Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I can't resist puppies - can you?

Here's adorable 5-month old Mac.  Clearly Lexi wants him to play, and clearly he is not a bit interested.

Since Lexi is a year older, she clearly thinks she is the boss of Mac.  

Mac evidently has a whole different idea of who bosses who!

Finally Mac agrees to go for a romp with Lexi.  It may look as if she's won, but I think she's forgotten what being a puppy entails.

A moment of inattention on Mac's part, and  BOOM!  He crashes right into Lexi full force!

Now Mac knows better than to interfere with Lexi when she's taken charge, especially when Lexi stole all the treats with no intention of sharing!  (See the bag in her mouth?)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Puppies!!

These are the cutest Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier pups you could ever imagine!  They are both purebred Wheaten Terriers, and they are both just babies. Gemma (in the back) is only 10 months old.  Mac, her adopted baby brother, is only 5 months old!  They might not look like they are the identical breed to you, but  Wheaten Terrier puppies look very different than the adult dogs, and these two are in different stages of their development towards adulthood.

Gemma and Mac had their first Play Group this morning, and we had a blast!  I admit to having a strong preference for the breed, and of course I can't resist a puppy of any breed - who can?  But much of my admiration and enthusiasm for Wheaten Terriers is due to the fact that my Socrates is a Wheatable, or a mixed breed that contains some Wheaten Terrier in the mix.

You can see a slight resemblance between Socrates and Gemma in this photo, even though Socrates is quite a bit smaller and he doesn't have the pure wheaten colored coat that an adult dog would have.  But the similarities go far beyond looks.  Socrates has a lot of personality traits that are wheaten-like.  He loves people and never met a stranger he didn't didn't want to kiss.  He is happy, bouncy, exuberant, and affectionate - all Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier traits.  Socrates and Gemma got along famously all day!

The most important thing about our first Puppy Play Group was that everyone enjoyed themselves, despite the pups inexperience in dog to dog socialization.  They are still young enough to adapt easily to new experiences.
Mac had an especially good time chasing after everyone, but it was clearly Lexi he favored.  She was not inclined to get romantic with him, if you know what I mean, but she let him know her boundaries and all was well between them after that.

This was a particularly funny moment.  All three dogs are riveted to the sight and sound of a helicopter flying over the yard.  I imagine it was there because of the Boston Marathon being run just a mile or two away from us, but it was clearly an astounding apparition to Gemma, Mac, and Lexi.  

By the time the Play Group was winding down, Gemma was absolutely exhausted.  It was quite an overwhelming change for her to be interacting with strange new dogs and being somewhere strange without a single one of her human family members nearby.  But being physically drained didn't stop her from covering me with kisses when she got home.  I beleive we are all going to become very good friends very soon!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Maybe Babies

Have you ever seen such darling little dogies in your life? These two Maltese mixes are adopted brothers. The older dog is on the right.  He was bitten by a tick three weeks ago and is still having troublesome symptoms. He's trembling and he's limping, which are exactly the symptoms Socrates suffered when he had a tick born illness that required weeks of antibiotics.  He was tested at the vets when they found the tick three weeks ago, but since his symptoms have not improved he was going back to the vet after he tried out his first play group at Frisky Fido.

Poor little guy also gained 5 pounds over the winter - a huge increase for a dog that weighted 9 pounds before winter started.  His owner is thinking that Play Groups and Trail Walks will get him back in shape much faster than his daily leashed walks, and she's absolutely correct.  Getting an overweight dog back into shape is one of the major reasons dog owners contact Frisky Fido.  (His owner is also going back to work, which is another major reason for needing dog walkers and pet sitters). 

This little darling is Bubbles, a two year old Maltese mixed with maybe Shih tzu and/or possibly Tibetan Terrier?  He is an absolutely irresistible little guy, as you can see.  Poor bubbles is also facing a medical trauma in the next week or two; he's getting neutered!

What's really extra wonderful about these two dogs is that they are friendly, confident, and pretty well socialized already.  They love to run and play,as you can see by Bubble's glorious grin in this photo.

Both the Maltese mixes looked amazingly like Buddy, my partner's dog. They were even similar in size.  But Buddy has no Maltese in his mix - as far as I know, anyway!

