Tag Archives: dog

Fair pricing for vet practices

Keeping your canine healthy is a major part to ensuring their happiness and giving you piece of mind.  Finding a good vet is like finding a great doctor; hard to do.  Unfortunately, we don’t get the same level of health insurance for pets like we do for people so price of care often times plays into where we go.

I think there’s a balance between cost of care and level + relationship of care.  Costs can vary widely.  I know when I first moved out to Washington (state, not DC) that I floundered in my attempts to find a good vet.

What's the cost of vet care in your area?

What’s the cost of vet care in your area?

There is a new site called Fairvets that helps you locate or at least know the average cost of care before heading off to a vet.  It’s a great site but it also needs more people to input vet prices.  The site is reliant on individuals giving the costs of their vet care; the more people who participate the more information they’ll have to share.  Currently, in the metro-Detroit area they only show 6 vets.

This will be a great site to bookmark and keep an eye on.  Don’t forget to provide your own vet information to help their site grow!

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UKC Obedience – Real Dogs for Real Assholes

Yes, my title is harsh…but read on and you’ll understand.  If you don’t then leave a comment and let’s discuss!

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This past weekend was the 2014 UKC Premier and as is tradition I was there with my mom and friend.  It’s tradition for us to stay in a hotel and enjoy all 4 days of the show.  Usually I show my mom’s Silken Windhounds for her but this year I managed to seriously injure my calf while practicing flyball with my golden.  However, that didn’t stop me from enjoying the show!  I am currently processing the photos I took and will get those up here in the next few days.  I have a few posts to write about the 2014 UKC Premier but I want to focus on something that happened that put a damper on our weekend for a bit.

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The UKC Premier features all major dog sporting events:  confirmation, junior showmanship, obedience, rally, agility, lure coursing, weight pulls, dock jumping, and barn hunts (apologies if I missed your sport).  We had spent most of the weekend ringside watching confirmation and decided on Saturday we wanted to go watch some obedience.  Housed in another part of the expo center, we grabbed our chairs and headed off to watch obedience.  There were several rings for rally and several for traditional obedience which was running novice and open.  My friend and I decided we wanted to watch some Open, walked to the ring,  put our chairs against the back wall about 6 feet from the ring and sat down.  We weren’t sitting there more than 5 minutes when a ring steward came up to us and told us we had to move because we were a distraction to the dogs in the ring.  We apologized, picked up our chairs and moved.  Now mind you, we were a good distance from the ring and were positioned by the garbage can and doors; we weren’t talking and couldn’t have been a bigger distraction then the people coming in and out and walking past us.  The dirty glares we were getting from other obedience exhibitors should have killed us on the spot.  Seriously… you would have thought we were screaming with bullhorns at a ballet.

We tried watching her... I'm sure she did great!

We tried watching her… I’m sure she did great!

We set our chairs up and are promptly told we can’t sit there because it’s a fire hazard.  We were a little perplexed.  There were no signs and no indications of where we could and couldn’t sit.  Another UKC representation comes up and tells us we have to sit behind the yellow line as per the Fire Marshal.  We look around and realize that behind the line means squishing back against where all the obedience exhibitors were crating.  There was very little space so we pull our chairs back and start to squeeze in.  Now mind you, there is almost NO space for us to put our chairs so we’re trying to do the best we can.  As we’re attempting to get settled, one of the obedience exhibitors very rudely says to us, “Don’t set your chairs up there, my friend will be coming back soon and you’ll be in her space.”  We look around, flabbergasted.  There is literally no other space for us to set up.  The obedience exhibitor crates are literally wall to yellow line and then have their chairs set up in front.  You couldn’t squeeze a chair in anywhere if your life depended on it.  So, we picked up our chairs and left.  What a shame!

I remember when I first started I showed in obedience and they were the most welcoming, easy going people you could ask for in the dog sport.  What happened?  We were so unwelcome and treated rudely that it put a little bit of a damper on our Saturday.  The problem was compounded upon by several factors.  First, the crating.  Confirmation exhibitors aren’t allowed to crate in the same building so why should the obedience folks be allowed to?  If it’s literally the only space for them then they should be limited in exactly where they can crate.  Second, there was no set space for spectators.  The exhibitors were literally taking up all available space behind the yellow line so a spectator could not watch.  The UKC needs to set space aside that can’t be used for crating or exhibitors so that someone coming into the show can sit, watch, learn and enjoy this part of the sport.  Third; the absolutely horrible attitude and treatment from the obedience exhibitors themselves.  There was no reason they couldn’t have moved to make room for us.  Instead we were told to not sit because that was their spot.  Last time I checked, obedience was a dying sport and I don’t think having an ultra-elitist attitude is the way to bring people in.

