Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Who Says Cats Don't Show Affection?

Posted: 29 Jun 2009 08:53 AM PDT

CarmiePortraitSmall Whether or not cats show affection to their owners is a debate that seems to rage on and on. Those of us who have adorable, loving cats routinely defend the cat species as loving and attentive. Those who have only dogs, and have only met cats that are aloof, laugh at us and point fingers at the cats they know...who would never deign to sit upon a human lap.

Well, Tom and I spent 12 days in Colorado, returning home to Rochester, NY in the wee hours of the morning this past Saturday. (if this was a personal blog, I'd tell you about our not so great flight(s) home...but, that's for another blog - suffice it to say, fie on the airlines! Fie, fie, fie!)

Wabby - the resident Queenly kitty of the household - was fast asleep on our bed as we entered the house. She wakened right away and...she was very happy to see us! So there cat misunderstanders (I know, there's no such word)! Wabby meowed, sat up...she doesn't move as quickly as she used to...and she rightly and immediately asked for a treat.

Mind you, she was in good hands. My son took care of her, and he is very affectionate with her. She's a kitty that likes being petted and massaged. I'm sure he gave her lots of attention. I know he gave her lots of treats because he ran out and had to go to our favorite grocery chain, Wegmans, and get more. [the treats link is to the kind of treats my Wabby likes - after trying a number of treats, these are the ones she really goes for, that's why I linked to them]Pandora

Wabby has been extremely attentive since we got home. Not so much that she's acting as if she's afraid we'll leave again. She's not that far gone! But, she's hanging about...and yesterday she was watching me pretty closely. Right now she's asleep on the bed, having consumed her morning treats, and made herself comfortable near my pillow. Which is a problem because I'm actually allergic to her! (oh well, I'll just change the pillow case)

Granted, there are cats that aren't as friendly and loving as my Wabby. We had one, a bit ago. But, even HE had his favorite human (my daughter) and would curl up with her on a rainy afternoon, to get some warmth and loving.

Anyone who says cats aren't loving and caring and just as devoted to their pet people as dogs, doesn't know cats. Cats are very loving. And cuddly. And fun. So there.

Lots About Dogs

Lots About Dogs

What Toys Are Safe For My Dog?

Posted: 30 Jun 2009 06:00 AM PDT

Dog owners love to think of their dogs as children.  "That's my baby," they'll say when referring to their dogs.  They'll refer to themselves as "Mommy" or "Daddy" when talking to their dogs as well.  And, of course, they buy their dogs toys to play with.  Choosing the right dog toys can be tricky.  People [...]


Monday, June 29, 2009


Navajo Dogs

Posted: 29 Jun 2009 08:33 AM PDT

Dr.-Larry-with-Miles I've always felt you can measure the health of a people by how they treat their animals. The Navajo don't seem to be doing so well. 

