Friday, July 31, 2009

Skunk Catastrophe - NOT averted!

Just a quick reminder to people:

If your dog gets nailed by a skunk (as Suka did - TWICE! - today), there's a simple household-product fix:

1 Quart 3% (USP) hydrogen peroxide
1/4 Cup baking soda (NOT baking powder!)
2 Tablespoons liquid dish detergent
Up to 1 Quart tepid water.

Mix ingredients in a plastic container - Not metal
Scrub deep into the dog's coat, taking care to avoid the eyes.
Let stand for five minutes
Rinse out.

DON'T store any left-over solution!

May cause mild coat bleaching. May need to repeat once if the oils have had a chance to really soak in, or your dog was particularly persistent in bothering the skunk (Suka!).

More details, do a quick Google on "Paul Krebaum Skunk" and you'll find the inventor's home page. Yeah, there are commercial products, but this one always works, and it's inexpensive.

Suka may find herself a strawberry blonde in the AM. :-p Oh, and Lin is going to be getting some extra training on 1) How To Tell When The Dog Is About To Screw Up, and 2) How To Recall A Demented Skunk Botherer Before You Have A Problem - Again.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Year and a Day

That's how long Suka's been here with us. She sits under my desk as I write this, lying on my foot. She dropped into our family like she'd always been here. Indeed, it doesn't seem even remotely possible that she's only been here a year.

She's opened up from a mildly cautious dog, who refused to even see the cats, to a confident, funny, happy companion. She's utterly charmed Jenn, whom swore that she wasn't a 'dog person.' I'll find Jenn scrubbing Suka's ears and making baby talk to her, when she thinks I'm not around. Suka hears when Jenn is coming home, and whines at the door for her. She'll leap in ecstasy as Jen comes through. She's the same for me, only more so. She'll follow me about the house, or run ahead, attempting to anticipate where I'm headed. She's usually right, too. She'll stick her head in my lap, or climb up in my chair, or sit on my foot, eyes glowing, and eager for attention. She's taught us, too. My daughter has gone from at the very least a bit worried about dogs, to happily assisting me in training and care of Suka. Suka has taught my son, whom is far less impulsive and much more proper with dogs now. And of course, I've learned a loads from her too - An embarasingly large amount, perhaps. I didn't know how much I didn't know until she entered my life.

She listens well, and has excellent manners... Most of the time. The prospect of an excursion, though, is enough to fry her furry little mind, and she becomes an acrobatic dervish, barely able to contain herself inside her own skin for her excitement. Outside, her dog manners are very good, but that hardly matters, because largely, she couldn't care less about other dogs. She'll greet them, then they become irrelevent - It's the scents that hold her attention. She has to smell them! In the air, or on the ground, she simply must stick her nose into them. I'd try her on tracking, but she's really not got any good handles for training - She's praise driven, and if I make the right mix, stinkykibble(tm) will do for a training treat, but not in the presence of any distraction. Once the distractions start, I've got no real training handles on her. Fortunately, she retains what she's learned. Mostly anyway.

One behavior that has defied modification is her reaction to overload. Once she's had enough fun, she has to retreat. Her crate is her shelter, or, if I'm sitting someplace where she can get there, under my legs. So - The kneehole at my desk is a favored den, as is the underside of my recliner, when I kick back. Which means, of course, that I can never move my chair carelessly! I carry a travel crate in my car when I take her places, and that's her refuge when out in public. When she's had enough fun out away from the house, that's where she'll head, given a chance. It's actually a pretty comforting default behavior - She always knows where the car is, and if she gets loose, that's exactly where I'll find her.

I mentioned that she used to pretend the cats didn't exist? Well, she's since relaxed a lot around them. In fact, she'd like to herd them, if only they'd respond. In fact, the cats are the only thing she wants to herd. The cats, of course, are less than impressed. And my cats hold their ground. So daily, I'm treated to the spectacle of Suka nose-to-nose with one of the cats, silently making horrible "I'm going to bite you soooo bad" faces whilst the cat looks back with calm equinamity. When the cat moves on, Suka will chase for a few feet, then suddenly pull up, as she remembers that when chased, these cats turn and attack. The cat will move on, leaving Suka standing there, tail wagging, neck arched, and ears pricked forward with an eager, frustrated gleam in her eyes. Suka knows all three cats by name, and when we shout at one, she'll charge up to the offender, ready to help chastize!

In short, and to sum-up, Suka fits into the family as if she were born here. So, here's to many more years with Suka in our lives - May they all be as happy as this last one has been.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lums Pond

Lums pond is one of my favorite places in the whole state... Beautiful woods, lovely (HUGE!) pond, lots of convenient places to BBQ and sit, or walk and relax, or do whatever comes to mind. Plentiful facilities, well-located and convenient, but unobtrusive and discrete. Basically, it's a civilized and convenient place, cleverly disguised as wilderness.

So, a bunch of us from the SSDCA-MAC (Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club - Mid-Atlantic Chapter) got together at the park, with yours truly serving as local host. 15 massive ISSR Shilohs, a couple of large GSDs, a Chinese Crested, and Suka... That makes roughly a ton of dogs.
Literally. ;-)

Good food, good people, great weather, and all the dogs were on their best behavior... At least until Suka rolled in something stinky. Then a couple of the bitches wanted to take a bite out of her, and a couple of the males were waaaaay more friendly than they'd been previously... What the hell did she roll in? I dunno - I couldn't smell it, but the other dogs sure could! Anyway, even that was easily managed - ISSR Shilohs are big as houses, but they're also obedient and generally mannerly. Leah and Nana took correction well, whilst Loki and Elwood made do with longing looks. Suka, on the other hand, was loftily dismissive of the effect her new perfume was having.
Who knew she was a minx..? ^,^

Lind and Ian were there, and generally well behaved, and Jenn made time out of her busy schedule to meet some of the club, their dogs, and eat the lunch I grilled for her... Then she took off with the kids, leaving me to the dogs. ;-) Not a problem... I hung out, walked Suka through the woods, played with some the Shilohs (Loki, fer instance, loves to jump up on you. He's a 7-month old pup, so it's understandable, but at 91 pounds, and looking me square in the eye on his hind legs, it's a bit of a wrestling match to get him back down again!), and shot the breeze with people I normally only meet on-line.

It was a good day.