I think what perplexes me the most about what happened is the attitude of ‘being so quiet you could hear a pin drop’ in the obedience building.  I understand not wanting there to be kids running around screaming or other major distractions but since when do obedience trained competitors need a completely distraction free environment?!  I remember when I trained we trained in all types of conditions and made our own distractions to help our dogs learn to focus.  If your dog can’t handle a couple of gals sitting in chairs watching 6 feet from the ring then you probably aren’t ready to be competing.

Now, you might be reading this thinking I’m a confirmation elitist and I’m not.  I have put obedience and agility titles on dogs as well as finished dogs in their confirmation championship.  I have waited two years for a performance Border Collie to show in flyball, agility and obedience.  I love all aspects of the sport and it pisses me off when one type of exhibitor acts like they are better than another.  All aspects of the sport have their own challenges and require training, patience and dedication.  We get enough gruff from those outside the dog sport that we don’t need to be assholes to one another.

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Filed under Events, Rants

Beautiful Dog Photos – Please Give Credit

I came across this blog post the other day on a site called Dogdose.com.  The post, 13 Jaw Droppingly Beautiful Photos for Dog Lovers does indeed have some absolutely stunning photos of dogs.  As someone who aspires to take pictures that tell a story like these do I was awed, as I’m sure many were.  I almost posted the link back to my Facebook to share until I realized something.  None of the images in the post are credited.  Not a single one.  At least it looks like none are credited.   It’s not until you scroll all the way to the bottom and see the small text called ‘source’ do you get to see who actually took them.

The ‘source’ post gets it almost right.  It lists a description of the photo (not the actual photo name) along with the name of the individual who took it directly below each image.  However, there’s no links to the photographer’s personal site or Flickr Album or other source.  I suppose this is fine for most folks as they just want to see an image and move on.  However, there’s richness to be found in each artist’s portfolio if you take the time to dig further.

For example, this image has been one of my all time favorites:

 

I cannot say enough about this amazing image.  If you give a direct link to the image (you can find it here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/peterprzybille/3915636451/ ) you’ll find a little more context for the image and the story around it:

Alaskan Husky Tex dreaming in the landscape of Northern Norway.

Dog days!

A typical day within the short and intensive period of “Indian Summer” in beginning of September. After the leaves have turned following an onset of frost but just before the first snowfall. I took along Alaskan Husky Tex on a day trip through the coloured scandinavian mountains.

While taking a break he immediately layed down to take a nap.

I could really feel his deep satisfaction resting in his northern territory.

When I took a look through his Flickr account I was blown away.  This image is just one of many.

My ultimate point here is that we need to make sure we give credit in a way that is easy to find, immediate and allows us to easily continue looking at the artist’s work.  In the day and age of everyone having a camera everyone suddenly thinks that they are a photographer and it’s easy to take images like this.  It’s not.

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Everything Tells a Story

I ordered some amazing vintage dog tags off Ebay last week and they arrived yesterday.  I ordered them to use for the leash holders for my new venture, “Bark Culture Boutique” (I’ll make further announcements once my Etsy shop is open but you can like us on Facebook in the meantime).

I love using up-cycled things like this and knew they would look really amazing on the leash holders giving them a unique flair with a little piece of history.  What I didn’t expect though was the questions I’d be left with after looking through them all.  Some of the tags dated back all the way to the 1930s.  As I started cleaning them up I wondered about the dogs they belonged to.  What type of dogs where they?  What was their name?  Who was the family that loved them?

These tags belonged to "Montana".

These tags belonged to “Montana”.

I had one question answered when I flipped over one of the tags and saw the name “Montana” printed in neat handwriting on the back.  As I ran my head over the tag and felt the groves and cold metal, I wondered further about “Montana” and the potential life he led.

Montana

Montana

Another tag really stuck out to me, not only because it was a bright red plastic tag among an entire lot of metal, but because of the imprint:  “City of Omaha Guide Dog”.

