Sunday, August 31, 2008

Day at the Farm...

Went to the Farm ( ) yesterday - Surprised Sarah, HBIC, a touch; They weren't really expecting help. But I know I can always find work to be done at the Farm, and yesterday was no different. The kennel runs were a mess, as dogs can certainly make them! So, I spent the morning scooping poop and hosing down the runs. Meanwhile, an adoption was underway, and an intake.

The Adoption was Duncan, whom I don't care for one way or an other - he's never had much time for me, and I've more or less ignored him right back. but yesterday, as Sarah was offering last-minute advice to his new family, all of as sudden he was quite friendly; What's with that? Well, it's Stinkykibble(tm)! I'd made up a batch for Suka that morning, and my hands still stank. Heh! I've tweaked the make-up of Stinkykibble - I've added a touch of anchovy oil for extra stink, and it works! :-p Duncan certainly liked the taste, even having been wiped off and diluted by time.

The intake was a big guy. Supposedly, he's aggressive and has resource-guarding issues. I wonder, though - He certainly sucked up to me, and wanted to follow me around. I'm a big, bearded, loud, scary guy, and he wanted to follow me? Must be the Stinkykibble! :-p Anyway, newly-intaken dogs are under stress, and aren't showing their full personality - I suppose the reported issues could be true. Dunno, but we'll see.

Anyway, I brought Suka with me, and by-and-large, she was a very good girl. No lunging or acting out. She settled in her crate and waited while I did my chores, but didn't want to come out. Well, none of that! She was there for a reason, and hiding wasn't it! So, popped her out, and introduced her to the part of the resident pack currently out and about - mostly retired stockdogs - and to the Volunteer Coordinator and the HBIC. Sure enough, I find that I've been making some mistakes... HBIC straightened me out on those, and showed me what she meant - damn, she's good! Gave me solid advice on getting Suka to adapt to TRDATEOTN, and how to teach her how to make the right choices with them. Homework! Anyway, I feel myself well repaid for scooping poop!

Poor girl, Suka stressed heavily - I've got to make a habit of taking her places, to help her learn to not stress on road trips. She LOVES the car, and riding, but doesn't like new places. Well, no surprise - She's been to the Vets as often as anywhere else, since she's gotten here. More homework!

Friday, August 29, 2008

'New' Parvo C2 strain - The sky is not falling

There's been a recent rash of breathless e-mail about the "new" C2 strain of Parvo, and how deadly it is, how only a few vaccines will work on it, and so on. Very scary!


The sky really isn't about to cave in:

The "new" parvo is seven years old, current vaccines work, and so long as your dog has current immunizations, and you follow proper hygene, you're in pretty good shape.

Go play fetch with your pup, or something.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Training trouble?


Suka's settling in soooo well! Too well, perhaps? She's testing her limits, and showing her confidence, and generally being a sweet, loving, mildly pushy dog. OK, "So, what's the problem?", you might well ask. Well, the problem is, that she's starting to push in places I don't approve. Putting a paw on my leg to beg for affection? I can correct that. Jumping up? That I can correct if my wife would stop indulging her! :-p Chasing the cats? Well, she doesn't chase the cats - they've got six points on each, five of which are sharp and poke-y, and Suka knows this!

Buuuut... She's taken to ground scenting (air scenting, too - but that causes no trouble), and when she gets her nose into certain scents, she's On A Mission. As in; she doesn't hear me anymore. I just wish I knew what those scents were, and where they were. Not having a dog's nose, I, of course, have no idea when to expect the olfactory lobotomy (Noooobody expects the olfactory lobotomy!). This might be just as well - Who knows; had I dog's nose, I might well be down on the ground with her. Besides which, my face is hairy enough - I don't need to be mistaken for a baboon. :-p

Along with this newfound confidence of hers, has come lunging at The Rude Dogs At The End Of The Neighborhood. TRDATEOTN are a collection of poorly-tutored dogs who love to lunge at their fences and bark at other dogs, and who sometimes to fight with each other for the privilege of having the choicest spots from which to be rude. Previously, Suka's been content to raise her ruff but walk on by, otherwise ignoring them. Think of it as a ladylike sniff of disdain at their poor manners. Ah! But now, her manners have taken a plunge towards the gutter (they probably smelled something nice and stinky down there), and she's barking back, spinning a the end of the lead, and generally acting like a punk in their presence. No sooner than they're out of sight, than she regains her composure, but for fifty yards or so, she's a Nut!

