Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dog Blood Donor

Over the holidays I applied for Lexis to be a blood donor through the Blood Donor Program at the University of Guelph.

We live close to the OVC and Lex fits their requirements perfectly. She's the right breed, size, age and she's friendly and healthy. The OVC replied to my application saying they have a waiting list but are keeping our application and we may be contacted in the future.

If we are contacted I will need more information before going through with it. Lex is very active and I will be trialing her starting next year, I would not want her in danger and am curious if this would affect her training. She's also intact and I have no intention of spaying her at this time, I would need to confirm that isn't a problem.

I found out about this program a few years ago when I had a foster in their clinic for an emergency. A dog blood donor was not something I ever would have thought about before then, but it's obviously needed. It's been on my mind since but none of my dogs have fit their criteria until now.

Have a look for a dog blood donor program in your area and see if your dog is eligible to help. Blood can save a dog's life... it could save YOUR dog's life.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas toy review - Orbee Ball



My dogs love the Planet Dog Orbee World Balls, this time I bought the one that glows in the dark.

So far the glow lasts a reasonable amount of time, great for playing in the park at night if you have a flashlight to recharge it.

If allowed, Bullet will pick the world off an Orbee ball before ripping the rest of it to shreds. Overall this takes him a while so I agree with it's chew-o-meter rating of "5 out of 5 chompers". Not indestructible but tough.

One thing I have to watch out for with this ball is the extreme bounce. Bullet is crazy and will leap up to catch it in the air. I can't release him until it's dead for his own safety. The last thing I want is him breaking his leg or ripping ligaments from his contorted acrobatic freestyle routine.

Dogs love to chew this ball. It's soft and makes a wonderful squishy sound when filled with slobber. Some would never allow this behaviour with a Schutzhund dog, convinced it encourages a chewy grip. Others feel that how a dog enjoys a toy reward is unrelated to how it will behave on a sleeve. Right now I'm gravitating towards the "never allow this behaviour" camp. I strongly believe that if you have a dog with chewing tendencies letting them practice it can't help but create a bad habit. After saying that I do bring it out occasionally because the dogs really do love it.

Some of the heavier solid balls can be dangerous, but this one is soft and safe for the teeth, so if caught in the air there is no danger of a tooth getting damaged or the dog getting hurt if smashed in the face.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Because I can.

I recently changed the spelling of Lexus to Lexis. The fact Lexus is a car name bothered me. Really, really bothered me.

Don't worry, I consulted Lex about this change and she shoved her Kong in my face. (We've determined that means she's happy with the new spelling.)

Not only is it a nicer looking word, it also works better for future "A Lexis on Fire" posts - when she earns a new title.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Beschützer German Shepherds

When my friend asked me to design a logo for her kennel she had a few specific requests. She wanted it modeled after a picture I took years ago of her female, Arlie. (Arlie is Lex's dam) She also wanted flames incorporated next to the kennel name.

Sketching brought me closer to a solution and I was really excited with where my pens were taking me. Usually I work-up multiple designs but this concept would be time-consuming to execute properly and I was that confident she would like it. If not, I'd go back to the drawing board and keep this drawing for myself.

Combining the flames with Arlie running gave my friend all she asked for. It captured the power and speed of the breed, mirrored the complex flame-like patterns of the GSD coat and accurately portrayed the spirit of a working dog.



My friend recently started a blog of her own, check it out: Beschützer GSD. As she is French Canadian some of her posts will be in french.

Beschützer is a German word that roughly translated means defender, guardian, heroic champion.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

God loves a Terrier

God loves a Terrier is the best song from one of my favorite mocumentaries "Best in Show". Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara rock!



If you have ever shown a dog and haven't seen this movie go and rent it. Now if you have never been involved in the world of dog shows you may not like the movie and find it over-the-top stupid. But that's what makes it so funny – the characters aren't that far off real life. Sad but true!

Enjoy the preview:



I love this quote by Buck Laughlin (played by Fred Willard) for obvious reasons:
"That's my favorite, the Miniature Schnauzer. You think they'd wanna breed them bigger wouldn't ya, like grapefruits or watermelons."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dear Neighbour,

First off, I hope this letter finds your family in good health and that you are ready for Christmas. Did you get your children everything they asked for this year?

