Friday, November 26, 2010

Facebook Withdrawal, Oh My!

For a person who was sure she did not wish to join Facebook, I certainly have become dependent on it!  The Dal lists have become very under-used as so many have turned to Facebook and other social networking sites.  Rather than consistently seeing annoying postings from people you detest, you can pick and choose who you want to hear from.  If you later find them to be annoying or if they have views you find offensive, it's so easy to just "un-friend" them or block their postings for awhile.  Your Friends List can include co-workers, friends, fellow hobbyists, neighbors, relatives, politicians you support, special interest groups you agree with, restaurants, magazines, and news sources.  The list seems to be endless, but the great thing is that you CHOOSE who you wish to connect with.

I confess to being a Facebook adict, and check in first thing in the morning and last thing at night.   Strong hot coffee and Facebook gets me off to a good start in the morning. It allows me to stay in touch with family and friends, exchange ideas and opinions, and stay current on happening out there.  It also provides a very good support network for people who are going through rough times and a group of people to share your excitement over the good things that happen in your life.  Hard to beat that in today's busy and stressful world!

Facebook can also become a source of aggravation when things are not running the way they should, when you can't access pages, and pictures won't upload or download  they way they should.  Yesterday was particularly annoying when I could not access Facebook at all, from late afternoon until I checked just before going to bed.  My gosh, what was I missing?  And how did I function before I joined?  It gave me cause for concern as I am obviously a lot more dependent on it than I should be.  Do I need to rethink my Facebook use?  Perhaps.

Mariah shared a dog bed with Josie & Argus
It always amazes me how quickly new puppies become part of the "family".  Mariah has settled in nicely and seems resigned to being in a crate part of the time.  She may fuss for a few minutes, but then settles in to chew a bone or doze.  Her problem seems to have been the small plastic crate, as she is much more accepting of the large wire crate. House training is coming along well too, no more crate accidents (was that just stress?) and she's quick to get down to business when taken outside.  Yesterday she actually asked to go out once, definitely a good sign.

This weekend we will concentrate on socialization, with trips to PetCo and to Chuck & Don's, and a visit to one of the training schools to work on leash walking on rubber matting.  Never too early to start their show training!  We had a vet appointment scheduled too, as I was concerned that she was peeing too often and in such small amounts, but that seems to be OK now and I may cancel the appointment.  UTIs are not uncommon in little girl Dalmatians, so I will continue to monitor that.

Mariah is working on a chunk of turkey neck.
Mariah is doing well on her new diet, and has eaten turkey necks, egg yolks, ground turkey and chicken backs with absolutely no problem.  She chews everything carefully, and her stools are nice and firm.  I've switched a number of pups over this way and they accept raw immediately and never look back.  I'll start adding veggies and occasional supplements next week.  I also need to place a raw food order, with one more dog to feed.   Although adult dogs eat only about 2% of their body weight in food per day, growing pups often eat 10% of their weight every day.  They do seem to be more satisfied on "real" food though and are not so quick to fuss about being hungry - but they sure eat with enthusiasm!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Good Puppy.

Argus makes a great pillow for Mariah.

As I lay awake in bed, waiting for Mariah to start screaming, I started to worry about her.  Why wasn't she screeching like she had the previous three mornings?  Was she awake?  Was she dead?  I finally went down to check on her and found her sound asleep, so I woke her up and took her outside.  Crate was dry, everything was just fine.

Mariah is now an only puppy, as Ike went home with Marcia yesterday afternoon.  Marcia recently lost her older Dal and was very ready for a new puppy.  She wanted another female and was waiting for a pup from Tess's litter, or she would have taken Mariah had I decided to place her.  Because Tess had no girls, when Ike became available Marcia decided to go with a boy this time.  Ike is a doll and we hope he fits in well and brings her much joy.  Ike was sold with "strings" meaning that we have the right to show him if he turns out well.