So - I've got two situations where she's Not Getting The Message. What to do? She's not toy-focused. She's not particularly food-driven either. Halti? Gentle Leader? Martingale? Well, martingale collar for sure, under any circumstances - She's almost slipped her leather collar a couple times already. A properly rigged martingale will stay put, without choking. Period. But, I don't know how to use a training collar or harness. After reaching out for help, I got all manner of well-meaning advice, but much of it was wide of the mark. But at least one suggestion hit the mark squarely in the center... Training with treats to distract her from the other, unacceptable distractions. But she's not treat driven... Or IS she? Stinkykibble(tm) to the rescue!

Stinkykibble is my rendition of training with dog food and high-value treats. I don't want to wreck her diet - it's so nicely balanced! ;-) but Suka *will* go for hot dog bits dusted in garlic powder and grated cheese. Or, better yet, from her PoV, kielbasa. But Polish sausage gets pricey... So! Dice up a little sausage, a little hot dog, and dust liberally with garlic powder and cheese. Substitute that mess for an equal volume of kibble from her daily meals, and store in a bag, in the reefer, over night. Come morning time, you've got all the day's food, already in a bag, and all nice and stinky! Stinkykibble! Separate the Stinkykibble into three portions; one for each for the morning and afternoon meals, and one to serve as training treats. Stinkykibble is like a magnet - Where it goes, so goes Suka's nose. And if there are TRDATEOTN yelling at her, well, she doesn't care.

Yay, Stinkykibble!

Monday, August 25, 2008


I've been rather busy, under Suka's influence. She's a lovely girl, and incredibly well-behaved, and she's settled in like a missing puzzle piece. The kids adore her, I'm getting a lot more exercise than I used to, and she's generally re-arranged our schedule in a very positive way. My wife still insists that shes NOT a dog person, as she cuddles Suka in her lap... :-D Poor girl, though - Our 'cool' is warmer than her 'hot,' and she's turned into a portable furry blizzard. ;-) She been blowing coat, and I've brushed enough out of her to knit a medium-sized sheep. Much, much more is coming... :-o

She's been deprived in some ways, though, I can see - She's got *zero* concept of most doggie games, like fetch. She just doesn't get it. So - While her dog manners and people manners are outstanding, I need to teach her how to *play* like a dog!

Under her influence, I've got the back yard fence repaired, the grass neatly cut, and the poke-berries (poisonous purple berries, with semi-woody stalks) growing behind the shed cut down and into the compost pile. Also, the house is progressively becoming less cluttered. The dumpster has been and gone, and it departed in a very full condition. So - My house is leaner & cleaner than it's been in a while, as is my yard, too.

The cats are less than impressed, but they're maintaining separation for now.

Friday, August 22, 2008

AKDD speaks...

Ahhh, yes, my nefarious plot has come to fruition! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

::waggles eyebrows, twirls imaginary Snidely Whiplash moutsache::

Truthfully, it can't ALL be blamed on me.... MaskedMan has dog lust. I've seen it. It was only a matter of time.

Suka (indeed pronounced "Sooka" - that would be like "Sue-ka" not like "took") is (and I do hate to burst any bubbles) actually named accidentally after a Sibe belonging to my nurse Jill. As she came into my hands, her name was Sukie, which I think is a cute name for a Shih Tzu or a Lhasa, but NOT for a BC. And I just couldn't make myself say it. I kept accidentally calling her Suka (from knowing Jill's dog) and Jill didn't mind me copycatting (copy-dogging?) one of her dogs' names, plus Suka comes to it readily, so there we are. It didn't occur to me to ask Jill what "Suka" meant, but I will. I thought about calling her "Sitka" (a good Alaskan name), but she seems to like Suka, so there she stays... unless MaskedMan et al want to change it. [NB: NO, we do not. :-p ] Meanwhile.... Uh, Suka is an obscure word of a little-known Yupik dialect which means "sweet bird of the snow" and is sometimes used to indicate the color of ptarmigan when they are in the middle of their molt from the russety browns of summer to the white of winter. Yeah. That's the ticket. (Yes, I AM a member of the PLO... Pathological Liars OOOoooononymous.) Or, it could be some derivative of Susitna, which is the name of a mountain and a river and all kinds of other things up here. It could be SU from SUsitna, and KA from MatanusKA, another native place name (Suka's earliest known history having sourced from the Matanuska-Susitna borough.) See? We can make it all KINDS of Alaskan!

