10 THINGS I LEARNED FROM MY DOG

10 THINGS I LEARNED FROM MY DOG

  1. Enjoy little things like going for a walk.take a walk
  2. Always stand by those that are important to you.
  3. There are times to just sit and listen.
  4. It’s okay to ask for a hug.
  5. Always be happy to see the one you love.
  6. Snuggle every chance you get.
  7. Run with the wind.
  8. Be happy with who you are.
  9. Be perceptive of other’s emotions.
  10. Relax in front of the fire.german shorthaired pointerMy Big Bro

MUMS CAN BE FUNNY

MUMS CAN BE FUNNY




GSP sleeping
Mum didn’t come home last night.  I slept in our bed all alone.  My human sister stayed home to let me out and feed me but she doesn’t sleep with me.  She sleeps with my feline brother.  Since he likes to play “Scratch my eyes out” I don’t like to go into their room.  When mommy isn’t home at night there are lots of weird noises that wake me up all night.  Today, I got so excited when I her mum’s car pull up on the feline brotherdriveway.  I know she doesn’t like me jumping on her but I just couldn’t help it.  I just wanted to touch her and tell her how much I missed her.  She bent down to give me a kiss at the same time I jumped up to give her a kiss.  BAM!  I don’t know why mum got upset.  Her nose couldn’t have hurt that much, after all, my head felt fine.  I ran out to help her unload the car when suddenly I caught the sweetest scent.  Wow, that must be what mum calls flowers.  She loves flowers.  I started to roll around in the scent so mum would want to Simba happycuddle with me and never let me go.  I rolled and rolled and rolled.  Back in the house mum asked, “What’s that smell?”  Then she did this funny thing picking up her feet one at a time real high to look at her shoes.  Why is she doing this?  The shoes were not new.  She wears them all the time.  Did she forget what they look like?  Mums can be funny sometimes.  Then she bent down towards me.  Here comes the hug and cuddling!  What?  What’s wrong?  Why isn’t she cuddling me?  She didn’t look happy either.  She took me outside and got me all wet with the water snake.  No!  It’s going to take the flower smell off!  Mum scratched and tickled me while holding the water snake over me.  I can’t understand why she kept repeating the word poop.  I didn’t have to poop right then.  But she would say it again and again.  I really didn’t have to poop.  I wonder why she thought I had to poop.  Yup, mums can be funny.

 

SQUIRRELS!

SQUIRRELS!

squirrels

Mom put a squirrel in a knot-hole of our dining room ceiling.

Those furry little jumping beans out in the yard are not friendly at all.  Mommy calls them squirrels.  They love to tease me when I’m locked in the house.  I lay on our bed watching out of the big windows facing the backyard.  I know they see me watching as they bounce, prance, climb, and jump all through my backyard.  Thwatching squirrelsey go up and down our big tree and then they play these cool chase games where they chase each other’s tails around the tree.  I want to play too!  My squirrelneck gets sore from whipping it back and forth up and down trying to keep up with them.  In the morning, mommy just takes so long to get ready.  I whimper and pace around in circles trying to make her hurry.  “Hurry, hurry I want Continue reading

A TREE GROWING IN OUR CAR

A Tree Growing In Our Car

Mommy was busy pulling plants out of the front yard.  I don’t understand her sometimes.  She brings home plants and digs them into the yard but then she spends all this time pulling plants out of the yard.  Does she want plants or not?  She calls them weeds.  They grow so nice and strong and they grow everywhere!  You would think she would be happy to have so many plants because then she doesn’t need to dig new ones into the dirt.  It must be a human thing.  Suddenly I look over at our car and… A TREE IS GROWING IN MY SEAT!  I can’t believe my eyes.  I slowly approach the open window spying for Tree In My Seatmovement.  No movement.  I cautiously raise myself up so I can see inside.  Yup it’s a tree growing in the car.  I try to alert mommy but she thinks I want to go for a ride.  “Not now.” she says as she continues to pull out plants.  She must not know about the tree growing in our car.  I needTree Still There her to look up!  I stay on guard at the car window making sure the tree doesn’t take the car for a ride and I keep wincing.  “Maybe later, I need to finish this up” she calls out without looking up.  I guarded the car standing on my hind legs for A Tree!what seemed like forever in doggie years (15 minutes in human time).  Then mommy Treefinally looked up wondering why I was being so stubborn and she started to laugh.  She said I was being silly as she walked over she didn’t seem alarmed to see a big tree growing in the car.  She opened the car door,Car Ride pulled it out and reassured me that it everything was okay.  I guess it must have been another weed.  Later that afternoon we finally went for a ride and my seat was weed free.  Thanks mom.

