Thursday, January 31, 2013

Conformation Class

Jedi's noble pose
I got Jedi with the intention of showing him. I've read a dozen books, been to a handful of shows and thought "I can do this." WRONG! But now that it's a possibility I'm scared to death! We went to our first conformation class on Tuesday out at the Jacksonville Dog Fanciers Association grounds. The fact that Jedi decided to be a total turd doesn't help build my confidence. Fortunately, the instructor is calm and knowledgeable. She has the number one cattle dog in the U.S. so I'm comfortable in her tutelage. The only dogs at Tuesday's class were Jedi, his brother Chili, and his sister Pinky. Instructor recommended that we all sign up for the fun match in March being sponsored by The Greater Orange Park Dog Club. I said, "OK we could do that." Then she asked how old the puppies were. When we told her, Instructor's eyes lit up and said "Great! You can enter the dog show in April!" By the way, that specialty show is being organized by The German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida -- MY club. My mouth meekly said "Are you sure? Do you think we'll be ready?" Meanwhile my brain screamed "Are you high? Did you not just watch my dog act the fool? What if he does that in the ring? In front of all my friends?!"

So what's a girl to do? I contacted The Greater Orange Park Dog Club and asked when and where their fun match is being held. (No response yet.) I also looked up GSDNFL's show on InfoDog and saw that the last day to register for the shows is March 20th. Jedi and I had a talk. The decision: if he does really well with his training over the next six weeks, I'll sign us up. Realistically, we won't win any points. He's a puppy and I've never seen a pup go beyond Best Puppy, but we'll get the experience and it might help with the points for someone else. (More dogs in the show = higher points for the winner.) So if nothing else, it'll be good Karma. Right? So why am I so afraid?

OK, enough of my dog show neurosis! Take another look at Jedi. Both ears are up nearly all the time now. He's a beautiful boy -- owned by a big, fat chicken. I'll keep you posted. -- K

 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Satin Balls

Jedi eats 4 cups of Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy a day, yet he gets extremely thin and is constantly hungry when going through a growth spurt. A friend of mine recommended feeding him satin balls during those times. Of course my first question was "WHAT?" I did a search online and discovered that satin balls are homemade nutrient-laden, high calorie supplements used by both the rescue community and dog show community to safely put weight on a dog. An added bonus is that the satin balls make the dog's coat shiny. Here's the recipe that I used.

 
SATIN BALLS
  • 5 pounds ground beef, 80% lean
  • 6 cups Whole Grain Total cereal, crushed
  • 7 1/2 cups uncooked, quick-cooking oats
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, chopped with shells
  • 2 cups wheat germ
  • 5 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Mix all ingredients by hand (meat loaf style) in a huge mixing bowl. Roll into 1" balls. Place 2-3 days worth of satin balls into Ziploc freezer bags and freeze. I got approximately 230 satin balls from this recipe.


Reasoning behind these ingredients:
  • Beef adds calories and improves coat.
  • Cereal provides vitamins A, C, D, E, B6 and B12, calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.
  • Oats provide fiber.
  • Eggs provide calories and biotin. Eggs are cooked because of salmonella concerns.
  • Wheat germ provides vitamin E, folic acid, phosphorus, thiamine, zinc and magnesium.
  • Gelatin holds ingredients together and also adds collagen and nitrogen.
  • Oil helps coat.
  • Molasses provides manganese, copper, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6.

My problems:
  1. This is A LOT to mix. My giant (32 cup) Tupperware That's-A-Bowl could barely hold everything. I made a mess. (Roxy helped clean it up. What a sweetheart!)
  2. I spent hours rolling balls -- and now my back hurts.
  3. I don't know how much 2-3 day's worth of balls would be. I arbitrarily chose eight, and still used 30 Ziploc bags.
So here are my questions to you: Have you heard of satin balls? Do you use satin balls? Why/why not? What recipe do you use? Can you email it to me? How many do you feed your dog and how often? Thanks for all your help. -- K



P.S. Jedi gives the satin balls two ears up!

