs, and have no need to pick a favorite. Likely it is because, of all the crew, Bugsy and I have been together the longest, we've gone camping, hiking, backpacking, running, tried all manner of dog classes, including herding, agility, flyball and obedience. Bugsy knows me so well, and I know him so well. I wont fool myself, or you, by saying he listens to everything I say and immediately obeys any command anywhere. He is not a robot dog.

Bugsy is laying at my feet right now. Today him and I went for a mile run together and had the kind of post run love fest that only him and I can have. Bugsy is so aussie, and by that I mean, he just adores me. Aussies are known for being "velcro dogs", they just want to be everywhere there person is. Bugsy is so rewarded by receiving affection from me, he just gushes with happy wiggles when I drum pat my belly inviting him to put his paws up on me, he does a sort of happy snort and bobs his head up and down then if he gets really excited, like if for example I am rubbing his back and petting him in an excited happy manner, soon he will begin to nip at my clothes. The nipping is the point at which we have to calm down some so he doesn't let the teeth go crazy.Because I know his limits, I know where to stop and I think he also knows.
Wonder Dog and Comet- post hike in a muddy park in Iowa City.

Today Wonder and I started a flyball class, and as I observed her reactions to new faces, and activities I reflected on how Bugsy reacted to those same things some years ago. I can recall very clearly how he reacted, HE BARKED! He barked and lunged and had to be constantly stimulated, distracted and rewarded for the smallest good behaviors because when a dog ran by him, it was extremely difficult for him to control himself. I remember feeling overwhelmed at times. Remember Bugsy is a dog who, in younger years, chewed some of my wall off, destroyed a billion toys, barked, jumped, barked and BARKED. Bugsy has matured so much, and become this amazing dog with whom I have this wonderful line of communication with. We can move through a room, a field or a hiking trail together and read each other so well. A tip of the hand, head or a click of my tongue means a stop, a turn this way, or that. I remember being supremely frustrated with this same dog in his younger years, when we had less communication established, and he had energy that seemed to overflow. So to those out there with young overflowing dogs who keep you on your toes until your wits end, take heart. It wont be long until you are looking back on those few short years, laughing and maybe even missing them.

As I mentioned Wonder Dog and I are taking a flyball class! Whoop! Whoop! I'm so darn eager to see her progress over time. I am also pleased to be working on bettering the relationship between Wonder Dog and I. Ever since Wonder took that agility class, and was handled by Michael not me, she has leaned very much in his direction. The class is being taught by members of local flyball teams Skidmarkz and Disorderly Conduct.  Wonder loved all the team members and had no trouble scheming plenty of treats from every one of them. I could tell that Wonder was, as expected, somewhat nervous during the length of the class. Another thing I am eager to see in her, besides her ability to complete the goals of the class, is an increase in confidence. First class done, we had fun. As I walked out the training building door with my dog I couldn't help but wonder if the teams are actively looking for members and if they discussed their favorite hopefuls once we had all filed out.

Meet Sprinkles

This is Sprinkles, she is just 8 months old, a Pekingese and is adoptable through Peke N Chin rescue Midwest. This young dog, cute as she is, suffers from fainting spells due to the extent to which her face is flat. Flatter and flatter faces have become more en vogue over the years and breeders have been able to create these flat faced dogs by purposely breeding the flattest faces pups of one litter to the flattest faced pups of another litter. Flat faced dog breeds are called Brachycephalic breeds. These breeds, such as the bulldog and pekingese, so often have specific breathing problems due the shortness of their faces, the health condition has been called Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome. You often see these dogs with their tongues hanging out because, like a hot dog in the summer time, they are trying to cool themselves, trying to breath and are getting that big tongue out of the way. This physical feature, the very flat face, wound not occur in dogs in nature. This is a man made feature breeders have selected to recreate and exaggerate. As you can see this young peke, Sprinkles, is similar looking to the now well known Malachy who won the Westminster Best in Show 2012.  Malachy had to be carried part way onto the carpet for the show, and after winning the show needed to spend time resting on a cold pack in order to keep cool. As you may know dogs keep cool by panting, something this Peke Malachy has trouble doing. Yet, he won the championship and now will be a coveted stud dog for life, fathering many expensive puppies. Many of those puppys, or all of them, will suffer the same physical set backs, having trouble keeping their body temperature at normal levels, and having trouble doing the most basic of necessary functions our bodies and the bodies of our dogs perform...BREATHING. When asked on The View(see interview below) about if Malachy has breathing troubles the owner replied, after having carried his dog on stage, "you have to watch them in the heat, but he has no trouble" and  David Fry host of the kennel club dog show added "he only has to get from the couch to the food dish". 
My question to them would be, what level of quality is there to a life only able to breath well enough to make it from the couch to the food dish?

Crufts banned the winning pekingese from contending in the champion ship due to physical characteristics causing health problems. Surgery is available to some dogs who need correction to there airways in order to keep them breathing more properly. The BBC documentary "Pedigree Dog Exposed" and the more recent Pedigree Dogs exposed 3 years after touch on the subject and the movies are worth watching if you would like to inform yourself of the scale to which aesthetics are pursued over physical health and well being in the show world, and the ways in which that is and is not changing over time. Sprinkles will no doubt make a wonderful addition to a special home that understands her needs. She is available for adoption through Peke N Chin Rescue Midwest. 
These two links provide viewing of Pekingese in a silent movie in 1932 and pekingese racing in 1964 and both are a hoot to view. I am so very glad that Captain, my beloved Pekingese, has no breathing troubles. Because he is a pekingese he has different needs then my other dogs, including regularly cleaning his face wrinkles with a dry clothe and monitoring him more carefully in extreme heat.
Weirdest thing I fed my dogs this week..........
Raw bison heart with sauerkraut and blueberries. 
Some of you may have noticed a growing trend on Facebook. Citizens are creating FB pages to represent states and you can post pictures of your lost dog on the page to share across your area. I am on board for this, as anything that helps lost dogs be returned home is a very good thing.

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