Black and White Sunday: Smile

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Icies in the Mud

Kelinn, Jeni and I enjoyed a nice off leash romp at a nearby park, with lots of mud and puddles to run through. Luckily Icies are magical, and about twenty minutes after leaving the park they were dry and clean. Truly wash and wear.

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By the way, that big gray and white thing hanging from Jeni’s collar? It’s a Tagg GPS Tracker. Highly recommended!

Hiking With a New Friend

Yesterday we met up with Mr. N and his mom of Tenacious Little Terrier. We went hiking at Maybury State Park with Mr. N, Asta, Jeni and Snoopy. Kelinn had come to work with me earlier in the day and was tired and Bauer was at daycare.

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We met up and introduced Snoopy and Mr. N first, and all was fine with them. Then I brought the girls in, who are typically good with dogs, but Mr. N did not like their um… exuberant greetings and they were frustrated being on leash and yapping their fool heads off. My trick for getting dogs that don’t look like they are going to get along to tolerate each other is a nice long walk together so… off we went on our hike!

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Once the dogs got into a walking rhythm they calmed down and stopped reacting to each other. Granted, the girls and Mr. N never became best friends and I doubt they would without a lot of time but no big deal! Asta does not interact with dogs that are not other Icelandics very often so I think that had a lot to do with it, and Jeni fed off of Asta.

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It was great to meet Mr. N and his mom though and we are going to hang out again on Saturday, though Kelinn will be accompanying me this time. Kelinn is the opposite of the obnoxious Icie girls (his reaction to meeting most dogs is to lie down and possibly roll over) so I think there will be a bit less barking that time around. Anyway, we got a good two hours of hiking in and everybody was happy to settle down for a nap by the time we finished!

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Today we are joining FitDog Friday, sponsored by SlimDoggy and Peggy’s Pet Place.

Kelinn’s Day at Work

Kelinn came to the office with me today and has had a very busy day so far.

First he checked his email…

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Then he spent some time inspecting under the desk.

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Then he dumped over his water bowl and played with it for a while.

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And went outside…

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Then finally settled down for a well deserved nap.

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Today I’m participating in the “Thursday Barks and Bytes” blog hop… Check out the hosts at 2 Brown Dawgs and Heart Like a Dog.

Balance Doesn’t Come Naturally

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Jeni is a fit dog. She is a canine athlete – competing in agility and other actives that require mental and physical fitness like rally and herding. She also knows a multitude of tricks (she just earned her Expert Trick Dog title – we are working on her Trick Dog Championship now!), many that require core strength and hind end awareness.

To keep her fit and to improve her awareness of her hind end and her body, we utilize human fitness equipment like balance discs and peanuts as well as doing stretches and tricks like “sit pretty” and spins to warm her up before doing strenuous work. Jeni is very used to learning new tricks and picks things up very quickly, including being introduced to new fitness equipment. She has a cue that tells her to put two paws up on something and a cue that tells her to put all four paws up on something and she can generalize these cues to anything.

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While Kelinn can’t safely participate in the same strenuous sports that Jeni does at his age, I can help him learn that he has hind legs (did you know dogs aren’t innately aware of this?) and to keep his body fit. After working for so long with Jeni, I kind of forgot that this stuff does not come naturally to dogs! Kelinn has ZERO hind end awareness – I had him climbing over a balance disk and his back legs were just flopping everywhere.

He is also completely unaware that he can climb up on anything (this has a lot to do with rear end awareness too). He wants to join us on the couch and bed and we would let him… but he can’t physically do it. Or at least he doesn’t think he can. We’ve had smaller dogs than him get up on the bed with no problems. I had to go back to square one myself and break it down more for him to start thinking about how to move his body in different ways. I especially like this video for ideas on how to get a dog remembering he has four legs and not two:

Monday Mischief: The Coat Blow Begins

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When you have a big hairy dog like Bauer, you will inevitably be asked how much he sheds. The answer, surprisingly to most, is that he really does not shed much. In fact, for the majority of the year he does not shed at all!