Friday, January 25, 2013

YIKES!

Our socialization window has closed and Jedi has entered his first fear period. Two weeks ago everybody was his friend and he'd greet them enthusiastically. Now he's wary of strangers and it takes time for him to warm up. He's not too fond of strange objects either. Apparently even plastic bags are not to be trusted. I've read that this is perfectly normal and he'll outgrow it. However, it makes me a little sad. I miss my happy-go-lucky pup. Hubby and I are staying calm and positive while encouraging Jedi to explore unfamiliar people and things. I expect to spend a lot of time saying "Check it out" over the next few months. (On a happier note: the Bonine is working and we've got the carsickness under control!)

We took the dogs to the vet last week for their annual check-ups. Jedi got his last set of shots. He's fully protected now. He weighed 38 pounds! Wow. Roxy got her shots too. And at 72 pounds she's overweight. The vet would like her to lose about 7 pounds. We've cut back on Roxy's food, adding green beans to give extra fiber and help her feel full. Hubby has promised to cut back on cookies and I vowed to walk the dogs more -- don't ask how that's going. So much for dieting with my dog, hunh? I guess Roxy and I are just a couple of old, fat bitches!

I took Jedi to the beach for the first time last weekend. He wasn't sure he liked the water sneaking up on him (see picture below). He did like all the shells though, and tried to eat every one he could find. I spent most of the time saying "What's that? Drop it. No, don't eat that." I'm glad nobody was around to hear me! Luckily, I was able to take couple of pictures in between shell recovery operations. Isn't he cute? -- K


 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What The Hell Are They Thinking?

Take a good look at this guy. His name is Randal Hart. He slit his dog's throat and dragged her into the woods to die -- right here in Northern Florida! Full story here. The good news is that the dog is OK has been adopted by the police officer who found her. But the lingering question is: What the hell was this guy thinking?!
 
As an animal control officer, I ask that question a lot. Just yesterday I had a call that made me want to shake the dog owner -- preferably by the throat -- and ask "What the hell dude?!" (I didn't. BTW, NOT choking people is a major stress in my life.) Anyway, I got a call about a dog that was "very skinny." The dog's owners even admitted that the dog was "a little thin." The dog was emaciated! I could see every bone in it's body -- ribs, spine, hips. The owners said that the dog had been that way for a month or so, and they intended to take it to the vet when the got paid (9 days later), but they didn't have any money. (Curiously, they did have an iPhone!) And both owners are 50+ pounds overweight, so there's food in that house somewhere!

I got a bunch of lame excuses, a few crocodile tears, and possession of the dog, but left feeling utterly frustrated. Had the owners called my office when the dog first got sick, I would have told them about Saint Francis Animal Hospital's Christmas Credit program. The dog could have been treated immediately while the bill was deferred for 90 days. If that had been my dog I would have done everything I could to get vet care for my dog. I'd eat beans and rice for a month and hock my iPhone if necessary. I'd collect aluminum cans and sell my plasma. Truth be told, I knew Roxy and Jedi needed their annual check-ups, tests, medications and licenses this month. I expected to spend $200 at the vet's office. I volunteered to work Christmas Eve/Christmas and New Year's Eve/New Year's so I would have the overtime to pay for it. I chose to give up time with my friends and family so I could care for my dogs.

So this opens up a whole host of introspective questions: Am I abnormal? (Well, yes, but I'm just talking about being a pet owner here.) Am I holding other people to unreasonable expectations? Is it unfair to assume people care for their animals in the same manner I do? Why do I let other people's apathy upset me so much? Why is it illegal to choke stupid people? What do you think? -- K





Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Blogger Challenge Winners (IMHO)

Last week I participated in the Pet Blogger Challenge. Over 100 bloggers added their blogs to the blog hop. Most of them were A LOT more experienced than me; all of them had something interesting to say. I hope you checked them out. Below are a few of the blogs that stood out for me. I hope you check them out. Please tell me what you think. Did you find a blog that I missed? If so, let me know!


