Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Doggy Stalkers

Bailey was an only doggy child for many years. His best friend was a black lab who was considerably older than he was and they would spend hours together. Bailey would run and play showing off while the older dog watched in amusement. He lost his friend about a year before Katy came to us. Bailey did not handle the only dog status as well after that.

Our new neighbor got a lab puppy last spring. Bailey was so happy. He wanted to make friends and soon became a dog stalker. If the dog was out, Bailey wanted to be out. He would stick his nose under the fence desperate to catch any notice of the dog.

This was one of the reasons we realized Bailey needed a friend. We applied for a rescue dog and Katy came to live with us. The two became fast friends and I thought the doggy stalking issue was solved.

In the beginning, Katy was terrified of the Lab next door. His loud bark would send her running for the porch. Now she too has fallen under his spell and has become a doggy stalker.

Yesterday we realized the winter has eroded some of the dirt from under the fence and Katy has discovered she can get more of her snout under the fence than Bailey can. Our dogs have become like crazed fans trying to catch a glimpse of a favorite star.

Our neighbors are great people and we do not want them to find our dogs annoying. Controlling this obsession is a priority. I cannot help but thinking this is my sister's revenge for not having teenage daughters.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bailey and Curling

Bailey and my husband have a long tradition of enjoying sports together. Bailey has his favorites. He loves football and basketball. The Winter Olympics have always been a favorite of his.

My husband rarely watches just one sports program. Clicker in hand he can find a way to watch the maximum number of sports at once. Normally Bailey does not seem to care. He will watch what comes.

Bailey did assert himself during a curling match, though. He and my husband were sitting on the couch. My husband had been switching back and forth between the hockey game and curling match. Bailey was taking an unusual interest in the curling match. He reached over, tucked his paw around the clicker, and rolled on top of it to prevent any future changes.

Some will complain that dogs should not be dominant. However, neither my husband nor I could stop laughing long enough to maintain control. Bailey got to watch the end of his curling match and then went outside to play.

Katy and Bailey now watch sports together with my husband. Katy has not shown any special preferences. It will be interesting to see how she and Bailey handle the next Olympics.

Friday, March 25, 2011

They Left it On the Field

There is a sports expression about leaving it all on the field. Well the dogs adopt that attitude when going to playgroup. They never fail to come home exhausted after a day of playing with friends outdoors.

Even the next day activities are a bit lighter than normal as they rest up from the previous day's outings. A few good squirrel chases and perimeter checks are necessary, but indoor play is drastically reduced.

By the following day all batteries are fully charged and system ready to play. This down day is a great day to get my writing done.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Snakes in the Grass Puzzle Toy

We were looking for puzzle toys for Bailey's birthday. He had an odd reaction to Kyjen PP01056 Hide-A-Squirrel Pet Toy, Large that he had received earlier. Instead of wanting to get the squirrels out of the house. He fought hard to get them in the house. When we removed one to try to get him to play with us, he stubbornly tried to push the squirrel back into the tree stump. To keep us from pulling the squirrels out, he would pick up the tree and carry it off. He does occasionally take one out to play with, but for the most part, he likes to keep the squirrels in the trees. This seems to mirror his real life ambitions. He has no issue with the squirrels in the tree. However, when they get on the ground or his fence, they must be herded back to the trees.

The Kyjen Snakes in the Grass Puzzle Plush Interactive Dog Toy had some added benefits. Two of the snakes are attached and only one can be removed. This means Katy and Bailey can play with the toy. So far, Bailey is not letting Katy near his new toy. He picks it up and carries it off when it appears interest is shown. However, the attached snakes would give Katy something to grab and that would provide her with a shot at playing with the toy.

We had to use some treats to get Bailey engaged with this toy. I guess snakes do not provide the same natural interest as squirrels. Once he found the treats, he has become very possessive of his snake house. Perhaps Katy will have a chance to play with him and the toy soon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Doggie Daycare

I started going while Mom was still teaching. Dad would drop me off in the car every morning and Mom and Dad would pick me up after work. Puppy care is so awesome. Not like the kennel at all. Kennel is not cool. Big, loud, scary, no game time, cages, not cool. Daycare is awesome.

Mom has all these funny names for it puppy care, camp, school, and each time it is something new. All I know is that when Mom started working on the computer instead of in that brick building with kids, I stopped playing every day and now go about once every week with Dad and Katy in the car to meet my friends.

Bailey is the star of playgroup. Everybody loves Bailey. I am not so keen on this doggie group thing. I am used to being by myself and it is hard to deal with all these dogs all day. I do have a few new friends and the lady is REALLY nice. She gives cookies and she gets the other dogs to play with me when I am left alone. I like the games she teaches us. I can run really fast, faster than Bailey, so I know I will get good at them.

I heard something disturbing the other day. Bailey said that sometimes he sleeps there when Mom and Dad are away. He hates the kennel we had to stay at when I had fleas and the house got fixed. He said he had to sleep there once and it was scary. He says sleeping at daycare is like having a big doggy sleepover. I am not sure I would like a sleepover, but Bailey says it is not so bad. I did not think the kennel was so bad, but Bailey was really scared when we were there. So, I guess staying at daycare must be fun.

My favorite part is when Dad comes to pick us up. He is so silly. He gets as excited as Bailey when he sees us. He is so happy when we bark when we see him. He seems sad if we do not notice him.

Katy, it is my turn to talk. What do mean a squirrel? Sorry have to go squirrel patrol.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sheltie Snow Dance Rewarded

I thought we were making real progress towards spring. The dogs seemed resigned and even enjoying the chance to play outdoors in the grass. Then it snowed yesterday and the dogs could not get enough. I hope that this will be the last of their snow cookies.

I was actually hoping we the last of the snow would melt and we could get outside to work in the gardens. I was planning to take pictures of our crocuses and other perennials emerging. I was also hoping to get the vegetable gardens ready for our spring planting.

Spring planting will have to wait as the dogs get another chance to enjoy the snow.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Storing your Dry Dog Food May Prevent Bug Problems

Shortly after Katy came to use we realized she was infested with fleas. We contacted the vet who suggested we hire an exterminator. It was one of those bad news good news scenarios. Bad news was that we had to hire an exterminator. The good news was that our house got one of the best cleanings it got since we moved here. We decluttered and cleaned. What we would not do for ourselves, we did for the dogs.

When we hired the exterminating company, we knew that we wanted them to look at another issue. Once we were on that path, a contract would cover us to have them check us out for all main pests.

We have had a fly problem for many years now. I have always associated it with our plants or perhaps food. These bugs are annoying and I had never been able to trace the source. Since we had the expert there, I asked. His question surprised me. He asked us if we used dry dog food. When we answered yes, he asked us how we stored it. We have always put a chip clip on the bag and stored the unused bag in a cabinet. Sure enough, the cabinet was the worst source of the infestation.

These bugs are sometimes called cereal bugs. They come into your home in grain products. When stored in sealed containers they do not infect your home and spread. A simple trip to Wal-Mart to purchase two plastic containers, one for the open bag and one for the bags being stored has kept us bug free since our extermination. I only wish I had known about this when we started on this journey. It does not require expensive dog food storage containers to prevent this problem. There are many inexpensive options available at your local markets.

The good news is not only were we free of fleas, but we also got rid of a long term annoying problem we likely would not have pursued had we not had the more serious flea problem.

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