Saturday, December 19, 2009


#1 dog site for dogs & bipeds!
We have been busy so no posts of our luvie lately. He as adorABULL as ever; healthy and happy- and sends you holiday greetings!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Image is from our first trip to the beach........where we met up with a seal.

I had devised a little 4th of July greeting that i never posted- so will start with the display of enthusiasm...and then how it all played out.

Happy 4th! ---- B-Day and Gotcha day Celebration!

- July 4 - due the uncertainty of his birthday, we have settled on Booker’s happy days being celebrated together. In the early am we will head out to Muir Beach for the 2nd time ( you may recall the story of meeting up with a seal the first time!). He is around 6 now and we will all have been together for 2 years now.

In any case, I can hardly wait. It has been over one year now since we hit the beach. We never made it back, due to the long trial of reduced activity from rear knee (gratefully only one) / ACL injury and the subsequent December 08 TPLO surgery (with patellar repair) and again several months of severe activity restrictions. His leg is totally stable again, and the only real change is he doesn’t do his little jump up into the air and twirl around to greet me when I get home any more. Nixed that one!

Last year, he was so thrilled being at the ocean, and from his excitement as we turned onto the Highway 1 road (we often call him our GPS dog!) Booker definitely displayed he had been to the beach before. Boy did he love running out into the surf (gentle, in a protected cove) and swam like a champ.

So we will go early, swim, play with seaweed (he chomped plenty last time); we will have an early picinc brunch and head home before the beach gets mobbed.
Wellllll, we got there- it was still foggy, and we had a small cove all to ourselves. It was also low upcoming/slack tide too, so no pounding waves to deal with- Perfect!. Quiet, no wind, gentle waves...

After setting up the beach mat I pulled out the huge plastic ball that we reserve for a rare occasional use- he tears his snout up if we use it anywhere else. He is totally nuts for this ball- recall goes out the window and we have to use a tug toy to get it back from him- he won’t give it up ....Normally he is extremely mild mannered and obedient. We call him our gentleman dog.

We were kicking it around at the shoreline and he nudges it into the surf ( I think he was a dolphin in a former life) and started swimming totally straight out, with the ball crazed determination he has....casting any recall to the wind. I quickly see how FAST he is headed out and jump into my suit and double caps ( too cold for a long swim without).

By the time I am swimming out, he is WAY out, headed straight out to sea! I called to him and he managed to go after the ball a bit more from side to side, rather than straight out. I notice I can BARELY make headway to catch up but quickly quell any sense of panic rising in me- no mean feat- and keep plugging away to try and catch up. I rationalize that he will tire and slow down and that my springtime return to major swimming training will be most helpful... (also fortunately I am a former competitive open water swimmer, which helped me be OK with being so far out at sea).

Oh man he kept on going but sure enough, finally did start to slow down. Whew. I devised strategy after strategy to keep my mind focussed and keep calm.

First strategy was to be as calm as possible when I caught up, and to circle around so he didn’t get a keep-away game kicked in -thinking he is such a little tenacious guy, I’d try to throw the ball towards shore, to turn this around.

2nd strategy was to go off to the closest shore area to rest him a bit before swimming back- but as the the walls of rocks showed up- scratch that one off...

3rd strategy was to avoid any sense of panic- to remain absolutely calm and focussed- to avoid him picking up on the anxiety this turn of events could easily induce in me.

I paced myself so I wouldn’t be worn out; backstroke is my most efficient stroke, so there I was, making headway to catching, hoping in time to turn him around before he wore out...

All of a sudden there he was next to me smiling away, with glee at how much fun he was having- I turned around and was saying Bookie come- let’s go- let’s go- and off he took towards shore, leaving me biting the dust in his wake. I was still very concerned that he might tire and go under but boy, he is so fast! I can swim a mile in 35 minutes- no kicking off from poolsides- last I clocked myself in a pool.

........He beat me back by a huge length.