I was really taken by these two pups, but considering their health issues, a vigorous exercise program might not be in the cards at this time.  I hope they both recover quickly and that they join one of our little groups very soon.  Who wouldn't want to pal around with them, right? :)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Play Groups are Plenty of Fun

Sometimes I think people get the wrong idea about Play Groups for dogs. The fact is that dogs get as much exercise during a Play Group as they do on a Trail Run or a visit to the dog park.  Sometimes, a Play Group is more fun and more tiring than any other option!

How could a Play Group beat a trail walk for fun?  Well, there are a few reasons.  Some dogs are overwhelmed by the number and size and sounds of large groups of dogs, and you run across large groups of dogs on the trails, in the fields, and just about anywhere.  These encounters can stress out some dogs, or even frighten them so much that having fun is the last thing on their mind.

Betty, for example, seems to fear male dogs with loud or aggressive voices.  In a Park, my only option is to comfort her, which may lesson her anxiety but cannot eliminate it as long as there are male dogs barking within earshot.  In a Play Group I can distract or eliminate aggression-like sounds entirely, and I can do it without adversarial punishment.  The end result is that Lexi and Betty can chase each other around till they drop, while the boys play ball or do tricks to earn treats. Everybody is relaxed and happy!
Usually, everyone get alone famously.  If there is one issue we are still working on, it's keeping Socrates from getting dejected.  He has not quite mastered the art of playing silently . . .

and so he sometimes ends up alone for a moment or two.  He always remembers the trick to getting Buddy to play, though.  Just pick up a toy, and Buddy will be happy to join in a merry chase to get it away from Sox.

Buddy is a toy aficionado.  It doesn't matter who has it - he wants it!  The end result is that everybody runs, and everybody runs HARD!  Safe, stress-free happiness.  I think all dogs deserve some of that!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Terrific Togo!

Togo's owner asked me to take some photos of him in action, but the results were so horrible that I'm embarrassed to show them to her.  I know what the problems are, and I should have said I'd be happy to take photos of Togo some other time.  Yesterday, the lack of a lens filter and the blinding midday sun reflecting off of a bright white dog caused all sorts of problems.  

Togo is a magnificent dog, though, and the photos really don't due him justice.   A big, beautiful, pure white Shepard, Togo LOVES playing fetch. I mean, he REALLY LOVES playing fetch.  I don't think you'll see a photo of Togo without a ball in his mouth.  If you do see him without his ball, you can bet your butt he's chasing after it!

As you can see, Togo is playful and fun-loving. He's also gentle with the smaller dogs, friendly and affectionate towards people, and he seems happy all the time. Also, although you might not see it in this photo, he's soaking wet!

He is drenched because he swam across the pond to get his ball when it was thrown into the water. Boy, this dog can swim! He practically ran across the the surface of the pond in his eagerness to reach the ball, and then he swam like a duck until he caught the ball and then swam all the way back to land. And don't forget - that water was COLD! It was icy, icy cold!  If I do get another shot at photographing Togo, I definitely want to get a picture of that running on water action!

I like this photo because of the mischievousness in Togo's eyes. You can see how much fun he get out of all this running, chasing, and swimming activity.  He's just about grinning with joy - which is exactly what I like to see in a dog.  A dog's happiness is definitely contagious to humankind!  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Some Different Breeds

We saw the cutest Brussels Griffon at the park on Saturday.  She was very well behaved, very friendly, and she had the longest legs I've ever seen on the breed.  In fact, she was one of the largest Brussels Griffons I have seen!

According to the American Kennel Club, the Brussels Griffon should not exceed 12 pounds.  But as you can see, she is very close in size to my 24 pound Lexi.  

They are said to have almost human facial expressions, which certainly held true for this little dog.  You'll also notice that her tail is cropped.  I read somewhere that dogs with cropped tails often have trouble communicating with other dogs, because tail action is part of the language of dogs.  Wagging tails, tails held straight up in the air, tucked under tails, drooping tails; all are an integral part of dog-to-dog communication.  This dog didn't seem particularly affected, but in general I don't care to see a dog with it's tail cut off in order to meet some strange human concept of attractiveness or usefulness.

We also saw an absolutely gorgeous Long Haired German Shepard.   As far as I know, the long hair was once thought to be a fault for a German Shepard, one that would disqualify him from being shown or from being bred. Now, however, there are many breeders who specialize in the long haired variety of German Shepard.  I can see why.  At the same time they manage to look fiercer and larger than their short haired cousins, yet somehow they remind me of a big, cuddly stuffed toy!  

Here the two varieties of German Shepard are circling around each other to check each other out. Clearly nothing was amiss, because they peacefully parted ways and went off in different directions.