Who did this belong to?

Who did this belong to?

 

Again, I wondered about this dog who (likely) served someone in need faithfully and unconditionally.

Everything tells a story and these tags have a story behind them even if it’s only the ones we make up to fill the gaps.  If nothing else, they should serve as a reminder that dogs are our friends, our family and unconditional companions.  Make sure that the stories they leave are ones that live in your hearts.

Here are the tags I received.  I wish I knew the story for each one.

Lot 1 - Vintage Dog Tags

Lot 1 – Vintage Dog Tags

Lot 2 - Vintage Dog Tags

Lot 2 – Vintage Dog Tags

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Amazing coat patterns on dogs

Check these coat patterns out.  Genetics are an amazing thing.

33 Dogs with Unique Coats

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WoofTrax

You’ll notice a new image on my sidebar.  I found this great app that allows you to help your local shelters just by walking your dog!

Intrigued?  Read on:

Don’t just Take your Dog for a Walk, Take your Walk for a Dog!

Walking your Dog just got a whole lot Better! Now you can Raise Money for your Local Shelter every time time you walk your dog.

Taking your dog for a walk is now not only good for you and your dog, it raises money to support all pets at your local animal shelter. The Take your Walk for a Dog program is a revolutionary Dog-powered fundraising tool for animal shelters that uses a free mobile App to promote healthy pets and healthy humans while raising money to support local shelters. Your Local Animal Shelter is partnering with WoofTrax, Inc., to introduce and promote the App in this area. “You walk your dog anyway,” says Mike Katz, Director of Community Relations for WoofTrax. “Now, for every mile you walk, we donate to to your local animal shelter.”

“There is no easier way to raise funds for our local shelter then using the app every time you grab for the leash!” says JoAnn Goldberger, Director of Development, Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Center, Baltimore, MD. Whether you are walking with your dogs or by yourself, the App is a way to keep track of your walks, encouraging you to walk more every day. That’s good for your health and your dog’s health. Plus, you have the satisfaction of knowing that your walking directly benefits your local shelter.

One of the key developers of the Take your Walk for a Dog program is the “WoofDriver,” a world famous dog-powered sporting lifestyle expert. WoofDriver focuses on new and exciting ways to exercise, train, and spend time with your dog. You can see videos of the WoofDriver in action at Wooftrax.com.

Our community can now support us simply by walking their dogs.  Proceeds directly benefit the many homeless animals that come to our local shelter each year and support the ongoing good work that our local shelter does in our community.

If you would like additional information about Walk for a Dog, or if you have any questions, visit wooftrax.com.

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Purina sues Blue Buffalo

Even if you don’t feed Blue Buffalo this is worth a read!  I’ll be watching this case and curious over the outcome.

Purina has just filed a lawsuit against Blue Buffalo over false claims that Blue Buffalo makes in discussing their food.

Nestle Purina Sues Over Pet Food Competitor Claims

The suit claims that testing by an independent lab and funded by Purina showed that several Blue Buffalo products contained “significant” percentages of poultry byproduct meal and corn. The suit also says several products promoted as “grain-free” contain rice hulls.

I hope that Purina will release the actual report findings so the consumer can decide for themselves.

  • How many batches of food were tested?  Several could mean 2, 3 or 10.  Was there any time between batches or were current batches on the shelf tested?
  • What varieties were tested?  Blue Buffalo has well over 50 varieties of dry dog food alone.
  • Who conducted the testing; Purina or a separate chemical lab?

If what Purina is saying happens to be true this could have a massive ripple affect throughout the pet food industry.

“Despite Blue Buffalo’s massive marketing barrage, Purina has discovered that Blue Buffalo — and not the ‘big name’ pet food manufacturers Blue Buffalo routinely criticizes in its advertising — is concealing the truth about the ingredients in its products,” the lawsuit states.

Concealing the truth?!  This coming from the company that sells Beneful.  On the website they say this about Beneful:

We know that people want everything in their buddies’ lives to be playful and enjoyable, so we reinvented dog food, making it all about dog fun. Beneful brand dog food can help keep your dog happy and healthy with a perfect balance of real, wholesome ingredients, quality nutrition and great taste. 