  •  Dawg Business is dedicated to dog health issues. A lot of information has been compiled in the 3 years that the blog has been around. The posts are well organized and it's very easy to spend hours clicking around this site (trust me on this).
  • Doggie Paddling is a new blog with only a handful of posts, but it's definitely worth watching. I like the product reviews and now I really want a Bark Box. I also think that everybody should read the post on keeping an emergency dog pack in the car.
  • The Elka Almanac is eclectic and fun. It reminds me of a more polished Doberman Pinscher version of my blog. The kind of blog mine would like to be when it grows up! The Where Do Puppies Come From? post is worth reading!
  • Just Another Dog Blog is pure eye candy! The subtitle is "ONE CAMERA, 2 DOGS, AND A LOT OF FREE TIME." The pictures are absolutely beautiful!
  • The Preventive Vet is another blog about health issues written by an emergency room veterinarian.
  • Something Wagging This Way Comes is another blog I really enjoy. It's funny and fresh. Also, the author doesn't forget that her dog is a dog, not a "furry child." That bugs me!
I'm also happy to report that I received some wonderful blog tips from other bloggers. What an incredible community I stumbled into! I have the next three days off and plan on tweaking my blog in between errands and puppy class. I hope you enjoy the changes. A big "Thank You!" goes out to everybody who stopped by. -- K


    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    I Am Not The Dreaded Dog Catcher

    I am an Animal Control Officer.

    To paraphrase Charles Dickens, it is the best of jobs, it is the worst of jobs. On the plus side, I have met and worked with some of the most incredible people, I have made a difference in the lives of thousands of animals, and (most nights) I go to bed feeling like I have made a positive difference in the world. On the other hand, I have met some of the most horrendous people, I've been bitten, brought home fleas, usually smell like poop and am grossly underpaid. When in uniform I am expected to be kind and politically correct. However, here on my blog I don't have those restraints. I'm going to share some things with you that I wish I could say aloud.
    • I am not a "Dog Catcher." I do so much more than just catch dogs. I enforce ordinances, educate the public, investigate dog bites and cruelty complaints, testify in court, care for lost and homeless animals, reunite/rehome animals with families. I work closely with veterinarians, animal rescue groups, the police department, the health department, and Fish & Wildlife. In the animal control community the term "dog catcher" is derogatory and offensive. Please don't use it.
    • Animal Cops is not "real" animal control. Please do not think you know my job because you watch Animal Planet. Although the people are real, Animal Cops is a TV show composed from lots of creative editing. Most of my job is barking complaints, stray cats, neighbor disputes and dogs off leash in public. I deal with five people for every animal I handle. This makes for bad ratings. On the flip side, parts of my job are so horrifying that it would never get past the censors.
    • Please call the office if you need service. If you see me in the supermarket after work, please don't use that time to give me a 20 minute rant on how horrible your neighbor is. I do care -- really! -- but I'm tired and need to get home to feed my children. All the information you want -- ordinances, phone numbers, referral information, paperwork -- is on my desk at work. Please just take my card and call me in the morning.
    • I am not a veterinarian. Yes, I may know more than your average Joe, but I don't feel comfortable giving you medical advice. If your pet is sick, please seek veterinary care. Yes, it can be expensive. That's a drawback to being a pet owner. (I empathize, I have vet bills too.) If you'd like, I can help you find an affordable vet.
    • I am not a dog trainer either. Please consult a professional.
    • "Kill Shelters" (AKA open-admission shelters) are not evil, and neither are those who work there. I don't like killing animals. I work very hard to find homes for homeless animals. I hate that there are more strays than homes willing to take them. I'm hoping that you do too, and that's why you're vilifying me. However, if you need someone to blame, what about the owners who refuse to sterilize their pets instead of letting them breed? Or those who won't chip or tag their pets, so we can't return them? Or those who decide that their animal has become burdensome or inconvenient and dump it in a shelter, only to get a new, younger one later? Oh yea, I've got stories that'll make your blood boil!
    • I don't hate animals. Just because I'm writing you a ticket doesn't mean I'm out to get your dog. More likely, it means you were an irresponsible owner. I tell myself that you're only saying the ugly, hateful things to me because you're embarrassed.
    • I am not a cold-hearted bitch. Truth is, I'm very sensitive. I cry when you're not looking -- A LOT. My reserved demeanor is a defense mechanism. I need to compartmentalize things to keep myself sane. This means I can't join every cause that comes along and I won't write letters to save a dog on death row in another state. Sorry if that upsets you. I do the best I can where I can, and have faith that someone else will come along and do what I can't. Otherwise, I would get ulcers and lose my hair (again).
    • Which brings me to my final point: I can't do it all. It's frustrating when other animal groups pit themselves against animal control, making us out to be the bad guy. Please don't! We're all on the same team, different parts of the machine, working towards the same goal. Because of this, I am pleased to participate in

    Blog the Change

    Please visit the blogs in this hop and see what others are doing to help animals. -- K


    Monday, January 14, 2013

    DANGER! DANGER!

    We learned an interesting command in Puppy Kindergarten last week: the emergency recall. Have you heard of this? This is separate from the “come” command. Truth is, even a well-trained dog may ignore “come” if he is tired, distracted or engaged in something more interesting than his owner. An emergency recall is designed to have a dog come without hesitation in a bona fide off-leash emergency (i.e. running loose on a busy street.)

    We chose a separate, not commonly used word for the emergency recall – DANGER! – and train it in a higher pitched, almost panicky tone. I intentionally grab Jedi's collar once he reaches me. The idea is that if/when there is a real emergency, he won’t be startled by my tone or rougher than usual handling (because in a real emergency, it’s going to happen that way!) We use special, extra-yummy food as a reward and give lots of praise. The goal is to teach Jedi that when I yell “Jedi, DANGER! DANGER!” he’ll come running straight to me every time. Ideally, Jedi will come because he thinks there’s good stuff waiting for him, remaining oblivious to my panic over a potential crisis. Cool, hunh? The instructor said that she has received emails from grateful former students who had to use the emergency recall.

    Want to teach your dog an emergency recall too? I found better instructions here. May you never have to use it! -- K

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    My Carsick Canine


    We've been having problems with motion sickness. Over the past couple weeks Jedi has thrown up every time we take a car trip that lasts more than 10 minutes. It got so bad that the poor boy didn’t even want to go near the car. This is not good! I researched motion sickness in dogs online. I particularly liked one article -- in case you’re interested. The vomiting is because his inner ear isn’t fully developed and that's messing with his equilibrium. (Curiously, his brothers and sister don’t have this problem. Grrr.) The good news is that he’ll probably outgrow it -- eventually.

    I also talked to the vet about Jedi's motion sickness. The vet suggested that we give Jedi Bonine*. I had never heard of this product, so I looked it up. My research confirmed that Bonine was safe for my precious puppy, so I decided to give it a try. This is a once daily chewable tablet that he needs to take at least one hour before travelling. So much for spontaneity. I’m happy to report that the Bonine is working! We’ve taken a few car trips without puking, but Jedi’s still uneasy about getting in the car. I’m hoping that we can remove his apprehension with enough positive experiences. Unfortunately it’s a slow, frustrating process. Do you have any other suggestions? -- K


    *According to the article, Bonine is an “extra-label” drug, defined as the medical use of a drug for a purpose, or in a species, not approved “on the label” by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Many human drugs are used in animals in an extra-label manner. See, you learn something new everyday!