That may sound great, but don’t worry, he makes up for it the two times of the year he does shed: the coat blow.

Double coated dogs like Bauer (and Jeni and Kelinn) may shed mildly or not at all for most of the year, but twice a year (sometimes related to the weather, sometimes related to female heat cycles, sometimes just randomly *cough* Jeni *cough*) they dump all their thick undercoat and grow a new coat. Bauer consistently has a significant coat blow when it starts getting warm, and this year he’s already started.

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“Naked” Bauer.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed some whisps of hair starting to form in the corners of the house and it seemed like I was vacuuming more often. Then when I was brushing Bauer to rid his hair of any tangles, I noticed that quite a bit of hair was coming out in the brushes.

After a thorough brushing session where I got a small dog off his coat and after petting him this morning and coming away with hair stuck to my hands, I consider his coat blow fully started. The key to making the coat blow as painless as possible is a nice hot bath and scrub, drying with a forced air dryer to blast out and loosen the undercoat and lots of thorough brushing. I find usually Bauer needs two good baths to get most of the coat out. He’s not at “run my fingers through his hair and pull out giant tufts of hair” level yet, but probably will be after a bath, so usually I like to do one bath, more brushing, then another bath a week later or so. I like to groom my own dogs but I may consider sending him to the groomer for one of those baths so I can spare myself the several hours it takes to fully dry him.

Here’s hoping that Jeni continues with her odd coat blowing cycle and holds onto her undercoat until Bauer is done shedding his so I’m not dealing with double coat blowing all at once!

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Today I am joining the Monday Mischief blog hop, hosted by Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog and My Brown Newfies.

Stuff I Like: Fugly Friends

So I have a slight addiction to dog stuff. Collars, toys, tags, leashes, paintings etc… I always say some women buy shoes, I buy dog collars. That said, I also really like supporting small businesses, and I think the reason I have such an addiction is that there is some AWESOME dog/pet related stuff out there. So why not share my discoveries with the world?

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Fugly Friends toys have popped up at various times in my posts, including the famous “Fugly underwear” that got so much attention.

They are my absolute favorite toys for the dogs. They are adorable and much more durable than they look – my dogs are toy destroyers and the majority of our Fuglies are still intact (a couple got destroyed when Asta came to visit – she is vicious with toys). The dogs also love them, which is the most important thing, in the end. They all covet the Fugly dolls and they love to play with the underwear. I have not tried any of the Fugly balls yet (fleece over tennis balls) but I imagine they would get a kick out of those as well.

Now, they are durable but not totally indestructible (is anything?), so they come with an adorable stuffed squeaker heart inside with a fun “fortune” on it to find when your dogs destroy the toys. And honestly, even once the stuffing is pulled out the toys are still just as enjoyable for the dogs. They are perhaps a bit pricier than you would pay for your average stuffed toy from a big box pet store but I guarantee they are worth it! And every Fugly is unique and hand made – you are truly supporting a small business.

You can find them on Facebook or Etsy.

The Suspicious Squirrel

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Jeni and I often take trips to local parks so she can run around and explore and burn off some energy, and I don’t have to walk as much as she does. She gets a lot more exercise going at her own pace. On these walks we often encounter squirrels, and though she does not have much of a prey drive she has a chase/herding drive and thinks moving things are fun to chase.

Luckily for her, she has such a good recall that she can call off a squirrel mid-chase if I need her to, so I’m not too worried about her chasing squirrels. Usually they go up a tree after a quick burst of speed from both of them and that’s that.

Until we met a very strange and suspicious squirrel at the park we were at yesterday. Jeni started to chase it, and despite there being two trees nearby for it to climb up and escape it just… stopped. Jeni was monumentally confused actually – she stopped too and play bowed at it but I think she was wondering why her new toy stopped working. I told her to leave the unintelligent squirrel alone please, and she did.

I wonder now if it had something wrong with it, whether it was ill or injured. Or it was just REALLY stupid. I’m just glad (and the squirrel should be grateful!) that Jeni has no desire to eat squirrels because… yuck.