It’s never a good thing when you find yourself sitting in the car in the Vet’s parking lot after your folks forgot to feed you breakfast!!!
Wait, what just happened here? A very nice lady was giving me a hug and now I can’t feel my face!
Really folks, it’s just a limp, I feel fine, can we stop this crazy ride now???
Lovely bones! My 8 year old bones & joints are aging very well, no arthritis, and more importantly, NO bone cancer!!!!
I am quite adorable, even when I am drugged!
Even my bones are cute, don’t you think? Digital radiographs are really quite amazing! And my wonderful health care team took terrific care of me. I forgive them for their weird drug hugs, but hope they don’t ever do that again!
Mom tells me the vets says I have to take 4 months off of any physical activity so my shoulder injury can properly heal. That’s a lot of couch surfing! But with enough cookies, I think I can do it. Mom & Dad were very happy, they apparently were very concerned about me. I am happy to be home, where’s my breakfast!?!?!?!
This post is part of a WOOF Support bloghop!
Here’s a little more of my story from my owners point of view, http://thedailybutters.com/?p=530
What is it like to walk in my paws? These days it’s pretty darn easy, 99.9% of the time. Ok well actually for me it’s always been easy, but the folks on the other end of the leash they would like to say I have not always been so good at it. So we have come to some agreements. First, we have agreed if I sit quietly and politely while looking at her when she asks me to, I will get lots of wonderful tasty treats, so long as I ignore the dogs I wish to demand take their business elsewhere. The .1% of the time this falls apart is when a loose uninvited dog comes rushing up into my face, my face, uh hello, I am Butters, you may NOT rush up into my face uninvited, I will smash you. I have learned to temper my impulses and try my best to hold it together, but sometimes, well sometimes I really need to let those dogs know they have come barking up the wrong tree.
You see, my particular type of *reactivity* they tell me it’s called, is not the fearful anxiety based issue that many dogs face, I became this way because I do not like to share. What’s mine is mine, and I grew tired of having other dogs jumping all over me and my Lady leash handler, holder of the tasty goods, when we went out for walks. For a very long time I suggested politely that these dogs leave me and my stuff alone, but being a Golden Retriever everyone just assumed I wanted to meet them, their dog, their cousins, their cousins dogs. And while I am all packaged up like a fluffy I want to meet you, your dog, all your cousins and your cousins dogs, golden retriever the fact is I don’t. You are fine, just leave the dogs who might want to eat my goodies out of this, I don’t want to know them. So having failed to politely suggest to all of these dogs to leave us alone, I found roaring in their faces made their owners promptly whisk them away. I have a big roar, it works rather well at getting other dogs to get away from my stuff.
The leash lady and I have also agreed that since I already have my canine friends and family that I can trust won’t steal my goodies to socialize with, I really don’t need to spend a lot of time getting to know other dogs. I’ve learned to leave it up to the leash lady to inform folks to keep their dogs out of my face and if I wait patiently while she does so I get even more tasty treats! Have I mentioned I like tasty treats? And man I tell you, she is VERY good at dishing those suckers out in a timely manner that makes it very worth my while to watch her closely!
I’m not gonna lie, it hasn’t been all roses and sunshine rainbows. I had so much to learn, it’s not easy to concentrate on the leash Lady when another dog is shouting in my ear. It was not easy for her to change my mind about assuming all dogs anywhere at anytime needed to be warned with a roar that I am not to be mucked with. We spent many months and to this day continue to learn and practice fun things like sit stays, walking politely on a loose leash (man she walks slow, so this is not always easy to do), laying down and staying, walking by things and not looking at them, all these things she insist I know, which I am happy to oblige because she is very generous and fun to learn things from.
And since food and resources are so very important to me, I had to learn how to control myself around the tasty things I adore so much. Here is a little more about that: http://thedailybutters.com/resource-guarder-resource-sharer/
I’m also not going to lie and say I am perfect. I still sometimes forget and let a few roars fly. I still have my limits and if a dog is pushy and all up in my business, I do have something to say about it. But I quickly regain my composure and am able to let it go and move on. I am a much happier dog now that my leash lady has learned how to relax and not be so worried about what might go wrong, and instead just tells me what I should focus on in exchange for happy smiles and tasty goodies. I am happier now that I understand more of the things she is telling me and she is happier now that I do more of these things instead of roaring. So to all my reactive friends out there, keep working hard, it can get better!
