Friday, March 25, 2016

Are adopted dogs more appreciative?

Bob is a five-year-old Frenchie who was purchased from a local breeder at 16 weeks of age. He’s lived the life of luxury: always a full belly, the best toys, lots of friends (dogs and humans) and the softest beds. He stars in a TV commercial and appears on a highway banner in Los Angeles. Nothing but the best for this guy. He’s grown to be handsome, smart, confident and independent.

Bear is an eight year (estimated) chocolate Cocker Spaniel. His first three years were pretty rough as he was abused, neglected and finally discovered tied to a tree and rescued. He went through three adopted homes because his fear and separation anxiety were misunderstood. We were his fourth and final home. Although the separation anxiety is gone, he still fears riding in the car and never lets me out of his sight. He’s not the brightest, which may have been mistaken for stubbornness, but he’s handsome, loyal, protective yet very co-dependent.

Is Bear more appreciative than Bob?

Car rides:
Bear pants and trembles, rarely relaxes. He has bad car memories.
Bob gazes out the window or sleeps.

Dad doing yard duties:
Bear never lets me out of his sight, gets beneath me or in front of me and protects me from the lizards.
Bob sleeps in the house.

Treat distribution:
            Bear is always appreciative.
            Bob looks as if he’s saying, “Is that it?”

Bear inhales his food as if it’s his last meal.
Bob takes his time and is occasionally finicky.

TV time:
Bear watches me, follows me into the kitchen or bathroom. He doesn’t ask for affection; just needs to be in the same room with me.
Bob sleeps, sometimes on me. This is the only time Bob demands my affection.

Meeting other dogs:
Bear loves all dogs.
Bob is too good for other dogs and let’s them know it.

Meeting humans:
Bear does not trust people, especially men.
Bob LOVES all humans, never met a bad one yet.

In conclusion: Dogs show appreciation by protecting and loving. My boys show both equally but different. Bear protects and loves out of fears from his past and fear of losing his new secure world. Bob protects and loves because HE owns ME and he’s the only one good enough for me. Either way, it’s equally wonderful being “dad” to these two, very different yet loving companions.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Rattlesnakes Are NOT Your Dogs Best Friend

People are finding rattlesnakes on their property more than usual and, sometimes, for the first time. Rodents are looking for food, rattlesnakes are looking for rodents and with dry conditions, these rodents are coming closer to your house. It's like a follow-the-leader game with you and your dog caught in the middle.

How do you break this cycle? You can’t make it rain, but you can make your house less attractive to rodents by:
·      Keeping outside trash like food scraps, dog food or standing water to a minimum.
·      Rodents love fruit from your fruit trees so keep your premises clear of dropped fruit.
·      Rattlesnakes love the shade. Clear your property of anything that can be slithered under.

If you suspect you have a rattlesnake problem and you’ve done all the preventive measures, do this before letting the dogs loose:
·      Scan the premises first and do a visual inspection. Look under stuff and do not be afraid to make some noise. Make your presence known.
·      Rattlesnakes are very sensitive to vibrations. Stomp your feet or tap the ground with a heavy stick. They do not want confrontation and will leave as soon as you, the predator, arrives.
·      Rattlesnake classes are available that teach dogs to run away from rattlesnakes as opposed to being overly curious.

What if the worst happens?
If your dog finds a rattlesnake, you’ll know because of the exciting barking and/or the classic rattling sound. Your dog may go deaf to your calling because of this wonderful newly discovered “toy”. Snakes will usually try to get away, but if cornered, will strike. If a bite occurs, the good news is that it’s not usually fatal to a healthy dog IF the dog is taken to emergency right away. Do not cut the wound and suck the poison. Keep the dog calm and carry (if you can) him to the car. Keeping the dog calm will slow the progression of venom.

Remember, as always, your dog depends on you. Being proactive first but calm if the worst happens can save your dogs life.