Saturday, December 30, 2006

There are just not enough tennis balls on the PLANET to satisfy this group!

I actually have a dog that will bring the ball back, and we all know how rare that is. Gunner loves to play fetch and he brings the ball back and kinda rolls it at me. If I am not fast enough, and face it, I am NOT fast enough, one of the other dogs will grab the ball and keep it.

I have to have enough balls for Roxy to have one in her mouth, and BB needs one, and Cassy needs one and Sunny likes to have one , too. I bought the doggies 9 new tennis balls for Christmas and all was good for a few days.

Now it is not even New Year's and almost all of the tennis balls have been destroyed.

Gee, I guess dogs aren't that different from kids.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Packs don't have Vice Presidents

This is something that I learned from Cesar's book. I thought that packs had a pecking order from the alpha dog down to the weakness member. But it is more of a family organization then a corporate one. The is the top dog and sometimes a mated pair of dogs are the leader, but after that everyone is equal. This was a big eye opener for me.

I run into trouble with dogs that are just too aggressive in their play. I can usually solve the problem by controlling the mix - I figure out who can play nicely with who, and then I just separate the dog groups. Or if a dog is still too rough, they get a time out. This has served me pretty well and I determined long ago that time out work so much better on dogs than my kids.

I decided to try out Cesar's theories on dog behavior - if I insist that I am the top dog then all the dogs in the play yard automatically become equals. So for the past two weeks, whenever I had a mounter, or a herder, or any dog that growled while playing, I put them on a lease and walked them around, I had them sit for me, and for a couple of them I laid them down on the ground and held my hand over their necks until they relaxed.

DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME, at least that is what Cesar says...I say you might have very good luck with your dog.

I noticed that as soon as I let the dog off the lead or up, he was ready to play and at a much more acceptable level. It was freaky how well it worked. Only for some of the dogs, herders in particular, did I have to do it over and over again. Testing the limits, is what I call it when my daughter tries to see if see can get away with something - this time.

I tried with two of my problem dogs, they can't play with anyone else they are becoming a menace in general. I thought I had done some good with the first short session on the lease, but they were even more aggressive during the next playtime. I told their owner to go get some professional help training their dogs - they are a dog bite just waiting to happen.

Hey, I am not the Dog Whisperer after all, just the babysitter.

Dominance, Submission, and Discipline

Sorry folks, this is a PG blog and that only refers to your relationship with your dog. I was thinking about Cesar Milan's book again. He talks endlessly about dominance, submission, and discipline in how to treat your dog. He admits that these terms get him in trouble with modern American society. We think of all these terms in a negative connotation. We don't want to dominate our dogs we want to love them.

(We don't want to discipline our kids either, we want to be their friends.)

Well, this doesn't work well with dogs because dog are born with a innate sense of how a pack should be run. To dogs, these words are not bad, they are how the world works and works well for them.

(And you all, can tell me how that friendship thing is working with your kids. I was not surprised to hear that Cesar gets letters saying that they tried his way with great success with the dogs, so they are trying it out with the kids.)

Dogs want a pack with a strong leader. If you won't be the leader the dog feel obligated to take on the job. In his mind, someone has to do it. Now, you dog innately knows his place in a pack. Deep down he knows if he is leader-material or if he is not. So if you are abdicating your spot at the top and letting your dog take it, you may have promoted him beyond his temperament. I am sure you have worked that kind of manager. He has the job, but not the skills to handle it. You have created a boat load of stress for your poor dog.

You need to be the top dog and let your dog be just a dog in a pack. That is where he will be the most happy.

Coming up: Why there are no 'coup de etat' in the dog world, and How to be the Top Dog in your pack, Packs don't have Vice Presidents

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's all good again.

Enough of the snow has melted for Digger to find his tennis balls and all is right with the world again. Well, his world anyway. With Digger flying across the play yard over and over again, the dogs can now play together. Moe and Bear have settled their differences, with a bit of help from me, and are having a great time playing keep away from each other. As long as Bear stops darting in and taking Digger's ball, we are all good. Except for me, there is still enough snow to turn that tennis ball into a slobber-slush-ball and my gloves are starting to ice up. But that is where Roo comes in, he only wants to be loved. I give him a big rub down every time I throw that slobber-slush-ball. That way I am staying one step ahead of frostbite.

Monday, December 18, 2006

It is no fun when BB goes home...

I had a great day yesterday. We had a snow storm and the dogs had a blast playing in the snow. They were a pretty good group of dogs after they settled in. Digger just wants to play ball and he brings the ball back every time, unless BB steals it. BB was keeping Moe and Little Bear running at top speed. That kept Little Bear from attempting to herd the other dogs. I didn't understand why the other dogs seemed to hate Little Bear, but then I saw him bite Roo on the tail. That would definitely put me off.