Thank you for joining Butters, this is a Bloghop for WOOF SUPORT GROUP
Next month we are heading off for a vacation without taking our pets with us. It’s been over a decade since we’ve left the household for more than a long weekend! There are so many preparations to be done so I thought I’d take a minute and share some ideas with you about preparing to leave your pets and to ask for any tips you may have as well.
First of course is the decision kennel vs pet sitter. This is always an easy choice for us having chickens, rabbits and outdoor kitties, we really do need someone available to come to our home. Personally I have always been more of a fan of having someone stay in our home as we do seem to always have older or immune compromised pets when the need for pet care rolls around, and at Ricky’s age a kennel is not the best environment. Boarding kennels certainly do have many advantages if you just have one or two pets to find care for so I am not knocking them by any means.
There are pros and cons to both options so in the end you have to make the choice that makes the best sense to your situation. Things to consider; a young active dog may not do well-being left for long periods of time and may become destructive or perhaps even escape your home or yard in your absence and while boarding kennels are no guarantee from escape they are certainly in general a bit more secure. Young puppies and older dogs maybe stressed by the unfamiliar kennel environment which with the higher numbers of dogs together may put them at a greater risk for illness.
Once you have made your choice, how do you go about finding the right kennel or pet sitter? My first resource is always asking my Veterinarian and other local pet care professionals; groomers, trainers, as well as other dog owners for recommendations. There are professional organizations and listing sites you can use to get some names and numbers, but it is always good to see if you can get some insider recommendations as well. Sometimes you maybe surprised to learn some of these dog folks you already know offer sitting or boarding services.
For many, once they have completed the step of choosing their sitter or kennel all of their pet care planning is complete, but at that step I have only just begun! I provide an instruction sheet for each pet, that lists their feeding routine, medications & supplements, any allergies, the commands they know, favorite toys or types of play, things or situations I know which may cause my pet stress or may present a challenge for the pet care provider, such as fear of fireworks, thunderstorms, etc.
I check to make sure all my contact information is up to date with the microchip registry, that their ID tags are current and the little ring holding them on is in good condition (you’d be surprised how many dogs I’ve cared for that arrive with tags barely hanging on). I contact my Veterinarian to see if they need any special forms filled out to allow my pet care provider to authorize treatment on my behalf, do they require a credit card or some other form of advance payment? Having an older pet, I discuss with my Veterinarian and pet care provider what my wishes are should the unthinkable occur while I am gone and difficult decisions need to be made.
It is never fun to think about, but what if we were to be injured or worse, not ever make it home? I discuss these arrangements with those I choose to be my pets guardian should anything happen to me, and am sure those caring for my pets know how to reach these guardians should an accident occur.
I make sure I have provided the proper amount of food for my pets for their stay or the resources for my pet care provider to obtain more so they can stay on the food they are accustomed to. I take the care to have all their medications and prescriptions filled with easy to understand instructions. If they going to stay with their pet care provider I see if they are able to have their own beds & toys and choose those I will not be worried about being destroyed and are safe for them to be left unattended with. If the pet care provider is coming here I prepare things to entertain and provide my pet with supervised enrichment, like interactive food toys, stuffed kongs loaded and in the freezer for easy use.
It’s February and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner I feel a bit inspired to talk about my favorite subject, LOVE! What does your dog love most? What do you love the most about your dogs? I want to know! I’ll start us off.
Butters of course loves cookies the most of all! His favorites are the Trader Joe’s Peanut butter flavored ones he posted about in his review http://thedailybutters.com/?page_id=29 . He also loves mangoes & bananas. Actually there are few foods he does not love, though he is far more choosy than our previous goldens were, he did turn his nose up at the treat the Veterinarian offered him today, but that maybe because she said he had to take 2 more weeks off of physical activity. Like most goldens he loves to be close, he wants some part of his body leaned up against some part of yours and is very particular about being in the middle if there are two people he could be snuggling with at once.
He loves to sleep across the top of our bed, the cool wall making the warmth of snuggling tolerable for the night. He loves to have his rump scratched most of all, but will happily oblige any form of scritches and scratches you have to offer. His favorite and most adored form of praise or reward is what we call the “car wash” where he stands between my legs and I bump my legs against him while scratching or patting his rump and he runs thru my legs and around back thru again for another round. He loves a neck massage more than any dog I have met.
