Monday, July 12, 2010

Moles, cicadas and Bugs :o)

We had an interesting walk/run this morning.
As per usual we started out fast. There were a couple of homes being worked on but that drew no attention. I jumped when the guy fired up the circular saw about20 ft from us, but not so the Bugs.
About 1/2 mile from home we were trotting along and he stopped abruptly. He whipped his head around and went over to a patch of grass.
He stared at the grass, tilting his head every now and then.
You could almost see him thinking "hmmmmmmmmm what is that?"
I tried to move him on but he was in deep listening mode and was immovable.
Then he POUNCED!
Leap, bang!
Sod went flying with a violent swipe of the paw............
In went his nose
Out came the mole

Fortunately I was able to take the mole (now dead) from him and get moving again.
To the homeowner sorry about the hole, I put the clump of grass back.

Then as we neared home he nearly stood on a cicada. That prompted a little play that ended badly for the bug because the big Bug has determined cicadas to be very tasty. Yuck.

Oh and lastly we were then come upon by a rude owner running with her two small dogs on flexi-leashes both of which came at us - Bugsy didn't like that much. Hopefully next time she'll reign them in.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Understanding Bugsy

Apologies in advance this will be a longish post.

Bugsy will be 5 in September - we will have had him in our lives for 5 years in December. I would have hoped I would have figured out and accepted some of this years ago but hey - we've gotten there. So here it goes.

1) He has no use for going slow. I think if you could ask him he would say he hates walking. Trotting with a few sprints thrown in seems to be his natural rhythm. We have tried various methods, collars, harnesses and tricks to get him to walk. He will humor us and walk a few feet, nicely, with a loose leash. Then he gets a whiff of something and he trots. Oblivious to the task of walking.
Bugsy from here on out I will do my best to kick it up a notch. I do have to look out for your knees but we'll go faster and quit this 'walking'

However please slow down in the house, when I see you fly down the stairs it really stops my heart. I know you've put your TPLO behind you but pal I will never be able to, so humor me on this one and slow down.

2) He should have been an experienced bird dog handler and hunter's dog. He hunts and works non-stop. I believe if he had consistent outlets for his prey drive and that from early on it was worked on he wouldn't have been so troublesome. As it is we constantly try to manage the prey drive and contain it. I have in the last year worked on using it more and it does make him more balanced. Unfortunately keeping/getting control over him while he is 'hunting' is exceptionally difficult to try to implement at this stage.

3) He should have always had at least one other dog to live with. He is a pack animal and yes he sees himself as leader of that pack. His happiest moments are with other dogs, always have been. Fortunately we always seem to be able to find him a buddy to run with at least once a week. This helps but again I will state he'd be more balanced if he had his own canine pack.

4) He needs challenges thrown his way regularly. Intellectual challenges. We do a fair job of this I think but I wish there were more interesting classes to go to or groups to attend. Obedience isn't his thing (LOL) but I think classes in which he was active and asked to achieve things would be great. I realize it is late but perhaps we can do some basic agility with him.
He loves to learn and gets excited when he sees the clicker or one of his intelli-toys come out of the closet. He doesn't just want to 'play' he wants to learn. I have always known this too but I have better skills to deploy now.
I contacted various agencies in the first month that we had him because I was able to see that he wasn't 'just a pet' sort of guy.
Wow am I glad no one was interested in a mutt!

5) He has extraordinary pain tolerance. Seen this over and over and in case you think it is just me when I picked him up the morning after his TPLO, the girl came around the corner with him and when he saw me he started wiggling and attempted to sprint to get to me. She laughed and said, 'wow he really loves you' and 'I've never seen a dog the day after surgery so stable and happy' LOL Oh and she also told me he took his Fentanyl patch off a couple of minutes after it went on so he wasn't too doped up.
I have heard so many stories of dogs crying and not being able to sleep for the pain. He was just my Bugsy, happy and alert during the day and asleep at night.
So when he limps or yelps it really, really hurts. Pay attention to it, take note and watch him like a hawk.

ah well that is all I can think of for now.
Thanks Bugsy for hanging with me as I learn who you are and how to work with you. You are a good boy and I love ya lots - even if you give me fits at times!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dog walking etiquette

It is unfortunate but our neighborhood has seen an increase in reactive/impolite dogs and walkers. Used to be that everyone knew the basics of controlling their dog and being aware of others out walking.
These days way too often dogs are on LONG leashes and allowed to pull and lunge toward other dogs with their humans not paying attention and/or not doing anything to stop this behavior.
I've discussed this with several other people who agree that it is getting worse.

So when I saw this from Pedigree I thought it was worth posting
Etiquette for City Dogs

It isn't that difficult to:
Ensure your dog is close to you when approaching other dogs/humans -
Lunging towards other dogs just isn't cool!

Pick up after your dog - I find it hard to believe that you'd be OK with dogs pooping in your yard, why allow yours to poop on others' property?

If you want to allow your dog to meet other dogs - ask first. Its all about being polite.

I really didn't think much about meet and greets with other dogs when my dog was younger but after a few incidents where a careless owner let their aggressive/reactive dog get way too close, my dog sometimes acts out.
It is something that I work on regularly and also something that makes me quite sad as before that one dog was consistently allowed to threaten us he thought all dogs were wonderful.

Please don't let your dog be impolite!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bugs and bugs

Although some don't believe it Bugsy is not named in honor of his affection for bugs. We were struggling to find a name for him, I was calling him to me, and he just sat there scratching himself. I queried whether 'he had bugs' and he came running to me.
LOL so I called him Bugs. DH wasn't too pleased but Bugs or Bugsy as we usually call him is a perfect name for him.
About this time every year the cicadas start to be available on the ground or are low flying, clearly slowing down and nearing their end.
Bugsy has been fascinated by them forever. And he loves, loves, loves to play with them.

Today he had his first play with a cicada this summer. We were out walking and nearly stepped on it.
Oh he was thrilled!
His tail was wagging vigorously and he ever so carefully touched the silent bug. And that caused it to rattle or buzz.
Oh he looked at me like "oh ma I never thought I'd have this fun again"

Each time the bug stops he touches it. When it becomes less active he gets a little firmer with his touches.
Once even a mild "whack" doesn't wake it he tries to awaken it with a nip.
Ah well if it isn't going to play any more I will eat it.

And so he does.
RIP cicada number 1 of 2010.