We camped on the outskirts of Canyon de Chelly near Chinle Arizona for a night hoping to see some Ancestral Puebloan ruins like we saw last year at Chaco Canyon. We didn't see much of the canyon. You need a guide to go in and you pretty much have to go in jeep or some other four wheel drive vehicle.
We did see about a dozen stray dogs roaming the campground looking for scraps. They were all malnourished and at least three looked like they were nursing pups or had recently been nursing pups.
The Navajo ruled this part of the country for over 700 hundred years...
The Dine, as they prefer to be called, traveled down from what is now Alaska and NW Canada somewhere around 1000 years ago. They settled in the four corners area and roamed around northern New Mexico and North Eastern Arizona.
They were a powerful nation forcing many smaller tribes like the ancestral Puebloans, South and East, as they came. When the Spanish came to this area around 1600 they initially had friendly relations. That did not last long.
The Dine battled with the Spanish and their descendants for 300 years. Most of the time this consisted of back and forth raids mainly aimed at stealing livestock or trying to recover stolen livestock. The Dine got their sheep and horses from the Spanish and became an even stronger and richer people as a result.
When President Polk and other icons of manifest destiny started the Mexican war in the mid 1840's the Dine were the largest and most successful people in the Southwest and probably the entire west. They numbered around 14,000 and they were growing. They had prospered and had vast herds of sheep and horses. They were a constant threat to the Anglo and Mexican settlers in places like Santa Fe and Taos.
In short they were the most powerful force to be reckoned with west of the Mississippi. Navajo-dog-today [pic from Navajo History for kids]
In 1846 Stephen Watts Kearny led 1700 Missouri volunteers down the Santa Fe trail with orders to take everything in his wake for the United States. The Army of the West took Santa Fe without firing a shot and soon after headed off to California with Kit Carson as their scout. They did not have time to deal with the Dine at that time but took note of the fact that they would have to be dealt with at some point. One of the benefits of being part of the U.S., General Kearny had told the Mexicans, was that the U.S. would protect them from the Dine.
A couple of years later, another bunch of soldiers led by a fellow named Washington, (not that Washington) led a force of 700 men into the land of the Dine. They managed to kill the great Dine headman, Narbona in a hail of bullets and shrapnel over a stolen horse. They marched headlong into the Dine stronghold of Canyon de Chelly in pursuit of the Navajo. If you have ever seen this country you know what a challenge that was. The Dine had relied for hundreds of years on the remoteness and inaccessibility of their vast territory. They could steal hundreds of Mexican sheep, cattle and horses and basically disappear into the vastness.
Well, Washington and his men kept after them in true West Point tradition, discovering many of their most sacred places and casting aside the myth of invulnerability of the Navajo. They convinced several Navajo headmen to sign some more worthless treaties and headed for home.
 Some years later in the mid 1860's, Kit Carson pretty much finished off the Dine. Their defeat culminated in the notoriously brutal Long Walk where the Dine were forced to move from their rich homeland to the Bosque Redondo in Southeastern New Mexico. I disdain this part of my adopted state as almost Texas and it is pretty much useless. No game, no grass, no water, much misery for the Dine.
President Grant did allow them to return to what is now the Navajo reservation in NW New Mexico and NE Arizona but things were never the same. The White man's disease's and religion took their toll and a once proud and dominant people were forced to live like us, adopt our laws and culture or disappear completely.
The Dine have not disappeared but they have suffered as a displaced people like most of the other tribes in the West. Chinle, near Canyon de Chelly is a typical reservation town. Some rangy cattle ambled across the main drag as we drove through. We saw lots of what seemed to be wild dogs and feral cats. They may have belonged to someone but if was unclear. The dogs roaming the campground would slink off like a coyote if you approached them.
In my world, we deal with canine and feline obesity more than anything else. There were no fat dogs in Chinle. I spoke with a ranger that lived nearby and he told me that there was no vet around but that the county offered free Rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats. I would guess that Distemper and Parvo are rampant in this area, as well as intestinal parasites. Too dry for fleas.
It's hard to place blame or to come up with a solution to what we saw. Reservation towns all over the west look just like Chinle. We could have been in Browning Montana or any number of other reservation towns. When a nation is conquered and their way of life replaced by something strange and unfamiliar, there are consequences. Consequences that can last for 140 years or more - as people struggle to assimilate, and critters suffer, too. 

Lots About Dogs

Lots About Dogs

How to Prevent Your Dog From Digging – Part 4

Posted: 29 Jun 2009 06:00 AM PDT

Accept your dog’s need for an outlet: give him a place to dig If your dog is set on tunneling your yard into a grassless, crater-studded lunar landscape, but you’re equally determined to prevent this from happening at all costs, please take a moment to consider before embarking on a grueling and time-consuming preventative strategy. Setting yourself [...]

The Days of Johann - an agility dog!

The Days of Johann - an agility dog!

Targeting experiment!

Posted: 28 Jun 2009 08:26 AM PDT

Remember I talked about how we finally (and I mean finally!) got Gracie to drive through the weaves independently to a target?

Mum was so excited, now she doesn't have to babysit Gracie, or even cheer lead her through the weaves. She doesn't have to bend over to keep Gracie driving through without looking up. How nice! Now, she can save her breath for the rest of the course, BOL!!

So we got to thinking. We thought that Gracie looked faster in the weaves with the target out about five feet from the last pole, but we weren't certain. So we decided to do a video and time comparison. Yep, she's faster! Another great benefit :)

We decided to compared her weaves from last week with the nice weaving she was doing last November, since they were her best before her targeting. (You'll remember those weaves from our obstacle time comparison post last December, where her avg. weave time was around 3.328). Mum felt like she needed industrial handles to cheer and motivate Gracie.

Gracie has shaved off nearly a quarter of a second on her weaves on average, and consistently over the past few weeks. One of her weaves we got on video was timed at 2.96 seconds, a big change from her fairly consistent 3.25-3.32 seconds before targeting. Good going Gracie!

We've been using open food targets for a long time (well, as long as the 3 (or is it 4) years we've been doing agility :). Mum, Gracie and I like them. And they work well for us. We've learned that we have to do the obstacles before we get the target, and learning that wasn't too difficult. Gracie and I may have had just a couple of run arounds to the target when we were learning the weave targeting, but we moved on and have never done it since.

The thing we like the most about open food targeting for us is the independence it creates - independent weaves, working from a distance, independent contacts and more. And it creates drive, something Gracie needs to work through because of her lack of confidence, and something I needed after my iliopsoas pull to regain my confidence, and my speed.

