Friday, October 12, 2012

House Dog Only, Please

This is what I want for my dogs.  Not necessarily sofa privileges, but I want any dogs I place to live in the house and be part of the family.  Dogs are companions to mankind, not livestock, and companion dogs need to be house dogs.  They don't require complete run of the house, and in fact my own dogs are limited to the kitchen, family room and basement, but that's where we spend most of our times and the dogs are with us there.  There are dog crates in my kitchen, where the dogs eat their meals, and the seniors or pups sleep at night.  It's where the other often sleep too - in crates on soft rugs - by choice, with the doors open.  Watson in particular retires to a crate about 8:00 PM, probably for the peace and quiet!

I just turned down a home for a potential show pup, an otherwise good home.  No dogs in the house in case they had company with dog allergies.  Not because anyone in the family had allergies, but just in case.  I read that as simply a person who did not want the companionship of dogs in the house, not a suitable home for a Dalmatian, or at least not for one of mine.   The kennel is attached to the stable, which would be fine for a Dal part of the time, but not full time.  In fact, I'd love to have a kennel with indoor/outdoor runs where I could safely leave my dogs if Ron & I were both gone for a couple of hours.  This person lives in a cold climate like Minnesota, and I just could see how little attention that a dog would get during the winter.  A new puppy in February, isolated in a kennel?  No thanks.

Holly is all settled in here and runs with the other dogs.  She gets along well, though occasionally swears at Fernly who likes to tease her.  Coral and Josie are fine with another adult Dal girl in the family, as I knew they would be, and of course the boys think it's great.  Too early to know if Holly is pregnant, but she is displaying that cloying, sucky, rather apologetic attitude so typical of pregnant bitches.   I should be able to palpate pregnancy at about 25 days, or I could take her in for an ultrasound to confirm it.

Need to respond to some puppy inquiries tonight, so hope to get my brochure updated and a pedigree done first.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dalmatian PR

One of the things we try to do as responsible owners is to get our Dals out and about so the public can meet them and see what Dals should be like.  How they should look and more importantly how they should act  The reputation of the breed suffered a great deal during and following the popularity boom of the 80s.  Some of the bad press was deserved - there were a lot of bad tempered, hyper-active and unhealthy dogs placed as pets.  That's what happens when a breed is cursed with over-popularity as Dalmatians were during those trying times.  Raising pups for profit, as commercial breeders do, means everything is done as inexpensively as possible.  Breeding from poor quality animals that often had health and temperament problems (yes, temperament CAN be genetic - both good and bad, and health issues most definitely are) resulted in poor quality pups who received minimum care and no socialization.  These pups were often purchased by people who had done no research, knew nothing about the breed or what it requires to properly raise a puppy, and were quick to dump the dogs when things didn't work out.  Rescues were full of unwanted Dals, and it was a bad time for the breed.

Although that happened a generation ago, the stories remain, and it's up to responsible breeders to get our dogs out and let the public see what the breed is actually like.  At least the well bred, properly trained and socialized Dals.  There are still bad Dals out there, dogs who should never be bred from, but fortunately they are not very common any more.  The commercial breeders got out of Dals a long time ago, and there are few backyard-breeders.  Things are looking up, and many of the people who inquire about a Dal are potential first-time Dal owners.  For awhile the only people who wanted Dals were those who had previously owned the breed and knew that the horror stories were not true of the breed as a whole, only that there were indeed some bad dogs.

A group of us supported the Fridley Fire Station Open House last weekend.  The dogs were a hit, and we were invited to attend Fire Safety Day at the Fridley Home Depot next Saturday.  Some of the Dal club members did the Columbia Heights Open House the previous week.  We're doing our best to get the message out!   Dalmatians are terrific dogs - if you buy carefully and put the time and work into training your puppy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Another Camping Trip

Fern went "camping" again last weekend, an overnight at Camp Carol.  She got to be an only dog for two days, just her and Lovely the cat.  Because Fern is house-trained and good in a crate she's easier to manage, but Fern is one of those pups who really needs supervision.  She notices everything, and assume they are all toys to be picked up and carried around.  Or chewed.  She's very entertaining, but not a pup that gets much freedom at four months of age.  She'll have to earn that.

Pups vary in that respect.  Some are so easy, and only play with dog toys.  Others consider everything a toy.  My previous pup Letty was always a good pup.  Fern's a bit more work but catching on quickly.  It will be awhile before she gets house privileges though!

Everyone knows stories of dogs who have trashed the house.  So why were those dogs given freedom they hadn't earned?  Pups are a lot of work and many of them require a great deal of supervision.  Just like children do.  Pups are not born knowing that pillows are not toys, that door frames are not for chewing and that dogs don't belong on the counter.  It's our job as responsible owners to teach them that.  If your pup chews a leg on the piano - who was supposed to supervising him?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Another Monday.

Monday.  Again. Already?

Hope this week goes better than the previous one that left me absolutely wiped out.  A nice dinner and a good Martini Friday evening left me in a better mood, but did little for the exhaustion.  Am I going to be able to manage two more years of this?

It's so frustrating to be employed in the public sector, and notably unrewarding these days.  Because we have not received decent raises in many years, and rarely get anything at all, we've lost a great deal of our purchasing power.  Health insurance costs go up, but our salaries don't.  Our union does a piss poor job of representing us and does nothing to explain the fact that many of us have taken over the duties of our fellow employees who have left but not been replaced, with no job upgrades or additional pay.  And John Q. Public thinks we get paid heath care when we retire. NOT. We just continue to lose ground and hope we can afford to retire some day.

Lots of happenings this past weekend, and pictures to go along with them, but typing with one finger takes its toll.  Until tomorrow.