Now what about your dogs? You know, those two creatures you accepted full responsibility for when you brought them into your life? Forget about buying them a gift for under the tree, what they want most will cost you nothing. They are trying desperately to communicate their wishes but you seem to need a translation, so here it is. My Christmas gift to you.

The barking 24/7 means:

I'm lonely. I'm bored. I want nothing more than to be with you. Let me inside!

The scratching at the door means:

I'm lonely. I'm bored. I want nothing more than to be with you. Let me inside!

The whining means:
I'm lonely. I'm bored. I want nothing more than to be with you. Let me inside!




I try to understand your reasoning. Why do you even have dogs when you ignore their existence?


Do you have them for protection?
Neither of your dogs could or would do anything to protect your home or family in their back-yard prison. Get an alarm system.

Do you have them as lawn ornaments?
Buy a statue, your yard will look much better and you will save the minute a day you currently must spend feeding and watering them.

Do you have them for the children?

If that is the case let the dogs play with them! And socialize that Mennonite Mongrel puppy, because if he continues down the path he's on, with his poor temperament and lack of socialization skills I deem him most likely to bite a child. If this does in fact happen, I want to you know that it will be 100% your fault, but unfortunately the dog will pay the price for your stupidity. I can only pray the price it pays will be a new home where he will be a part of the family, but that is unlikely.

I have to ask... What happened to your last dog?

Did she lose her puppy appeal? Did she grow to large? Were the craters she was digging in your back yard bothering you? Did she escape and get hit by a car? Did someone complain about her barking?

She had an excellent temperament you know, happy-go-lucky and able to entertain herself. She was great with the children, but maybe you didn't see that? When you yelled at her for getting in the way she didn't take it personally and went back to amusing herself. This is much better than the puppy you are raising now but it could be that you don't recognize the signs. Your current puppy desperately needs to get out into the world. He needs to be handled and socialized, you aren't going to be as lucky with him as you were with her, this I guarantee.

Maybe you really don't know and I'm expecting too much from you. Let me help you out:
People don't like listening to your dog's mournful cries day after day. It's disrespectful to everyone around your home, not to mention to the dogs themselves.

So what do your dogs want most this Christmas? To be a part of your family and your best friend. You'll find that by giving this one gift of friendship you'll receive it back a hundredfold. Try it. You'll like it.

Sincerely yours,
Tracy

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tracking on white

Tracking on fresh, deep snow isn't something I'd do often, but it's fun to see how the dogs handle it. Sometimes you are surprised at how things play out. That is one of the things I love most about tracking, you never know what's going to happen next.

Bullet tracked with his usual speed and intensity. When you can see your track you can make it more challenging since you don't need to rely on your memory of where you laid it. This track had a lot of corners, serpentines and I used a cross track I found as a proofing exercise. The first time I crossed it he made the wrong decision, a small correction got him back and he was more thoughtful on his discrimination the next time. He didn't make the same mistake twice. I also ran my track parallel to it and he aced that test.



Their noses stayed deep and while you'd think they'd eyeball the track I didn't see that happening with either dog.





Lex has been doing great with her articles so I was surprised when she walked right over the leather in the snow. She didn't even hesitate. No big deal, I chose to bring her back, platz her and reward her "indication". Yes, she didn't find it, but I truly don't think it registered as an article in her head and I prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt in a situation like that. She's still a new tracker. I didn't want to ignore the article she missed but I didn't want to correct it either. I chose to reward as if she'd found it herself. She had no problem after that although I had to give up looking for one that got completely covered:



I know it was down there somewhere!



Lex still has food in nearly every footstep so in this snow I placed it in the heel of my print so it was not visible to her on the white. Bullet only ever gets food after an article indication so him looking for food on the track is a non-issue.


After tracking we had some fun in the snow:

Bullet heeling with Kevin... Kev had his ball so Bullet threw himself into the "sweet spot" to get it. He knows how to work a situation to get his reward.










Kevin getting ready to release Lex for her toy:





More snow than toy in that grab.



Chomp!







Catching snowflakes on her tongue.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

!!!

If a Giant Schnauzer were a punctuation symbol, they would be the exclamation mark.









They love to emphasise all endings with power and wonderment.