There's a nice interview with Stuart Mah in Clean Run's June 2009 issue about targeting. He's a big subscriber to targeting, even though it has fallen out of favor by many.

Here's the vid of Gracie's weave comparisons, before targeting and after targeting. Hope you enjoy!


Sunday, June 28, 2009


Bark in the Park - Greyhounds, Pugs, and Tiny

Posted: 24 Jun 2009 08:46 AM PDT

More good Bark in the Park video. Tom was busy moving around the Erie, CO event, capturing as much as he could. This shows the Greyhound Rescue folks, the Pug Rescue folks, and Tiny, a teeny, weeny, little poodle that gave everyone the "oohs" and "ahhs"...

In the opening clip you can see Chloe with Koa, and Miah with Twiggy (who is a bit hidden amidst all those other Greyhounds - she's the totally black one) and I'm there too, but I'm not telling you which one I am because Tom was not supposed to take picutres of me.

Does your local town or community hold dog events like this? We'd love to hear about it...and put video clips up for you. This Bark in the Park link seems to prove there are other areas doing the same thing. Everyone loves dog shows, even amateur dog shows, so we would love it if you'd share your content here.

Hey, speaking of dog shows...check out the Shine petblog in a couple of days - I have an interesting post on mixed breed dogs entering the AKC shows.

Band of Cats

Band of Cats

42 Brilliant Ways to Save Money on Your Cat Supplies

Posted: 27 Jun 2009 02:34 PM PDT

We love our pets and always want the best for them. We don't usually worry too much about the cost of owning a cat because, well, they're worth it. But if we aren't careful we can end up spending more than we need to. Do you know how much you spend...

To see and read the rest of this and many other posts then be sure to visit us at


Saturday, June 27, 2009


Summertime Puppy Fun in Colorado

Posted: 23 Jun 2009 09:01 AM PDT

Carmie One of the best parts of this visit to Erie, CO (where, as you read this, we are no longer) was watching Koa and Twiggy, the housedogs, play. My daughter was dog-sitting Koa, a mixed breed, and Twiggy, her Greyhound, couldn't have been happier.

To add a bit of background, Twiggy has been a handful. She suffers from separation anxiety and tends to find unacceptable things to do while the folks are out. Over the year of having her, starting from her truly puppy days, Chloe has figured out how to occupy Twiggy's time - leaving treats around the house for her to find, and using a large, hollow bone filled with peanut butter for her to gnaw. Yum!

While those tactics work (the crate thing didn't do it - the less said about the messes in the crate, the better), it seems that Twiggy really likes having a companion.

Koa is about 1/3 her size, and yet, manages to get the best of her now and then. The two of them are like five year old boys - racing around the house, tackling each other, fighting over towels and pillows and toys Miah leaves lying around. It's quite entertaining, actually.Twiggy-Ornery-crop

Koa will be gone, by the time this post publishes. I wonder how Twiggy will take that. Clearly, dogs need that connection to their "pack" and when the Alpha (which would be my daughter) is gone, they lose their bearings. Having another dog around to pass the time with, and to get in trouble with, is a pretty good solution. (ok...Matt, the husband in the picture, went around the house mumbling, "Did I actually approve this?" all week long)

Personally, I think both dogs and cats are happier with companion animals. So, you could have a dog and a cat, or two dogs, or two cats, or even mix and match other pets, as long as you are conscious of how they interact with each other, and never leave them alone for long periods...until Koa1-crop you are thoroughly assured they love each other.

Koa and Twiggy love each other. They don't fight over food (although they do try to steal each other's food), they love the tug-and-war of towels and toys, and they race around the backyard as if they were playing tag. Ah, the fond memories of playing tag all summer, when I was a girl. 

As we consider the options of a new dog at our house, the idea of adopting two dogs is a serious consideration. I'm just not sure how the Wabby will take it. And, you're probably tired of hearing that. But, she's my baby right now and I do not want to do anything that stresses her. 

Perhaps my daughter can set up weekly play dates for Twiggy, with Koa. It certainly seems that Twiggy will be lonely when Koa is gone. And, Koa may wonder where Twiggy is, too.

Dr. Larry - to your assertion that dogs don't think - come watch Twiggy and Koa and some of their antics. Their brainwaves are in overdraft and they ARE thinking. More on that another time. 