I actually felt honored that he gave up his ball chasing to join me- it is probably half way to Hawaii by now..

Tom saw all this from shore, so far away now that he had judged that B-Boy was OK by the movement of the BIG ball- So when the progression stopped, his heart sank, thinking Booker had gone under....and seeing only me coming back in ( one set of splashes only), his heart sinking at what I must be feeling out there too..

Booker‘s head was not visible yet from shore- we were so far out by this time, he could barely make my splashes out either.

Well, Booker tore back to shore in surely record breaking time, if he had been a human! OMG- he had made it! For quite a while before that, I could no longer see him, not until he was on the beach again.....

I had tossed Tom a tug toy to wave around as I dove into the surf, in the hope that it might bring him back. Well, the little bugger ran ashore, vomited (probably had swallowed plenty of salt water) and proceeded to jump at the tug for his next set of fun and games. Totally ready for his next round of play!

Lesson learned- Booker has absolutely no recall when it comes to the ball and what a stupid human I can be. How fast he we have to be so on guard at all times.

I was literally sickened by the whole experience- could not eat all day and and was probably experiencing adrenaline detox all the next day- Monster of a headache - and a sore throat from calling out to him.

THANK DOG he is OK....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Meet and Greet

Meeting and Greeting Dogs
by Andrea Kilkenny

As a trainer and a shelter employee, one of the things I am often asked about is how to conduct doggie
introductions. Some dogs really enjoy meeting and socializing with other dogs, and other dogs prefer not to
meet unfamiliar dogs. Every dog has his/her own level of tolerance for other dogs. As someone who has had to
evaluate shelter dogs for compatibility, I try to always determine where does a dog fit along the continuum of
sociability with other canines? For example: is the dog: dog-friendly, tolerant, maybe selectively tolerant,
reactive, shy, or fearful of other dogs, does it have barrier frustration, poor greeting behavior, does it prefer to
play with dogs of the same size or age, or opposite sex? It is up to each owner to know his/her dog and
determine the dog's comfort level with other dogs. Here are a few suggestions that will make dog introductions
Teach your dog some basic obedience that you can then use in the presence of other dogs. Helpful cues
to know are: sit, down, watch me and either heel or polite loose leash walking. These cues are especially helpful
if you plan to do competitive events with your dog, as you may not want your dog to greet during events, but
rather stay focused on you and not other dogs.

Do not let your dog pull you towards other dogs to say hello. YOU as the owner make the decision as to
who your dog will greet. Assess the other dog first - does it look friendly? What does the other dog's body
language tell you? Is the other dog straining at the end of the leash, body weight shifted forward, ears back,
hackles up, rearing up off of the ground, tail up high and stiff, all or any of the above? Those are not good signs.
If the dog is 'soft' in its body language, what I call 'loosey goosey' behavior - soft eyes, open relaxed mouth, tail
wagging, body weight distributed evenly over the dog's legs, or perhaps even throwing a play bow, these are
generally signs of a friendly approach. If you allow your dog to 'self-release' and, thereby self reward, by
allowing him to drag you towards every dog, you will have a dog that thinks he/she should meet every dog, and
this is NOT socializing, it is actually teaching your dog bad manners! Socializing means selecting appropriate
dog buddies for your dog, and you the owner guide this selection.

Try taking a walk together, in the same direction first, with the dogs a few feet apart. Keep on moving
forward without letting the dogs greet initially. This parallel leash walking often diffuses any tension between
dogs. It is one of the most simple, yet powerful, ways to acclimate two dogs to each other. This is often how I do
introductions with shelter dogs and potential adopter's dogs, and how I introduce foster dogs, as well as how I
acclimate my dogs to a new canine friend. The dogs can see and smell each other across that distance and are
getting to know each other without the pressure of a direct interaction. Often, I will do several walks with a new
dog before I actually let the dogs meet. Taking a walk together is a great way to socialize!