 

 

 

 

GROCERY DAY!

GROCERY DAY!

Today is my favorite day of the week, groceries day!  I don’t understand why mom doesn’t get excited about groceries.  She leaves the house as if she has to go shovel cow manure.  I would not mind going to the grocery store every single day.  It’s just so exciting, there’s always a surprise hidden in one of the bags.  I can’t control my enthusiasm.  I jump up and down and run circles around her trying to see the surprise inside the bags.  I race her to the car as she goes back for more bags.  I like to help her bring the grocery bags by sticking my head inside the bag and guide her to the front door.  Oh boy, I smell a treat surprise!  I can’t quite locate it.  Where is it? Is it in this bag?  Or this one?  Why is mom not helping?  What?  She’s making a cup of coffee!  Not now!  We need to get the perishables in the fridge!  Maybe if I offer my ball and sit looking so cute she’ll help.  Yup, that did it.  This week’s surprise; sweet-potato jerky, yummy!

 

DO DOGS EXPERIENCE MENOPAUSE

DO DOGS EXPERIENCE MENOPAUSE

Bloggers have gone back and forth on the issue of do dogs experience menopause. According to veterinarians dogs cannot go through menopause because they don’t menstruate the same way as humans do. I found many posts of dog owner disagreeing with the professionals, for example these are from http://community.dog.com.
• Since dogs don’t menstruate, they can’t have PMS. However, they do go through an estrus cycle, and their hormones change, which is what causes PMS symptoms in people, so I see no reason why it can’t effect dogs. Morgan had horrible heat cycles – she would get diarrhea, vomiting, mood swings, hot and cold flashes ~ she would shiver one minute, and be panting the next ~ she would pee more often, she would just kinda look blah. Pretty much the same symptoms that can occur with PMS.
• Well, dogs have hormones just like we do. Although I don’t think we can compare the symptoms between humans and canines…I believe that they are affected by their hormonal changes, just like we are.
• My 14 month old GSD is showing signs of coming into her second heat. She shows symptoms ranging from clinginess (is that a word?) all the way to downright obnoxious (PMS? I dunno, maybe). Also, one minute, she doesn’t feel good at all, just wanting to lay down; and the next she is bouncing around like normal.
• They can from what I understand have mood swings and be somewhat unpredictable during that time though.

Simba Up CloseThen we have Simba who is 8 years old. As I stated in my last couple of posts, her behavior has gone through some changes. She has had a couple of pee accidents, has become overprotective of me in an aggressive manner, has become even more clingy (if that’s even possible with GSPs), her anxiety level has increased, does not eat when I’m not home, she’s lost some muscle even though she exercises every day, wimps and whines as she sits in front of me just staring, wakes up several times a time to get out of the covers because she’s hot and then gets cold, is fatigued during the day and can fall asleep standing up and rip out truck sized snores and has become disoriented on two occasions where she went around to the front of the house to come back in instead of the back.
Now speaking from experience (unfortunately) if I compare her symptoms to my menopausal symptoms I would say she’s right on cue. How about it ladies? I know I can’t be alone when I say I would like to strangle these young girls who say to me “I can’t wait to go through menopause and not have a period”. Who want to gain weight and lose muscle even when you’re killing yourself working out? Who wants to be driving and suddenly forget where you were going or worse where you are? Who like to get up in the middle of the night to change because you’re soaked? Who wants to be laughing hysterically and suddenly burst out in tears? Who wants to suddenly turn into the Tasmanian devil without any warning? To all those 20 year olds, I say, “Enjoy your periods, it only gets worse.”
I have lost track; back to dogs (blame menopause). My conclusions are that although theyMenopausal Pair may not experience menopause or PMS in the human sense there are hormonal changes going on. I can attest that anything that hormones control can wreak havoc!
I found a great article on behavior changes in aging dogs http://pets.webmd.com. They specify that aging dogs show a decline in several different functions. They can be cognitive and physical functions but they all will have repercussions on their behavior. For example, a loss in senses and awareness can cause sleep disturbances. Also, loss of memory can cause forgetting learned commands. These can also cause their anxiety levels to increase which in turn can cause more aggressive behavior, clinginess, or becoming less affectionate. It recommends always taking you dog to the vet first to makePlaying Frisbee sure there is nothing serious going on. They also mention there are medications available that can control some of the behavior like anxiety. They stress to keep your dog active with playful exercise and keep teaching him fun new tricks. For some ideas on new tricks you can go to www.trustingpaws.com.  For more information on aging dogs the article I referenced above is full of great information.