Aringsburg's German Shepherd Dogs

Friday, June 26, 2009

Aringsburg's German Shepherd Dogs

How to Help a Battered German Shepherd Dog Regain Confidence

Posted: 26 Jun 2009 08:26 AM PDT

Helping a Battered German Shepherd Dog gain Confidence

My Experiment with Rani

Rani was a German Shepherd Dog whom I had purchased from an owner who used to torture her. Rani (3 years old female) hailed from a good bloodline, as her pigmentation and structure said, but did not have the essential mental trait of a pure bred German Shepherd. She was a bit too difficult to be handled. Shy was shy and sometimes too aggressive to human. She used to bark continuously when kept alone, while couldn't tolerate other dogs when kept together. She was highly unpredictable. This was due to the fact that she had lost trust in human beings, which is too common in most abused dogs.

Most German Shepherd Dogs that have been abused often becomes too difficult to be handled. Read out an article: How to Deal with Difficult Dogs. Remember, once they have lost trust in you, you cannot treat them in the way you treat other pets. And that had what exactly happened to Rani. She even couldn't stand other dogs and puppies. I adopted certain tricks to win back her trust on us humans and good news was that I succeeded in the test. Those were just my experimentation and I want to share those tricks.

Regaining Confidence While on Play

In my program of helping her gain confidence there were certain simple steps. First off, I allowed her to succeed. I released her with other dogs, Rex and Reva and threw a ball that was instantly chased by Rex and Reva. Rani attempted to run, but didn't go far and stopped at a short length with a submissive action. She was scared of running, which implies that she used to have good slashes while trying to run. I ran with along her. When she ran I patted her, loved her and made her feel that it was a game and I would love to see her chasing the ball. She was intelligent and could grab things faster – as all German Shepherds do. Soon she learned that play was a part of her life. It took me not more than just a weak to regain her confidence while on play.

Regaining Confidence While on Work

Whenever I called her, she always came to me with submissive action setting her tail between the legs, bowing and ears carried backwards. She refused to come too close to me. This implies she had been battered whenever she refused to carry out the owner's "COME" command. I decided to call her softly, not by standing before her… rather by crouching down in front of her. I did this because I knew that shy dogs will never readily come with confidence near standing humans before him/her. My actions confused her at first as she had never come across such actions of human beings. Soon she identified my actions to be safe one and started gaining confidence on me. She came on calling but stood a couple of feet away from me. For the first couple of days I stepped towards her and praised her lavishly. Gradually she started closing the distance! She was then taught to "SIT". While teaching things to dogs – especially German Shepherd Dogs, physical force doesn't actually work. Physical tortures are the root to all submissive behaviors in dogs. Yelling at them and forcing them to do something by physically torture will always interfere effective learning.

Regaining Confidence outside the home

I found this to be really crucial for Rani, but that doesn't mean you'll also find this hard with your subject. Certain things vary from dog to dog. This is actually socializing. When I took Rani out for strolls, her movement showed that she wasn't confident while dealing with the external world. She was scared of sounds and couldn't stay aloof from many external things that happened around her. This proved that her previous owner never socialized her. I used to take her on stroll almost every evening and used to talk softly with her constantly. She was allowed to sense and smell things and experience different actions of nature such as falling leaves, hooting vehicles, running buffaloes, rushing bikes, falling dried branches and even rain.

After some days she started pulling me, and that was a good sign. She was allowed to take me wherever she wanted. She took me to different corners of our locality and I used to go there with her. After reaching her desired place, I used to play with her for some while – not off leash though!

Regaining Confidence While on Bath

Bathing was something that Rani was not happy with. She never used to come eagerly while bathing. The first day I remember I forced her but didn't batter her physically. From the next day onwards she was rubbed softly, rinsed softly and I started playing with her with water. I used to start wetting her from legs, and not directly by pouring water on her body. Soon she learned that bathing was just like fun, and not something painful.

Gaining Confidence in Swimming

I took her to the pond for the first day and she was loath to give a dive. I don't know swimming so I couldn't take her deep. I released Reva before her as she is a great swimmer. Then I threw the ball, as she had already learned to chase the ball. Excited Rani gave her first dive the water.

Rani gave me an opportunity to learn a lot about the breed. Sad part of the story is yet to be revealed. One of my friend asked Rani from me. Rani was then like other GSDs; she could eat well, run to fetch things, pull like other show dogs, and could walk with full confidence. I gave Rani to my friend for free as he promised me to take care of her. Bad news was waiting for me the following week. The guy rang up to me and said that Rani fell down from the 35 ft high terrace while casing a cat. God saved her, although she had broken her right front limb. I went there to see her and found her plastered. She crawled towards me and laid her head on my lap and slept. I found tears floating her eyes. That was the last day I met with her years back. After that whenever I called that man he was never reachable. Now his number doesn't exist. I went to his house, but neither could I find that guy, nor Rani. I don't know where she is these days and how's she doing. I miss her a lot!

Read out: