Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What is in a Name?

After the excess of Maggies this weekend I decided to look for that article on dog names that I tore out of the newspaper.

Most popular dog names of 2005, according to the Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.:

1 Molly
Only one for me, but this was the name of the first dog I ever babysat.

2 Maggie
More than I can count.

3 Daisy
About 4 of those

4 Lucy
Not a one.

5 Sadie
I think this is actually the most popular of my clients.

6 Ginger
One of those, but she was a no show for her reservation, so I can't count her as one of my clients.

7 Chloe
Only one.

8 Bailey
Nope, but there is one in my son's school class.

9 Sophie
Just one of those, too.

10 Zoe
Two, I think and one is here right now, but she spells it Zoey.

Someday, I am going to type all of my dog info into a database and get organized. Then I can have an official head count. But these do prove my point about dog names: once a human name is considered old fashioned, it becomes a popular dog name. Works for the boys, too. But that is another post alltogether.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

And the confusion continues....

Not only did I have 4 Yellow Labs, I also had two Maggies, one of the labs and a black poodle. The Poodle Maggie is a cross between a Miniature and a Toy. That makes her a Small Toy! I have founded a new type of poodle, THE LEGO. It is perfect. A Lego is a small toy usually found under foot. That describes Maggie perfectly.

But, I digress from my continued confusion of dogs. Another Maggie just arrived today and, of course, she is a yellow lab.

Monday, May 29, 2006

It was Yellow Lab Day at the Ranch

I had 4 Yellow Labs. As the mother of two matching Black Labs, I am used to calling the dogs by the wrong name. Heck, my mother called me by my sister's name since she left for college, that was 1974. (She still does) But yesterday must have been a record even by my standards for calling the wrong dog.

There are Maggie and Sadie, they are sisters a year apart. The owners liked the first one so much they got another puppy from the same parents. They are smarter than me who just got two puppies at the same time which is a house breaking nightmare. At least, one of mine has a white mark to tell them apart, Maggie and Sadie are virtually identical.

Then there are Molly and Winnie, one black, one yellow lab and I have never figure out what name goes with each but since they are always together it is really a problem.

And then there is Shane. Shane Thayn actually. His mother always wanted a boy named Shane, but when she married a Thayn she decided the name would only work on a dog. Shane I can spot, he is the biggest Yellow Lab I have ever seen.

It was also Ladies Weekend. They out number the boys 10 to 2.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I am anti-chain letter.

As a rule, I never forward any message that asks me to do so. I never sent out a chain letter before email, either. I don't pass on jokes and funny pictures, but I do read them to my husband and show the funny dog pictures to the kids.

But my brother forwarded this onto me and I just had to share it. So officially, I have not forwarded on a chain letter. Right?

Dog's Letter to God

Dear God: Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?

Dear God: When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it going to be the Same old story?

Dear God: Why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not ONE named for a dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around? We dogs love a nice ride! Would it be so hard to rename the 'Chrysler Eagle' the 'Chrysler Beagle'?

Dear God: If a dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad dog?

Dear God: We dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent ID's, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths. What do humans understand?

Dear God: More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.

Dear God: When we get to the P! early Gates, do we have to shake hands to get in?

Dear God: Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, will I have to apologize?

Dear God: Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must remember to be a good dog:

1. I will not eat the cats' food before they eat it or after they throw it up.

2. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I like the way they smell!

3. I will not munch on "leftovers" in the kitty litter box; although they are tasty, they are not food.

4. The diaper pail is not a cookie jar.

5. The sofa is not a face towel; neither are Mom and Dad's laps, or the oriental rugs.

6. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.

7. My head does not belong in the refrigerator.

8. I will not bite the officer's hand when he reaches in for Mom's driver's license and registration.

9. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on the toilet.

10. Sticking my nose into someone's crotch is not an acceptable way of saying 'hello.'

11. I do not need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm lying under the coffee table.

12. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house.

13. I will not throw up in the car.

14. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt across the carpet.

15. I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch when company is over.

16. The cat is not a squeaky toy; so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it's usually not a good thing.

And, finally my last question;

Dear God: When I get to Heaven, may I have my testicles back?

Thursday, May 25, 2006


I have an unfriendly lab staying with me. I would have said that was an impossibility, but there she is. She doesn’t like the other dogs. She only kinda likes me. And she doesn’t like my husband at all. And, really, all dogs love my husband.

Labs are just plain happy dogs. They are just so happy to have other dogs to play with. Happy with whatever human they have to love on.