Butters loves his border collie brother and sister, especially Emily, he just adores her so very much, so much that he happily lets little tiny her boss him around, the whole time with a smile on his face. He loves Ricky so much he will go out of his way to keep him safe when we walk now, he uses his big body as a wall anytime we walk along places Ricky may fall. It’s kind of a funny thing since Goldens are renowned for their soft and squishy personalities, but is Butters who would be the first in this house amongst the animals to rush to put himself between any member of this family and harms way. Nobody messes with Butters tribe!
What I love the absolute most about Butters, waking up, his head on my pillow, his soft warm breath blowing into my neck, opening my eyes and watching his face light up when my eyes meet his, he scrunches his face into a smile and you feel the thump of his tail softly hitting the wall or bed. You cannot live with Butters and not feel very special and loved. I adore the way he notices everything! When you come home from getting a haircut he stops in his tracks, looks up at your head, tilts his head a couple of times, then smiles and snorts his approval. When we recently painted the house, when the dogs were finally free to be back in the space once the paint dried, he walked around from room to room looking at all the walls, every single wall.
I love it so much when he does the cookie head tilt, ZOMG, he can really get anything he wants with that little head tilt, anything! I love how he has managed to teach us which stare means I have to potty, which one means I wish you could move so I can sit there, and the I think I really need a cookie now stare. I love his mastery of snuggling, I mean I have met some cuddly dogs in my life, but this guy, you can spoon with him all night and he can take it. He never pushes you away or walks away from your cuddle. I love the way he smells, with his little hint of vanilla, the very top of his head, between his ears, that’s where he smells the best. Of course his big soft ears are also quite irresistible. I love to kiss his face right below his nose, where his whiskers are their softest. And who can not love that face of his! His giant head, those big brown eyes, melts me. If I am sad, the best place in the whole wide world is with my face buried into the fur between his ear and his shoulder, it feels like hugging a lion.
One of the benefits of buying your purebred puppy from a responsible breeder if you choose to buy a puppy rather than rescue, is that on down the road if you keep in contact with them, they can keep you informed of any possible hereditary issues your dogs family line is experiencing. I was incredibly thankful recently to have heard from Butters breeder who contacted me to let me know that one of his litter mates was diagnosed with Pigmentary Uveitis, which left undiscovered and untreated can lead to glaucoma and a loss of eye sight.
I immediately made an appointment with the veterinarian to have his eyes checked, however this condition in it’s earliest stages can only be found by an ophthalmologist as it requires special equipment that allows them to see the back areas of the eye. I called the closest veterinary eye specialist and was lucky to get their last available appointment for the week, the very next day! So in the morning I zipped the three hours up the freeway to have his eyes checked. She checked his eyes and did find that he has the tiniest of changes that indicate he is likely developing this condition. So we started him on treatment immediately!
She is very optimistic that with how incredibly early we found this, with the daily treatment we should be able to hold off the advancement of this disease and save his eye sight. Phew! I can tell you, that though I have been one who keeps up on my dogs health, this was something not even on my radar. It generally does not show up until much later in a dog’s life and the symptoms are very subtle if any until the eyes are starting to suffer glaucoma. I do have his eyes checked, usually once a year, but think nothing much of it since before this his family tree had no eye issues to be concerned about. But last year I was away the weekend of the dog show when the specialist comes to town and I usually have them checked. I hate to think had I waited until July when I intended to have them checked again.
Usually the first symptoms are squinting, redness of the whites of their eyes, or excessive tearing, the symptoms are sometimes misdiagnosed as allergies by a regular veterinarian so if your golden retriever is showing these signs it is probably worth it to get their eyes examined by a specialist. And it is suggested that all golden retrievers whether they are being bred or not, have a yearly eye exam, as the best chances for treatment success are with early detection.
Here is a link to look up certified ophthalmologists in your area:
The message that Butters and his people would like to spread is to be proactive in knowing what your dog’s breed hereditary issues maybe and to do your best to follow the recommendations for screening for these issues. As well as, be sure to stay in contact with your dogs breeder and let them know anytime your dog develops any possible hereditary issues so they may let the rest of the owners know what to be on the lookout for. Together we can improve the quality of our dogs and future dogs lives!
Do keep in mind that responsible breeders do all they can to ensure the future health of their breed and the puppies they bred, however many diseases like Pigmentary Uveitis show up so late in life, well after the dogs have passed breeding age, are simply too difficult to predict and prevent until we understand more about the causes of these diseases. But with our help and communication together we can all keep moving in the right direction with each new generation.