But all was good and happy and fun to watch. I took a bunch of pictures, I'll have to post them later.

Then BB went home and everything went to hell. Moe and Roo have to be separated from Digger and Little Bear. Without BB, there is no playing only growling and tush nipping. Digger can't find any tennis balls in the deep snow so he is just lost and Daisy, a puppy, can't get the big dogs to play with her. So both sets of siblings end up standing at the gate barking at each other and no one gets any exercise, except me. I get a pretty good work out jumping up and down just trying not to freeze over.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

There is actually someone who spends more time with dogs than me!

I picked up Cesar's Way, a book by the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan.

I can't tell you how great it feels to find someone who is crazier about dogs than myself.

Cesar stresses that the best thing for our dogs is to let them be just a dog amongst other dogs. A pack existence is what our dogs were designed for and long for. Most of my dogs are a single dog in a house full of people. They haven't been with other dogs since they were puppies.

Owners often tell me that their dog is better behaved after staying at my kennel. Since I know I didn't do any training on the dog, I alway figured it was just because the dog was worn out. But after reading this book, I think Cesar might be right; getting to be just a dog, with a bunch of other dogs, and finding that there are people who think just like you, must be heaven.

I know it did me a world of good to know I am not alone either - Thank you, Cesar!

Maybe it sounded funny at the beginning...

But this dog's name is Dufus and she is far too cute to have such a name. She needs an old fashioned, girly type name like Sally or Sadie, MaryLou, or Dolly.

I feel a little silly and a bit mean when I call, "Dufus!" across the play yard.

It reminds me of a friend who married a guy with a dog named Brown Dog. She said she felt every time she called the dog, it was like she had forgotten the dog's name.

"Hey, you, the one with the fur!"
"No, the BROWN one!"

Friday, December 08, 2006


Look at those eyes, they look green to me. Isn’t he just the cutest thing? I don’t even need to write something funny about George, just post more pictures of the cutie pie.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hey, that's my ball!

This is Murphy and that is his ball. Oh, joy! He finally got it back from Roxy. I didn’t think that was going to work out, but all is well and I didn’t have to risk a forearm prying a ball out of Roxy’s mouth.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Happiness on Four Feet

This is one happy dog. Happy doesn’t really cut it for Katy…she is exuberant, joyful, giddy, nutso, bonkers…if you could bottle this dog, no one would need prozac ever again. This dog makes you happy just watching her. And she is just so darn cute on top of all that joy. I love the one flop ear.

Sorry about the lousy focus but between the subject’s speed, and the subject’s spit on the lens, I was lucky I got anything at all.

Her owner called her a Long Hair German Shepherd which is a new one on me. But that is why I record the dog shows – just to see all the weird breeds that never show up on my doorstep.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Check out the stripe on his face. It looks like he flinched when the angels were pinstriping him.

I had a heck of a time getting this photo; he flinches at the camera, too. Katy, however, shows no fear – she licked the lens, twice.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

and the award for Scaring Erica Brainless goes to....


Congratulations, Eunice, you managed to stop my heart. Eunice is just not herself this week. As you might remember Eunice does not think she is a dog and when she first came here, she didn't think she was a 'dog-person' either.

The dogs seems to grow on Eunice. Every stay she would stay out with the other dogs for longer and longer amounts of time and even started to play with them. I knew she would never be a dog, but a 'dog-person' I could settle for. When Eunice is DONE, she goes and stands by her kennel door to be let back in. She plays for awhile, but like my grandma, when she is done with the kids, she is just DONE.

Not this stay. Eunice has been playing with or ignoring the dogs kinda randomly and she has taken to being the last dog put away. This is definitely a new development and how she managed to scare me. It was bedtime and so the play yard is pitch black. I get everyone put away, but no Eunice. I call, no Eunice. I search, no Eunice. This is where my ability to jump to the worse case scenario comes in....she escaped, she's lost, she got hurt, she got kidnapped, she got killed, she got killed and eaten. It is truly amazing how far and how fast I can jump to conclusions.

Picture the chicken with it head cut off approach only with snow boots.

There she was standing perfectly still in the far corner of the yard and looking at the neighbor's house. I had to grab her collar and walk her back to her run. Very weird, but it has become the routine. Eunice doesn't come when I call and I always have to lead her back to the runs. She just doesn't want to go back to her kennel.

I think she is mad about this long stay. I bet she can't stay mad at her owner though. My dogs try to give me the cold shoulder when I have been gone too long, but their tails are alway happy to see me.