I suspect Suka is a BC/Sheltie cross or else a BC/Sammy cross, but it's a guess. Short of DNA testing, there's no telling; she could be all BC for all I know. [NB: I'm thinking more likely Sammy than Sheltie, but it doesn't really matter anyway. And canine DNA testing is notoriously unreliably anyway. :-p ] Her early history is unknown, having come to the prior owner from the pound. She was a patient of mine several years ago, at which time there was a chance her (divorcing) owners might need to place her. At the time, I had 2 fewer dogs than I have now, and I told them that I'd consider taking her if they couldn't work it out (although as she had a little boy at home who is mad for her, I didn't want to break that up - and they did work it out that time.) Several years later and a re-marriage/newly pregnant new wife down the road, the owner was again facing a problem with keeping her. He hated to do it - he kept saying that she was the best dog he'd ever had - but the little boy had moved to CA with the first wife, and with a new baby on the way, and the man being a trucker and not home all the time to help with the baby and the dog, Suka didn't have anywhere to land. So I bailed her out temporarily, and Tranq and family are going to see if she'll work out for them long-term. But we should all give Tranq a BIIIG pat on the back, because I struck out on finding other homes up here. So he bailed her out even more than I did... I'm just his long-distance minion.

(See? It really ISN'T my fault.... Entirely.)

She's a sweet dog, extremely affectionate, and generally gets on fine with other dogs - but there are just too many dogs here right now, and I personally think that as much as she loves to snuggle, she would be best in a single dog household. It does my heart good to know how excited Tranq and all the Mrs/mini-Tranqs are about her. She deserves a home where they're excited about her and can make her the center of the dog-attention (and here, even if I was NOT over the borough limit on dogs, she would have to share.)

I love it when a plan comes together!

[NB: 'Suka' is actually a Russian word. It means 'Bitch.' Considering how appropriate a Russian name is, coming from a place so closely connected with Russian history, and that Suka is, indeed, in the most technically correct use of the word, a bitch, I'm keeping the name.
And yes, my sister is even more devious than you thought. :-p]

It's a trap!

My sister (AKDD), blast her EeeEEeevil soul, has long had a nefarious plot to get me into the BC world. Hesitently, and with resistence, I've been pulled in step by step - First reading the BC Boards, then posting here, then doing rescue work, and now... A BC of my own. :blink:

OK, maybe Suka's a BC/X. Whatever. Anyway, this is a dog my sister's known for some time, and was saved from Animal Control a few years ago, but times and circumstances change, so her new family wasn't able to keep her any longer - My sister took Suka back in, but couldn't keep her - Raven is due home, and AKDD's up against a municipal dog limit. There aren't any, aparently, local BC rescues in her area, and there weren't any within easy reach, so she reached out to me for help and advice, to see if I couldn't get Suka into MABCR. Unfortunately, MABCR is in high-gear right now, and slipping another dog into the steady stream of dogs coming through is pushing things pretty hard. On top of that, Suka's description is glowing - She's reputedly "the best dog I've ever owned" according to her rather distressed former master. Now, I'd been showing my wife picture sof Suka, and talking about the process to her, and so on, and one day, about a week or so ago, she suddenly turned to me and said, if you clean the house, we can take her in. 8-0

Cleaning the house is kinda important - both of us tend to horde stuff we really ought to have ditched some time ago.

I ordered a dumpster. It was big. I filled it.

If we'd not touched it in over a year, and it's replacable without too much effort or cost, it was gone!

So, without further ado, let me introduce Suka, Muse of Housecleaning!