    Saturday, January 12, 2013

    Another Puzzle Toy


    Did you know that Toys R Us makes dog toys? Me neither! I found this one at Petsmart and brought it home for the dogs. It's a round, hollow box about the size of a dinner plate. There are four hinged covers that reveal eight cavities for hiding treats. The entire top spins so the dog can access all the cavities. There's a tension knob underneath to increase the difficulty level. There are also non-skid pads on the bottom so that the dog doesn't push it all over the floor. Surprisingly, Roxy figured it right away. She's always sticking her nose in things, so flipping the covers up was no problem. Spinning the top was more a bit challenging for her, but she was able to get all the treats.

    Jedi didn't do so well with one. He's more of a foot guy, so he spent the first few minutes pawing at puzzle. The top would spin 'round and 'round but he couldn't get to the treats. He then tried biting the cover. He'd get it open, but once he'd let go of the cover to get at the treat gravity would take over and close the puzzle. I couldn't get him to use his nose to flip it like Roxy did. Eventually Jedi got frustrated, ripped the entire top off the puzzle, and ate all the treats. Luckily the cover snapped back on, thus saving my $12 investment. 

    The verdict: Definitely more challenging than the last puzzle toy. Hopefully it'll keep Roxy and Jedi's interest for a while. However, it's a good thing dogs don't see colors well because this thing is ugly! The hideous purple and green plastic reminds me of a cheap Incredible Hulk toy. -- K

    Friday, January 11, 2013

    Fun Blogs

    I really appreciate your taking the time to read my silly blog. Below are a few sites/blogs I enjoy visiting in my spare time. I thought I'd share. I hope you enjoy them too.

    • Go Pet Friendly is written by a couple travelling the country with their dogs and a Winnebago, sharing all the pet-friendly places they find along the way. What a dream!!
    • I spend a lot of time on Dogster. The articles are often interesting, sometimes infuriating and always changing.
    • The Large Dog Blog is part of the Paw Posse site, a great place to find products for big dogs.
    • Dr. Sophia Yin has some very interesting posts about dog training and behavior. There are also videos and downloadable charts.
    • Dog Shaming makes me laugh until I cry.
    • 3 Lost Dogs is a funny, no-nonsense blog about rescued dogs and dogs with issues. It's helped me with Roxy more than once.

    I'm slowly checking out the blogs from 100 participants in the Pet Blogger Challenge. What a turnout!! I'll share anything I find interesting. How about you? Did you see anything you liked? If so, let me know! -- K

    No reason for this picture. I'm just in an odd mood,
    and Logan wearing hats always made me laugh.
    I still miss him.


    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    Pet Blogger Challenge


    Well, this is a big leap of faith for me! I am entering the 3rd Annual Pet Blogger Challenge. It's is being organized by one of my favorite blogs: Go Pet Friendly.

    Welcome any new readers (please leave a comment!) and welcome back returning readers. (Hi Mom!) This is Kelley's Dog Blog, a strange glimpse into the life of a crazy dog lady and her dogs  -- enjoy! For those who don't know me, I'm an animal control officer, an avid reader, a wife, a mother, a dog lover and an active member of the community. I try (poorly) to juggle it all.

    (LOOK! My first interview!)




    1. When did you begin your blog?
    I began blogging last summer after losing my heart dog, Logan. As I was working through the grief with my rescued dog, Roxy, I was presented with the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream -- showing an AKC German shepherd. One problem, I'm clueless!


    2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?
    I wanted to share my feelings about dogs -– mine and others. I wanted to document my efforts and share tons of adorable puppy pictures. Who doesn't like puppy pictures?!


    3. Is your current purpose the same?
    Yes. I don’t know who reads it -– if anybody. However, I find it very cathartic. Who knew I was such an exhibitionist!


    4. How often do you post?
    I post every 3 or 4 days, averaging 7-10 posts a month. It's amazing how fast they add up!


    5. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?
    I post when I have the time and something to say. I’m never positive that something is “post-worthy.” But then again, when you don’t really have an actual following, it doesn’t matter much.