 

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MY DOG DOESN’T RESPECT ME

MY DOG DOESN’T RESPECT ME

I have been researching what could be the possible reason that Simba has suddenly become over protective of me and what to do about it.  The first article I came across suggest that dog’s become over protective when do not respect their owner.  I was itchiesshocked, my dog doesn’t respect me!  The article stated that when a dog does not respect their owner they feel they have to take matters into their own paws and make decisions of what is best for you because they feel you can’t or don’t.  I thought about this and thought about when my kids were young and even through their teenage years and into young adulthood.  Some of you may be appalled that I am comparing my dog to my kids but Continue reading

MY DOG IS BEING OVER PROTECTIVE

MY DOG IS BEING OVER PROTECTIVE

IMG_20120916_092736-001Simba has become over protective of me in the last 3-4 months.  I don’t know where it’s coming from.  As you all know, she is a German Shorthaired Pointer and is 7 1/2 years old.  People that have come to the house like tax assessor, tree cutter, building inspector and even a friend have had the pleasure of meeting Simba up close in one of her worst moods.  Maybe since she is in her human 50’s she’s going through doggy menopause, or mid-life depression.  Many humans need help at this age so why not dogs.  Anyhow let me get back to the problem at hand.  If anyone standing near me raises their arm to point, or in Italian style talking or to hug me, she lunges at them barking angrily.  Once she gets close enough, she proceeds to intimidate by jumping up to face level so that her nose is within an inch of theirs in case they are hard of hearing and can’t hear her nasty bark.  People ask me if she has always displayed these behaviors and look puzzled when I say no.  Their next suggestion is to take her to the vet because their might be a physical issue going on like an ear infection or UTI.  I definitely agree with always ruling out any medical issues as a priority.  I clean her ears weekly because she has always been prone to wax build up and ear infections.  She has not Continue reading

GSP In Pink Socks

GSP In Pink Socks

I know that I’m a GSP and am supposed to like being outdoors but when my paws get cold snow packed between my toesies. I don’t like it at all. When they get too cold I hold my paws up in the air and won’t walk. Mommy has to carry me all the way down the yard to the house. She then rubs my paws and blows warm air on them until I’ll put them down and walk. So today she bought me these sockies to wear out in the snow. We’re going to try them out tomorrow morning!

Socks

Questions About A Recued GSP

Questions About A Rescued GSP

I received an email from one of our readers.  She adopted a 4-year-old GSP and needed some guidance in training.  I referred her to the sites professional trainer for advice.  I thought that the questions and advice would help many of our readers who have adopted pups.

I thought it would be the easiest to respond to the questions if I type my answers in red as they came up in the email.  So here are my recommendations:
I’ve just rescued a very lovely female GSP.  Cassandra “Cass” is my first GSP and I’m really in search of serious guidance.  My past pooch experience has been with Lab mixes and clearly, there is a BIG difference in the two breeds.  Cass has had it very tough in her 4 short years.  It’s clear the she was used as a breeding bitch very early on, was passed from home to home; her last “owner” being a policeman in a small Kansas town.  He surrendered her to the local kill shelter about a year ago where she was picked up by a GSP rescue near Colorado Springs (I live in the Denver area).
 Cass is a very lucky dog to have been adopted by you!  She is well into adulthood and her temperament is now stable, but you can do much to help her feel safe by increasing her confidence at her pace, not yours.  