When you do allow your dog to meet, keep the initial introduction brief. Allow the dogs to sniff, and then
quickly call your dog to you. Try to keep your leash slack, not tense, when the dogs are greeting. Reward your
dog with praise - and even a treat! - for good greeting behavior. If your dog has successful greetings with
another dog, it sets them up for future success as canine friends, whether on or off leash. However, if you and
your dog start off on the wrong paw, it is hard to undo a poor first greeting.

Try to avoid what I call 'head on collisions' wherein dogs greet each other straight on, nose to nose,
walking right at each other. Dogs should greet each other from a T-formation, one dog perpendicular to the other;
this type of greeting is more natural for them, and less confrontational, in terms of doggie body language, than a
face to face greeting, coming head on with each dog tense at the end of the leash, which is often how people let
their dogs meet, especially if they are out on a walk.

Try to avoid situations where you will feel you have to 'correct' your dog. So, if you know your dog
doesn't do well with face-to-face initial greetings, don't allow the behavior. Too often, I see people allow their
dogs to greet, and then when the greeting doesn't go well, the owner corrects the dog. If you do this, you will
make your dog LEARN to be more tense in the presence of other dogs if he/she begins to anticipate tension or
correction from you.

For some additional information on Dog Introductions, you can read my article on
Pit Bull Rescue Central:
If you have a reactive dog, I highly recommend the booklet, Feisty Fido by Dr. Patricia McConnell.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

CGC image on the web(<-hot link)

My man-person got his pix on the web with me! Linda was our BADRAP Canine Good Citizen teacher/trainer. Tom responded well to her training him ;-)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

6 week post TPLO Xrays

What is totally great about digital Xrays is that our Vet was able to zoom in to where the bone was cut, and we could see very closely to what degree the bone tissue is growing over. We compared it to the day of surgery, where there is a definite dark line ( no bone). Now it has filled in very well. 6 more weeks to go, until he gets the all clear (or should I say is all grown in?) to do increasingly more full-on activity. No running, leaping, scampering, jumping or doggie play dates until we have him back at full functioning. He walks great, no limping at all since day 5 post op- trots well tho neither for very long, now up to 10 minutes max, 2-3 times per day, weather permitting. We do tug play lying down, which he loves- and he chews on indestructible items *Nylabones and Kongs*, maybe all day long, when not snoozing, to help keep himself happy. He is so funny , whenever he gets overly excited he will grab himself one, to safely calm himself down. He has never chewed up anything else at home. !GOOD BOY! Fennel plants are another story- he can’t resist them at all, although will LEAVE it when requested

Back to weather permitting activity....I should say Booker permitting!; the slightest moisture to the ground (much less any rain falling!).... and he immediately will turn right around and head back to his comfy bed by the heater right away. LOL. This is after a long, hard plaintive LOOK our way, ( boy does he have US trained!) then extremely joyful when the collar comes out.....He will do a quick business stop only if in dire need!

I wonder how he will fare in the snow. Next week we are taking a road trip to Oregon. He is being conditioned to some high tech booties, which we saw some IDITAROD mushers using. No snow here! I really do not think he has ever seen snow. Hopefully we can have fun in the snow. I’ll tell him it is just funny water, he loves even cold water swimming.

We are so happy we had the TPLO surgery done. He will be able to once again be his very active self, very soon. I really miss our all out romps too.

TPLO Xrays, peri-operative take 2

One more image from day of surgery: You can see the bend in the titanium plate, which the vet had to do, for it to fit properly.

TPLO Xrays, peri-operative

These are from surgery day, 12/4/08. Some done post surgery for confirming placement. Vet had to bend his titanium plate to fit properly. Note his right rear leg is bowed, most likely this contributed to his cruciate ligament being damaged, as well as his super speedy turns and general demeanor: scamper-gleefully-around-at-top-speed, at the slightest provocation.

Here you can note the major curve to the leg; this is not normal

one more...