She is an anti-labrador. She doesn’t want to play and only occasionally does she want any petting or scratching from me. But when she does she growls at any other dog that come up to me. Usually it is the other way around for a lab. Mostly, I end up steering an overly enthusiastic lab away from some other dog that has just had it with them. She is happy alone on her side of the play yard. A time-out by themselves is an excellent way to get a dog to behave around the other dogs. Play too rough and they get 10 minutes in their run, all alone. Time-outs never worked on my kids, but they are really effective with dogs. Sitting out while the other dogs play is a pretty strong motivator. This is especially true for labs, they do not like to be alone. But this dog is actually happiest by herself. She is not a bad dog in any way, just isn’t a Labrador in any way other than appearance.

I have two black labs. If you look up gregarious in the dictionary, isn’t there a picture of a Labrador in there. My labs think everyone who comes to the house came only to see them. The UPS guy cannot deliver a package without a huge dose of doggie love at this house. No one is safe from these lab’s affection.

I have a friend who is more of a cat-person. Whenever she visits, Inertia is all over her. Inertia firmly believes in the physical contact form of persuasion. If enough bodily contact is applied to a human; they will eventually love you. Inertia has complete missed the fact that this friend just keeps letting her out. I try to tell the dog, she is a dog and my friend is a cat lover. But Inertia is convinced she can win this human over to the dog side.

Though, Inertia might be onto something….this is the friend that was asking me about getting a Sheltie the other day.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The play yard never smelled so good.

My bramble rose is blooming. It is kinda lost on the dogs, they just like to chase or hide under its branches, but I love that huge bush. It only blooms for about a week, but it is so big with so many roses. It really is pretty spectacular.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I have started walking my dogs again.

Nice view, don’t ya think?

When I first got my puppies, my yard wasn’t fenced. In the 3 months before we could put in an electronic fence, I walked them 3 times a day. I lost 12 pounds that fall.

Well, I am finally feeling better and I started up again. Everything is really green and growing since we had a pretty wet winter and spring this year. This is the first time I have seen rabbits in this area. The dogs have seen them, too, and are getting a pretty good workout. But don’t worry about any bunnies being hurt. My dogs can only chase in a straight line (this is how Vector got her name). So all a bunny has to do is turn left and they are just ‘gone’ to my dogs.

Monday, May 22, 2006

How to Win Friends and Influence Dogs

These are the sure fire ways to make a dog love you, unless we are talking about a Lab, because they just love everyone on principal.

The ‘Ear Nuggy’

Unlike when your big brother grabbed your head and rubbed his knuckle into your skull, dogs really like getting an ear nuggy. You fold their ears closed and rub the inside of their ear with the outer flap of their ear. This will get you good grunty sounds and maybe even a wild rear leg thumping. Wild Rear Leg Thumping is the pinnacle of “Yes, that is the spot!” in dog communication.

The Collar Scratch

This works with most dogs, they really do like to have their whole neck scratched. But if you have a dog with a band collar, not a chain one, they just love this. Move the collar out of its permanent dent and give a good scratch all the way around their necks. You will have a friend and a job for life.

Rub the Fuzzy Butt

That is what I call it, but I actually scratch their backs at the base of the tail. I thought just Labs loved this, but it does seem to have a universal appeal whether the butt in question is tiny or big. Affection for have their tails scratch leads to some pretty funny behaviors. There are the “I really want this, but I don’t want to be rude” dogs. These guys bend themselves into a ‘U’ trying to continue to look at me while still aiming their rears at me. And then there are the “I don’t care if it is rude, I know what I want” dogs. They just back right up to me whenever I am sitting down.

Go head and try it out. Like I said “a friend and a job for life”.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Meet The Boys...

This is a set of brothers, chocolate labs about 6 months old. I am having a flashback to my 'girls' at that age. See when you have a matched set of puppies, sometimes you don't know who you are yelling at. So my two black labs became trained to come to the phrase, "Girls!"

You just have to get the right mom-voice inflection on it.

When Cola and Bear piled out of the car, I asked their owner, "So do they come to BOYS?"
"How did you know that?"
"You will have to meet my GIRLS."

This must be how grandmas feel when they see their own children in their grand kids.

I will have to dig out some old photos of my two and scan them in.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Slow Motion – Hot Dog Fight

It has gotten very hot, very fast here. Normally, we have a prolonged Spring that lets you work in the yard into June. But not this year, it feels like July already. The dogs are all molting and I have a kennel full of fur. But yesterday’s playtime was really funny due to the heat.