Accents like carrots, barley, rice, and green beans

Love the double marketing speak ‘accents’… which in reality means just enough for us to be able to put it on the bag making you think your dog is getting a bunch of veggies from our food.  The truth is, Beneful’s main ingredients are Corn, Chicken-By Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat Flour, and Animal Fat.  These are followed by beef, rice flour and soy flour.  To top it off the food contains artificial coloring (would you believe that owners actually want this in their food?), chelated minerals (making them more difficult to digest and absorb), and menadione which is a controverial form of Vitamin K.  Oh, and all those veggies in the food?  Buried low on the ingredients list (meaning there are trace amounts) is dried carrots and dried peas.

Doesn’t sound entirely wholesome or quality to me.  By using double marketing speak though they aren’t making false claims.  However, who decides what is ‘wholesome’ or ‘quality’?  Corn and Chicken-By Product aren’t exactly top of my list in terms of wholesome or quality for my dog.

Purina is asking Blue Buffalo to pay damages for the profit they made on their ‘unfair claims’:

“The lawsuit asks the court to force Blue Buffalo to run corrective advertising to show that its products contain chicken byproducts, and to pay damages to Nestle Purina “for all gains, profits, savings and advantages obtained by Blue Buffalo as a result of its false advertising and unfair competition.”

In my opinion, Purina is just feeling the pinch of pet owners trending towards high quality foods and wanting the best they can get for their pet.

Sales of more expensive brands rose 68 percent from 2002 to 2012, compared with 19 percent for mid-priced brands and 8 percent for economy brands, according to Euromonitor International.

They want a bigger piece of that 68% and since they aren’t going to start making an actual product to compete in this market, this is as close as they can get.  However, if Blue Buffalo is making false claims I’ll be interested to see what ends up happening to other dog food product claims.  Blue Buffalo of course is going to have to do their own damage control now as individuals who feed this have now been planted the seed of doubt.

 

 

 

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PETA responds to HBO Real Sports segment on dog showing

No big surprises here, but PETA has already jumped on the Real Sports segment on dog showing.   Even less surprising is the message that they took away:

You’ll definitely want to watch the full feature on HBO GO or HBO On Demand and share it with your family and friends, especially those who think they need to have purebreds. It will surely inspire many people always to adopt and never buy their future canine companions and to find something better to watch than contests that exploit “man’s best friend.”

Read more: http://www.peta.org/blog/hbo-real-sports-dog-breeding/#ixzz30DSWdp4D

 

As typical, PETA is using this as an opportunity to decree all purebred dogs as ‘bad news’.  Let’s be realistic here.  Not all breeders are bad.  Not all purebred dogs are bad and not all dog sports are exploiting those who participate.

The answer is not to turn away from the sport nor is it to stop purchasing and breeding purebreds.  That’s the simple extremist answer to a complex problem.  The answer lies in taking a step back and bringing back a true mentality for health in breeding.  We enjoy our purebred dogs not just because of a look (sure that’s part of it) but also because of what they can do.  Breed function should be maintained and if we turn to an adoption only rescue model we’ll look the distinction we love so much in various breeds.  Let’s not let the blind eye to bad practices and a few ‘bad apple’ breeders stand for all purebred dog owners, breeders and aficionados.

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Unnatural Selection – Thoughts

If you haven’t seen the HBO’s Real Sports segment called Unnatural Selection you’re missing out!

Fortunately, I have it right here for you!

Watch this and then come back and see if you agree with me.

Go on.  I’ll wait.  Really.  This is a MUST watch for all individuals involved in the world of dog sports.

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Watch it?  Good.

Now read on:

Overall it was a very impactful 15 minutes.  The phase that stood out to me the most was referring to the AKC as the “Lord of Dog Shows”.  While AKC may like the nomenclature, to me it conjures up something more akin to a world filled with more drama and backstabbing than the series Game of Thrones.  The problem with being a “Lord” is that often you’re too high up in your ivory tower to realize what’s really happening down below.  In this case, they are turning a blind eye to the damage that is being caused to many purebred breeds due to standards that have turned the sport into a mere beauty pageant where form is the end all be all and function be damned.  I’ve talked about this before in length and won’t belabor the point here again.  What the representatives for AKC say in this segment really speaks for itself.