I’m trying to think if we’ve ever owned a dog that didn’t love to play fetch. I don’t think so. I’ve counseled many dog owners on how to teach their dogs to play fetch and I’ve noticed a few common issues that some folks seem to have in developing this skill with their pooches.
So here are my tips and suggestions for helping you & your dog to learn to love enjoying fetch together. Step one is to see if you can figure out your dog’s motivation for fetch is, I generally see it to be one of the following: they are excited by the motion of the toy (chasing/prey drive), they are excited by the acquisition of a favored item (ownership/enjoy holding& carrying). It can certainly be a mix of these things, but if I know which of these things excites them the most I can more easily teach them to love playing fetch with me.
Most of these reasons are inherent to a certain extent and if you look at their breeding you can usually get a hint as to which direction to go. So for example a herding dog is usually going to love fetch for the fun of chasing the moving toy, most retrievers have a strong desire to hold and clutch things and they are motivated to get the toy and get to hold & carry it. There are also some breed strengths and weaknesses that make it easier or more challenging to teach fetch, for example a border collie’s visual memory is so much less than a golden retrievers is, so if the toy is still for too long my border collie might forget all about it out there waiting for them, vs my golden retriever who was bred to be able to keep track of multiple birds that fall and as such has a much longer memory of that toy that stopped moving.
Some breeds have less of the prey drive instincts that make teaching fetch easier. So for example a breed like a livestock protection dog is bred to live among sheep and have no interest in chasing them. So the idea of chasing something you just threw away is going to take some more work on your part than trying to convince a herding dog to run and chase it.
So taking these breed characteristics into account when I start teaching my border collie to play fetch I know: she wants most of all for the toy to move quickly again, and that she is likely to have trouble tracking it and staying focused if I throw the ball beyond her scope. So my initial work is going to be on keeping the fun going and making it a game of action! I am going to have at least 3-4 tennis balls, and I am going to be the center spoke of a wheel, each new ball being thrown in a direction that requires my puppy to run back to me, for the next toy to fly. I am not going to worry about her handing me the toy until she gets the concept that she has to run back to me to make the next toy move.
For dogs that already love to play tug, you can take advantage of that and when tugging drop the toy and back away slowly and when the pup puts the toy back in your hand start tugging again. Teach them tug restarts when they get the tug into your hand, and then gradually start tossing the toy just a small distance from you, and back up so they have to grab the toy and move to you in order to restart the tug game. Again herding dogs love to chase so if you start running away from them when they have their toy it encourages them to want to chase you, when they catch you restart the tug game!
With my retrievers I know for them the part they love is holding and owning the toy for a bit, they love to show you their prize! But some people just immediately rip the toy from their mouth and throw it again, assuming the dog loves the going and getting it part. If they are just learning fetch they may not find this very motivating! They came to show you their prize and you rip it our of their mouth and huck it again, many dogs just stop bringing it back to show you, because you are very grabby and keep throwing away their prize. Now some retrievers are just born ball chasers and there is nothing you can do to get it wrong with them and your life is all about having slobbery tennis balls being dropped in your lap, but the others you need to develop this skill and you can turn them off of it.
So when my retriever comes back to show me the prize they just earned, I let them hold it and I celebrate their victory with them! I pet them, I tell them how fantastic they are for finding this most special item of wonderfulness, and I let them hold it as long as they want to, for this dog it’s not the chasing that is the most fun, it is the having it that is the most enjoyable! Then I do one of two things, either A the dog is going to want to share with me the glory that is their toy and they will drop it, in which case I will pick it up and throw it again. Or they will want to keep holding it, so when I want to play fetch again I will produce a second identical fetch toy and show it to them, when they spit out the ball they have I throw the new one and repeat the above step.
When I am teaching my puppy to play fetch with me I never grab the toy from their mouth, I let them volunteer to drop it or not, it’s a matter of dropping the one they have to go get another one, not about me taking what they have. If your dogs have a tendency to play keep away with their toys from you, it probably means you have been much too quick to grab their toy from them and it has become a game of possession rather than a cooperative game of fetch.
In general I find that people are much to much of a hurry to get the dog delivering the toy directly to their hands and spend so much time trying to get this that they take much of the fun out of the game. Here’s a secret, once your dog LOVES to play fetch you can put all the rules you want on the game, because they need you to play this game with them. But if you put the control in before they love the game they might just go find another game to play because yours is too difficult to figure out.
The golden rule of play, fun comes first!