I am sitting in between the kennel building and a storage shed. It is the only shady place around lunch time. It is really more like a hallway than anything else. So there I am with a fluffy white poodle named Jasper on my lap watching Brewster and Tobit wrestle around. When it dawns on me that they are moving in slow motion. It’s a Hot Dog Fight. They played for about 20 minutes, never left the little space of shade, and did all of their moves at about half speed.

Of course, this would be a excellent opportunity to get a picture of a Boxer in action. But no, I forgot the camera this time.

Friday, May 19, 2006

We Have a New Record for Longest Dog

No, I think the title should be Far-est. Farther-est, Further-est. Wait none of those aren't real words.

Well Brewster, here, has traveled the long distance to get to my kennel. He is from Pennsylvania, somewhere outside Pittsburg. (I’m from PA, too. Somewhere outside Philly) The previous title holder came from Minnesota, he owners went on rafting trip down the Colorado and came back up to grab him before heading onto Idaho.

So I just had to ask, “What brings you to Price?” I found me asking this very funny, because everyone asks me that when they find out we are from Chicago. Turns out they are from here and their son goes to CEU.

Well, welcome back even if it is just for a visit.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sick as a Dog. Why do they say that, the dogs are the healthiest ones in the house.

Sorry about the lack of postings, but everone in the house has been sick lately. Except the dogs, they are just fine. Between the preschool, the grade school, and the college, we get pretty much any germ that hits Carbon County. My husband had strep, and my son had bronchitis so bad he couldn't breath, and I, as usual, got the barfies. Everyone has bounced back now, except the house it is looking a little under the weather.

All these medicines made me think of the day I tried to give cough syrup to about 9 dogs. There was so much red goop all over me and the entire kennel that it looked like a bad science fiction movie.

One morning in February of last year, I went down to the kennel and it sounded like a TB ward. After reprimanding the dogs to cut their smoking back to a pack a day - I freaked out and called the Vet. Because I am a high level worrier, I can work with little or no material, jump to a conclusion faster than anyone I know, and always land at the worst case scenario. KENNEL COUGH. That is a real dog disease, and I know it is bad because they have a shot for it. They only make shots for the really bad stuff, so this must be really bad.

Until I talked to the Vet - I love my vet, he answers all of my panicky calls and doesn't laugh at me at all. He told me that it can't be Kennel Cough because 1) I only have dogs with their shots and 2) it takes 2 weeks to come down with it not an overnight. He told me to give them all a dose of Robitussin.

I hate that stuff. My kids hate that stuff. Turns out dogs also hate that stuff. So there I am bottle in one hand, baby medicine syringe in the other. I am sure you can picture the results. By the time I got to the other end of the kennel, the bottle was empty and my hair had absolutely no chance of ever having a cough ever again.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

If they all came out, they all have to go back in.

Putting the dogs back in their kennels after a playtime is a complicated little dance. It is quite similar to the begging, cajoling, bribing and threatening that it takes to get my kids to leave a friend’s house.

There are the dogs that you just call and open the gate. But for every one of those you get, you get two of the ‘I’m not going and you can’t make me' breed. That would be when the begging, cajoling, bribing and threatening comes in. There really is an art form to the entire process and you just have to know what kind of dog you have to get it to work.

There is Tessie who has to be the last one out and the first one put back in. If you mess this up, she will whip into every kennel to grab a toy or a mouthful of food.

There is the kennel pile up. This is when too many dogs cluster around the kennel that invariably belongs to a timid dog that is now cowering behind the crowd at his door. Poor Emmy is suffering from this. She wants to be the first one to go in, but can't cut through to her door.

There are ones that will only go in if I stand inside their runs. This can be tricky for me to get out with them remaining inside. Smokey suffers from this problem, which is aggravated by the fact that he has a giant rawhide in his kennel that every other dog wants. So in his case, every dog but him will leap into his run.

There are the ones that only listen if they are on a lease. Also tricky to get the lease out and keep the dog in. Daisy was pulling this stunt for a while, but now she has the hang of our routine.

The Make Me’s are the most trying of all. There are the itty bitty dogs that no one teaches to come. Those you have to chase and grab and place in the run. Big Make Me’s are another story. You can get behind them and try to shove. You can get in front of them and try to pull. This when I usually pull out a milkbone; we are not above bribery here at the ranch.