Mariah moved from a plastic crate to one of the regular large wire crates in the kitchen.  I put a blanket in the back and newspapers in the front since she had done a bit of crate peeing.  Crate peeing is a bad habit for a pup to get into and is usually caused by confining a pup to a crate for too long.  Although they naturally try to keep their "beds" clean, there is a obviously a limit to how long a young pup can wait.  I suggested to Marcia that she use a small pen with newspapers and leave Ike's crate door open when she is away from home.  I'll do the same with Mariah when we go over to mom's for Thanksgiving today.  It's a hard habit to break if you let it go, so we will deal with this immediately and not leave Mariah in a situation where she is tempted to pee in her crate.  With a 4 day weekend to work on serious house training, we can probably get it resolved. 

Mariah also had a diet change yesterday when she switched to raw.  I sent the rest of the kibble home with Marcia & Ike, as I prefer to switch a dog over to raw "cold turkey" and cold turkey was what she's eaten for the last two meals - although chicken works just fine too.  For dinner Mariah had the thick meaty end of a small turkey neck.  I waited while Mariah ate, in case she was tempted to gulp it down whole, but she did a great job of chewing her chunk of turkey up completely before swallowing it.  This morning she got another turkey neck chunk, but got additional ground turkey and a raw egg yolk.  We'll use turkey as our basic food and gradually add other items such as the ground veggie mix (in very small amounts at first), salmon oil, a vitamin mixture, and other kinds of meat.  We won't use any grains, as she has been eating kibble up until now and has had more than enough grain.  Dogs have no nutritional requirement for grain, and they don't digest it as well as they do meat.  One of the nice things about feeding raw is the small, dry, nearly odor free stools.  If a young pup has an accident, it's far less offensive!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I'm ready to come in now!

Mariah loves playing outside in the snow, doing laps in the yard, chewing sticks and digging for leaves.  She'll eventually be confined to the dog yard when she's out with the others, but this time of the year there's not much damage that can be done to the yard, especially by a small pup.  They've gone from peeing in the yard to peeing on the sidewalk which is not good, but will make the transition to peeing in the pen much easier. Allows me to have dogs AND a nice yard with unblemished grass and lots of flower beds. 

Ike will be departing today, weather permitting.  His new owner will have a long weekend to continue the house training.  Ike has done really well, with only one accident inside that we've noticed and he ALWAYS pees when taken outdoors.  Marcia will borrow a small crate and an exercise pen, so Ike can be in his pen on papers during the day when she is gone, and can work on house training when she is home.  He's too young to stay in a crate all day, and an ex pen is safer than shutting him in a room where he can chew wallboard or cabinet corners when he gets bored.   I've lent my pens out many times and it works well when small pups must be left for the day.

Poor Ike will miss the other dogs at first, but will quickly adopt Marcia's family as his new "pack".   With the long weekend, he should settle in easily.  It will be a lot harder when she goes back to work, so hopefully someone can check in on Ike at noon at least for the first few months.  He'll be OK, but he will stress over being left for that long, and he'll demand a lot of attention in the evening.  It's not the optimum situation for a young pup, but they do adjust.  If having someone home during the day was a requirement for adopting a puppy, very few families would be able to own a dog.  It's all about "quality time" just as it is with children. 

My dogs are lucky, as Ron is retired and is always there.  However, they all get some crate time even during the day.  If our situation changes, the dogs need to be comfortable with less freedom.   New pups need to be confined and left behind even when it's not necessary so they will just accept that as part of their routine.  A pup who is with you 24 hours a day has far more trouble adapting to a lifestyle change than a pup who is comfortable being crated and left behind on occasion.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Some Rest For The Wicked

"Well, what can I get into next?"

Today I got to sleep until almost 5:00 AM.  It was NOT uninterrupted sleep, but we did better than the previous night.   Ike seems to be resigned to sleeping in the crate (rather than on the cushion the pups have selected for their personal nest), but Mariah has not given up quite yet.  Ike is currently playing with his Dad and Aunt Josie while Mariah rests up from another night of protests.  I was hoping that she would be one of those "easy" pups who takes everything in stride.  No such luck.  Maybe I will have to start referring to her as "Bad Mariah", but we'll wait on that decision.  She's certainly a beautiful puppy, so hopefully she fits in well.