    6. How much time do you spend writing your blog per week? How much time visiting other blogs? Share your tips for staying on top of it all.
    It takes a lot longer to craft a post than one would think! I can spend hours on a simple 4 paragraph post. There’s a lot of tweaking. Since this is my first blog, I chose a free, user friendly site. However, there are a lot of limitations to the layout and number of photos I can post. I can spend as much time formatting as writing.


    I LOVE visiting other blogs, though don’t have the time I’d like to visit them all regularly. I enjoy adding links to the gems I find in my blog. I'm always amazed at what other people write.


    7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)? Do you look strictly at the numbers, or do you have a way of assessing the quality of those interactions?
    I link my blog to Facebook. I get tickled every time a friend calls and says “Hey, I saw your blog . . .” Most of the comments I get are on FB as well. I don't look at numbers.


    8. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
    I’d like people other than immediate friends and family to view the blog. I’d also like to know some of the more “technical” aspects of blog layout. I'm so impressed by the look and organization of some of the more established blogs.  


    9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?
    I’m entering the world of Dog Showing. I’d like to be able to share it from a Newbie's point of view. I’d also like to discuss some of the issues that face dog owners – ordinance changes, pet-friendly venues, medical issues, etc. – here in Florida and elsewhere. As an animal control officer I often get info that others don't, and I LOVE to share what I know. I’d like to be able to start dialogs with my readers.



    This is a blog hop. Please take a look at some of the other brave souls below who were also willing to bare all. Thanks. Hope to see you again soon! -- K
     
     







    Monday, January 7, 2013

    Jedi's First Silly Trick

    I saw a video where Dr. Sophia Yin taught her dog to get into a box using just operant conditioning techniques. I wondered if I could do something similar with Jedi. I saw a cheap Tap Light knock-off at Walgreens and thought “Why not?” I’ve wasted $4 on worse things (i.e. a creepy Sponge Bob balloon.) I grabbed the Tap Light, the clicker and a hand full of dog treats then set off to see how smart my puppy is. Hubby and Son #1 thought I was crazy.

    I put the light on the floor and ignored it. In true puppy fashion, Jedi ran over and sniffed it, nosed it, licked it, chewed it and eventually stepped on it. When the light came on I clicked the clicker and gave him a treat, saying absolutely nothing. Jedi looked at me, barked at me and gave me an excellent sit, while trying to figure out how to score another treat. (Did I mention that he’s extremely food motivated?) I ignored him and he went back to the Tap Light. Soon enough he pawed at it and the light turned on. I immediately clicked and treated again, still saying nothing. Jedi grabbed the treat, gave me a funny look and went back to the Tap Light. Within five minutes he figured out that if he pawed at the light he got a treat. At one point he was stomping on it so much that I couldn’t click fast enough. To prove to Hubby and Son #1 that it wasn’t a coincidence, I moved the Tap Light 6 feet away. Jedi ran across the room, jumped on the light, and ran back to me before I could finish clicking. He's a smart puppy!

    It’s been a couple days since I introduced the Tap Light. I’m now adding a verbal command – TAP – and trying to shape his tapping from a frenzied stomp to a clean, deliberate tap. All in all, I think it was an interesting experiment, resulting in a silly, useless dog trick for Jedi and a check in the “New Year’s Resolutions” box for me. Keep logging in to see what he learns next! -- K

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

    Chaos


    There is a virus going around. Hubby and I both caught it. We've been taking turns napping and puppy watching. (Poor Hubby has been doing more watching than napping.) Jedi, however, feels just fine and has been entertaining himself. He has pulled the blanket out of his crate and taken every toy out of his basket, making a nice little mess on the floor. He has also taken a few "shopping" trips ending up with his leash, the TV remote, a paper party hat from New Year's and more dirty Kleenex tissues than I can count. I am too sick to clean it up so I took a picture instead. -- K