Then there are the Last’s. The dogs that have to be the very last one in or they won’t go in. This is a huge problem when you have two Last’s. They will stay and run and play forever as you yell yourself hoarse trying to get their attentions. The foolproof way to break up this fun is to let A get in B’s kennel and vise versa. Never underestimate a dog’s conviction that the other dog has it better than him. This tends to lead to both eating the other’s dinner, but that is a risk I am willing to take to get them all put away. I have a number of Last's this week: BB, Daisy, Smoky, and Roxy. Playtime has ended up a lot longer than usual this week.

There are the Bouncer's. These are the dogs that like to bounce me off the fencing. You absolutely must let these ones out or in last, or they will nail you while you are looking at the other dog. My biggest fear is that one of the Bouncer's will nail me and the gate will squish a dog. That why we have the ‘little ones first’ rule here at the Ranch. Smokey, BB, and Daisy are all Bouncer's. They are killing me, especially since it has gotten warm and I don't have a jacket to defend myself with. I have taken to carrying the pooper scooper around with me the entire playtime. If I have a tool in my hand, they seem to leave me alone. I thought it was just that they don't want to be near the dirty things, but it works for a shovel and a rake as well. I look like that American Gothic painting, I don't go anywhere in the play yard without a shovel in my hand.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Ineany, Meany, Miney, Moe...

So how do you pick a puppy?

A friend just emailed a picture of his new puppy, a teacup poodle. I was surprised, first that he even got a dog and second, a poodle? That breed is not what I would have pictured for him. My husband informs me that this guy's dad had a poodle when they were young.

So how do you pick your dog?

Get the same one you had as a kid? By the breed's reputation or rumor? What is cute on commercials, on TV shows, or in the movies? By detailed research or 'gosh, that's a cute one' impulse?

Another friend was set on getting a miniature sheltie, and I was aghast. I really thought that breed would be too barky, too hyper, and too nippy to do well with her two girls. It seems that someone else has convinced her of the same idea. So what kind of dog? Bichon? Poodle? Or my favorite, Mutt? I say try for a Shepard/Lab cross, not too big, plenty happy, and kid friendly.

So how do you pick your dog?

I got mine with the 'gee, my husband always wanted a dog' logic. I found my two puppies when trying to retrieve a large metal bowl. I had set it out on the porch to feed the birds and a very large, very red dog took off with it. That is how I came to meet DeeDee and her litter of 7 jet black puppies. "Gee, my husband always talked about getting a dog. Are you giving the puppies away?"

That impulse was followed by the equally logical, yet completely unthought through, "Why don't we get two, they will keep each other company?"

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Drive By Wiemaraner Slobbering

"I've been slimed!!"

That would be Smokey. Smokey is just beautiful, all muscles and speed. And he is wearing out all the other dogs at an alarming rate.

He is just so fast, and everyone else is trying to keep up. After about 10 minutes, every other dog and panting and wheezing, but not Smokey - he was just getting started.

Eventually, even Smokey got all lathered up from the marathon play session. That would be when he stopped by to see me and left a drool swath up my whole arm.

Thanks for sharing.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Are we there yet?

I am facing a very long drive from Utah to Chicago this summer. Not only is the drive long, but I am taking my kids with me. (24 hours of driving) I never really did the 'pile the kids in the car and go cross country' family trips when I was a kid. And I have never done with my kids. My kids complain that the drive is too long when we go to Walmart. I suspect that this trip is going to get ugly, pretty quickly too.

The last time I drove all the way home, I was pregnant with my daughter and we took the dogs with us. That was a long drive home. I needed to stop every two hours to pee, and so did Inertia. She doesn't do well in the car. She paces; all 110 pounds of her, shedding and pacing around the inside of a car. It is not a pretty picture. I even gave her the front seat and sat in the back with Vector. Nothing helps her. She is only happy when acting like a Labrador air bag and lying against the driver's chest.

Vector, however, is a really excellent car dog. She sleeps or looks out the window. She is just happy that she is getting to go too.

Having driven my kids to 'the big city', that would be Provo. I learned that my kids match my dogs for their car trip temperament. The big sister is a wiggler, a complainer, a 'this is too long of a ride' kid, and I am sure she would walk around the car if she wasn't strapped down. The little brother is a great rider. He looks out the window and is just happy to be allowed to come along.

So we are off this June, wish us luck. I'd take the dogs, but they aren't as easily captivated by a DVD.

Oh, in case you were wondering, my four legged kids will be staying at my kennel when I am gone. See, even I trust The Yawning Dog Ranch to watch my kids.

Monday, May 01, 2006