On dogs and leashes: A question

I wasn’t sure about writing this post. This blog is about positive things and this is not in line with that. If you’re someone that’s sensitive about animals, I caution you to read no further.

I was walking my doggies yesterday and we walked by a group of people sitting and chatting. They had two dogs. One wasn’t on a leash and it attacked us.

A horrible dog fight ensued.

Rest assured, my lovely reader that there were no injuries. At least none of the type that leave blood behind. Still, there were bites and the other dog left limping.

And I was a shaky mess by the time it was all over.

I called the city to report the incident and they gave me some recommendations. Of course, they would prefer everyone keep their dog on a leash or behind a fence so that this sort of incident doesn’t happen. But, since some people don’t, they recommended carrying dog spray. Apparently, the spray doesn’t do any permanent damage but will stop a dog from attacking.

I thought I’d share this incident and ask for ideas. Does anyone else have experience with this and do they have any suggestions? (hopefully one that doesn’t involve hurting any of the dogs)

A gift for Ocean

Ocean is one of our doggies. Unlike River, our other pooch, she’s full of energy. He’d rather lay around all day but Ocean bounces around our house like a jack-in-the-box.

Since they both have different levels of energy and they insist on walking together, it’s hard to know how long to walk them. Too long, you tire River out. Too short and Ocean is antsy.

Then, I found this.

 

It might look weird but that contraption is actually a backpack for dogs. You put it on their back and strap it around them. In the pockets, they can carry anything and, by doing so, they burn a little more energy than simply walking.

(credit:strangezoo.com)

I wondered if Ocean would tolerate it, but she loved it. And now, she carries our house keys, our bags for…well…for…ahem…poop. And she does so with delight at her little job.

This has resulted in us doing more walks and longer walks than usual, which she has absolutely loved and River, if not delighted, at least he has done a bit of exercise.

So has yours truly. A win-win. I love those!

Where I rant about my dogs

We watched the movie John Wick yesterday and I couldn’t get over the little puppy who stars in it. Adorably cute, the little beagle was a model of puppy cuteness and good behaviour. So much so, I immediately wished my own two fluff-balls could at least learn something from him.

He never once bothered the humans around him to get a petting or with an inappropriate whine. He sat patiently inside his tiny crate until the hero was ready to hold him. He even had the thoughtfulness to look cute while in his crate. If I don’t let my two hounds in seconds after I arrive home, the noise they make could wake the dead.

The little dog never once messed up the house either with bodily functions or with other nasty habits (such as eating the dirt from plants until they die).

And, most importantly, while he did wake his owner up in the morning, he, at only months of age, already had the consideration to do so when the sun was up and not at ungodly hours.

True, the little puppy was a professional actor while the only thing mine can do professionally is get into trouble.

Speaking of trouble…where is Ocean and what is that noise coming from the bedroom?

 

Where my dogs are rebels

If you’re looking to get a dog, one of the things you might do at first is research the breed you’re interested in. Dog breeds vary from one to another and it’s important to know just what the breed you’ve chosen is known for. There are great websites out there that you can read and will let you know what the breed will be like.

I certainly wish my two akitas could read. Maybe that way they’d behave more like the description on the websites.

The ckc.ca website describes the akita as “dignified and reserved, but courageous”. Dignified? Dignified? My dogs sleep on their backs with their furry paws sticking up into the air. Any dignity left them a long time ago.

The dog breed info website says that akitas are ‘docile’…something I’d like to remind my two about when they refuse to come in at night.

Canada’s Guide to Dogs says the akita is used as therapy dog. The mere thought of bringing my bouncy Ocean near a convalescing person makes me shudder with horror. Instead of therapy, she’d bounce all over them and cause new injuries. Not exactly what you’d want in a therapy dog.

Finally, dog breed reviews claims that the akita isn’t overly clingy or over-dependent. Ha! Ocean won’t eat until I give her ‘Morning cuddles’ and River refuses to go to bed unless I’m going with him.

Maybe I should try reading those websites to them again. They might clue in to their missing dignity, docility and calm nature…Then again, maybe not.

I’m not coming in!