I’d love to see the AKC be taken to task and really answer how they plan to help stop line/in- breedings.  Last year’s Westminster winner was a father to daughter cross and the AKC’s only response was “We stand for happy, healthy dogs.”  They said it so much that I wondered if they truly believe that’s what they are doing with the AKC or if they were told to say that (as if saying it made it actually meaningful).

Now, I’ll admit, it’s not entirely up to the AKC to ‘police’.  Individual breeders need to step up and start taking responsibility.  However, the AKC has enabled this type of poor breeding practice by not doing anything to stop it.  The solution is simple and is already in play in the UK:  Litters that are line/in-bred shouldn’t be allowed to become registered.  Next, start working towards healthy dogs, not just dog that fit a standard on paper.  And finally, make sure that all dogs are certified healthy before being bred.  Don’t leave this up to the individual breeder; make it mandatory.  Is it a lot?  Sure.  But until the collective dog community as a whole can be responsible in their own actions and breeding plans the AKC should step up and really help make “Happy, healthy dogs”.

So, where does that leave the UKC?  They certainly aren’t as ‘angelic’ as the show made them out to be.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love the UKC.  However, Wayne Cavanaugh’s words are great but at the end of the day they are just that… words.  Words without any action behind them are meaningless.  I think the UKC has started making strides in the right direction but in the years since coming aboard it’s been business as usual for the UKC.  Mr. Cavanaugh has been president of the UKC since 2000.  UKC still has politics.  UKC still runs into the same issues of breeding for ‘looks’.  UKC still see’s judges putting up dogs because of the ‘friends and favors’ ideology that runs through dog shows.   Like I said, I like the UKC and prefer them and their mission over the AKC but they are far from perfect.  14 years is long enough and I think Mr. Cavanaugh needs to be more than ideology and put words into action more.

Regardless of who is right or which organization is better, at the end of the day it’s the dogs who are going to continue to suffer if something isn’t done.  I love dogs.  They are a passion.  I love dog sports.  I don’t want to see them go away but I do want to see an organization truly stand for ‘happy, healthy dogs’.

What did you think?

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Filed under Breeders, Events

Anatomy of the Dog – Studying

I’ve recently embarked on learning the anatomy of the dog both inside and out.  The task is pretty daunting but will serve me well in the future.  I have a few study aids that I absolutely love and wanted to share in case anyone else out there is looking for something to help them learn more about their own dog’s anatomy.

You may ask yourself, ‘why should I learn’?  Well… there are several good reasons for every layman to know about dog anatomy:

  1. Helps you be better educated to your dog’s overall health and well being.
  2. Integral to properly grooming a dog; knowing structure makes you a better groomer.
  3. Allows you to identify problems before they become severe.
  4. If you’re a breeder, trainer or judge, this helps you understand, type, movement and the best ways to target training, warm-ups and workouts.

While the task may be intimidating I have found that the best way to study is through a variety of different study aids.  

  1. Flash cards.  You can make them yourself or purchase a great set on Amazon.  
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    Available on Amazon

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    Study side example.

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    Worksheet / Study test side example

    I have found this set to be a really good bargain at around $11 and if you scan the cards in you’ll be able to have a never ending set of worksheets.  Each card has information on one side and a blank worksheet side for you to use.  You can find the set: HERE.

  2. Dog Anatomy Model.  Great for having a visual representation that you can touch, turn over, stare at, and take apart (while your actual dog can be useful for this you might not get them to cooperate for as long as you’d like or need).  Tedco makes both a great anatomy model as well as a more detailed skeleton one.  I own the anatomy one and find it to be helpful for learning both external and internal parts of the dog.  Again, you can purchase these on Amazon.  The more detailed anatomy model will set you back $26 and the skeleton model will cost around $17.  The one thing I will say is that these are not toys and should be handled carefully so as to not break any of the parts you might take in and out while studying.

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    Lastly, coloring atlas are another great tool.  I have been on the prowl for an in-expensive one but have yet to snag one.  These tend to be used in vet school so come with a hefty ‘college textbook price’.  I’ve found a few sheets to start using and have found them to be instrumental in remembering the various structures and placement.  There is no substitute for making that mental connection by doing.  

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As you can see, there are tons of great tools out there!  No better way than to dive right in.  There’s also a good deal of fantastic books, richly detailed and easy to read.  I currently have several in my library and will update once I have had a chance to read through them better to give a thorough review.

Happy Studying!

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