It's been interesting to watch how the adults relate to the pups.   Argus loves all small dogs and was absolutely delighted from the moment he saw them.  He plays nicely, but will discipline them mildly if they try to nip at him.  Watson is always good with pups, plays with them a little, but generally stays out of their way.  Josie mostly watched for the first day, and the pups found her a bit scary as she's so lively and the most likely to run right over them.  This morning it suddenly occurred to her that they might play, and play they did.  Josie will gladly keep Mariah entertained this winter, but will not discipline pups.  If Mariah nips Josie or swings from her ear, Josie will cry out but never protest.  Poor Josie.  Coral says, "What puppies?"  She ignores them completely, never looks at them or sniffs them, and stays out of their way.  She seems to feel that if she ignores them, perhaps they really are not there, or maybe they will just disappear.

House training is going very well, although doing two at a time is a lot of work, especially since they are not eager to go out into the cold.  It's a lot easier to carry one reluctant puppy!  They've done great though, and any accidents are just because someone was not paying attention. 

Hopefully the weather does not interfere with Ike leaving for his new home on Wednesday.  It will definitely be easier to have just one pup to deal with, but he's been an absolutely delightful guest.  So cute, and such an adorable personality.

Poor fish are getting neglected this week, but hopefully I will have some time over the long weekend to catch up on water changes.  Four days off and my other projects include getting Mariah out to some new places for socialization and walking on leash, plus cleaning and re-staining my kitchen cabinets.  Also need to do some reading on gastric reflux, which I suddenly have or at least I suddenly realized that was what my symptoms were indicating.  OK, I am not overweight, don't like very spicy foods, don't eat many greasy fried foods, but I do enjoy coffee and alcoholic beverages in moderation.  Hey, how much do I have to give up here???

Monday, November 22, 2010

Puppy Time!

Mariah is making herself right at home.
It's a good thing that pups are cute, so we are willing to put up with all the work!  Mariah and her brother Ike arrived safely yesterday morning.  She is staying here and Ike will be going to a new home on Wednesday.  Poor little Florida pups were not impressed with the snow and cold at first, but before long Mariah was resistant about coming in.  She loves digging in the snow for leaves!  33 degrees was one thing;  we'll see what she thinks of freezing rain, new snow and single digit temperatures!

It's actual a lot easier to housetrain most pups in the winter.  Harder on the owner, but once the pup figures out WHY it is being taken outside, and realizes that once he has done his business he can come back inside, things usually go very well.  Ike caught on immediately yesterday, and peed every time I took him out.  Mariah has much better control and can wait longer, reducing the chance of her actually needing to pee when taken out.  We missed her the first couple of times, but things are going much better  this morning and both pups now pee when taken outside.  We'll still have accidents of course, but once they understand the concept, things go pretty smoothly.  Dals are generally easy to house train as long as the owner is paying attention, watching the pup, and takes it outside often enough.  You can tell if a pup is looking for a place to go, BUT you have to be watching . . .   The pups will have some lapses today, as Ron is not always very good at paying attention to pups, but we'll get there. By the time Ike leaves on Wednesday, he will be well on his way to being house trained, but his new owner will have to watch him carefully.

Ike is not patched, just has some spots that
run together.  He has a tiny blue "flash" on
his left eye, which may or may not go away.

Mariah's brother Ike is a very handsome pup who I almost took as my stud fee puppy from Sugar's litter by Argus.  I love his vivid coloration and his super shiny coat.  He's really a nice little guy and will make a very handsome companion for Marcia and her family. He's going with the provision that we have the right to show him (at our expense) if we want.  We'll decide before he's a year old and if he's not going to be shown he can be neutered and enjoy his life as a pet rather than a part time showdog.

Mariah will stay, at least for awhile.  I've been waiting for just the right puppy girl to join my household.  That puppy has to be beautiful, but also has to have the right personality to fit in here.  There's only one open slot in my doggy household, and it will only be filled by just the right pup.  I have not kept a puppy for 5 years, not since Argus, because I have not found just the right one.  Mariah is auditioning now!  If I decide to sell her later, she'll go as a trained, well adjusted puppy who will be just right for someone else!