The people at the rescue are very well-meaning people but I don’t think they understood her either (I do).  They had her for over a year until last Saturday when I brought her home.  Even though she was eating regularly, she was quite underweight from stress and worry, wouldn’t come inside and avoided other dogs.  I was warned that she wouldn’t warm up to people. They were wrong.  She’s very lovely, VERY affectionate, crazy smart and REALLY wants to do the right thing.  She learned to not counter surf in about 3 days.  Never , we haven’t had an accident in two days.  “Sit” was almost mastered in one.

It is very common for fearful rescue dogs to bond quickly to one person or family, yet be suspicious of others and even become territorial or defensive.  In a safe and nurturing environment, dogs (and people) can blossom toward their full potential.

She doesn’t seem to be destructive in any way but as a precaution, I’ve crated her while I’m at work.  I have have a very lovely neighbor who comes over several times a day to let her out and go for walks. What an ideal situation you have, so that Cass has some mental and physical enrichment while you are gone!

So, here are my questions:

1. I’d like to not crate her at all.  How do I know if I can leave her outside a crate?  I’m currently leasing a condo (but am hopefully buying another unit in the same complex this spring).

 I would not change anything, at least not yet.  If she feels secure and comfortable being crated, and as long as the crate is not over-used (no more than 3 or 4 hours without an exercise & potty break), don’t risk a problem where you don’t have one.

2. How can I quickly get familiar with GSP traits?  I’d like to know what her actions mean (for example, she loves to reach up and tug on the sleeves of my blouses, or anything hanging over a ledge)

One of the best resources for learning about canine communication is Brenda Aloff’s book here:http://www.amazon.com/Canine-Body-Language-Photographic-Interpreting/dp/1929242352 Interpreting what a dog is “saying” requires considering the context in which the behavior is occurring.  Tugging on a sleeve could mean “Pet me”; “Stop that”; “I’m bored” or “I’m frustrated/angry/scared”.  Whatever follows immediately after the tugging can either keep the behavior strong or weaken the behavior.

3. She has shown a bit of dog aggression when it comes to our home or her toys.  Oddly, she doesn’t have the same aggression with food.  What is the best way to overcome that?
Being territorial and possessive are normal in dog society, but undesirable in human society.  It is common for dogs to be choosy about what they covet and guard.  It is important that you do everything you can to prevent situations that prompt her to guard.  And never, ever reprimand a growl or a snap.  Get the help of a private trainer who uses positive reinforcement and is knowledgeable about current behavior modification techniques to teach you exactly what to do to change Cass’s negative emotional responses into positive ones.  Always ask beforehand what techniques a trainer would use and steer clear of anyone who uses choke, prong or shock collars or is resistant to using food (treats).  That shows they are not up to date with animal behavior knowledge.  You can do a trainer search in your area here:  https://apdt.com/trainer-search/
 I’d love to take her to a dog park but she is an Alpha female and I worry about her being aggressive at the park with all the balls flying around).  She LOVES to play (something the rescue didn’t know).
I’m not sure what you mean by her being Alpha, but taking a dog (even a very friendly tolerant one)  to a dog park is a big risk.  If she loves to play with other dogs, set up a play date with a dog-friendly dog her size with a similar play style, and be very careful about the initial introduction.  First impressions do count.  If she is not interested in playing nicely with other dogs, there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you honor it and keep everyone safe.

4. What is the best way to train her on a leash and then off-leash in the field.  Even though we are in a suburban area, our community has a large open space where she can run if she is trained on a collar.

Good luck with training Cass.  Training should always be fun and rewarding for both of you.  It’s the best way to develop a strong bond of mutual trust, respect, and affection.