Dignity Personified

Dog fights

Akitas were originally bread in the cold mountains of Japan to fight bears. Our pets are a far cry from those tough ancestors of theirs. Instead of roughing it outdoors, they spend most of their waking ours inside a warm home getting many hugs and kisses, regular meals and tidbits. Looking at them, with their thick fur and curly tails, they look more like big teddy bears than anything threatening.

I was thinking something to this effect while I kissed River, who had already finished (aka inhale) his breakfast this morning, when I felt a soft wet nose touch my ear.

Ocean needed kisses.

I turned to pet her and reassure her that I love her just as much when River seized the opportunity and started eating Ocean’s abandoned food.

Ocean spotted the thief right away and the mother of all dog wars began.

Did I call these two fluffy teddy bears? Fighting, they were more like possessed demonic hounds from Dante’s Inferno than any natural creature. The sounds they made alone made me start screaming. Gone were the shy, gentle giants I knew. These wolf-like fiends moved with a speed that shocked me and had no compassion as they tore at each other.

We have had rottweilers and we have had bullmastiffs in our home, but none of them have ever fought with the insane, wild, fury of these two. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I would have never believed it possible.

(An aside note: if your dog is ever involved in a dog fight, a good idea to stop the fight is to turn a water hose on them. The water shocks them into stopping and you don’t get hurt in the process.)

Needless to say, our kitchen doesn’t have a water hose. So, I stared in horror while my beloved pets re-enacted the doggie version of the Exorcist.

Thankfully, the fight ended mere seconds after it started. The dogs shook their fur and walked around as if nothing had happened. I, shaking and crying, tried to remember my First Aid and rushed over to check them for injury while they gave me bored looks. They were gleefully playing in the snow moments later.

Maybe there’s something left from those ancestors after all.

(credit: kimballstock.com)

(credit: kimballstock.com)

Why…

My dogs eat dirt.

It’s not like they don’t have kibble to eat, they do and it’s good kibble too. Like most doggie parents, we’ve tried every type of dog food from the B.A.R.F. diet to cooking for them, to the super-expensive, to cheap. Finally, we’ve settled on ours and they love it, so all is well. Until they eat dirt.

I don’t understand it. A dog’s nose is something like 500 times more powerful than a human’s. Dirt doesn’t exactly smell great to me. With their powerful nose, it must smell even worse to them. So, why eat it?

They eat it from the plant inside my office. It’s a delicacy they simply can’t resist because every day, the poor plant has less and less dirt. I keep refilling the pot but there’s no keeping up with my two hungry akitas. Now, the roots are starting to show and soon, the plant will die.

I’ve tried explaining things to them and tried positive reinforcement with treats. Nothing works. Apparently, good cheese doesn’t have the appeal that dirt does.

Maybe they’re missing a nutrient.

Maybe they’re trying to tell me something.

Maybe they have prairie dog DNA in those fancy CKC pedigrees of theirs.

(credit: zooborns.com)

(credit: zooborns.com)

River’s cheekiness

We’ve had River for about six months. He’s come a long way.

Before us, he lived in a kennel waiting for his chance to…ahem…make little puppies. But life happened, and the breeder gave him to us rather than keep him for the sake of keeping him.

The first time River walked into our house, he crawled on his tummy. Now, he has sniffed and inspected every inch of our home including the garage and surrounding forests. Before, he could only sleep in the safety of his crate. Now, he curls up on his cushion and snores away like only a happy dog can.

IMG_0373

Before being with us, he had only tasted kibble. Cheese, peanut butter and other doggie treats were mysteries to him. Today, he has a fondness for ice cubes made of chicken broth and frozen blueberries on hot days. On cold ones, he likes a warm broth over his kibble to keep his tummy warm–made from lamb if possible. And he loves tuna.

He had never been in a car or a store or met anyone human or other kinds. Today, he loves the car rides with a passion that borders on obsession. He loves Petsmart, where he particularly likes sniffing the little birds until they freak out, and ‘trying out’ new toys. And he loves walks by the water.

Though we keep socializing him, River will always be hesitant with strangers and he’ll always be weary of new places. He’s suspicious of other dogs and the other day even growled at a tiny puppy when it got too excited. At home, he lacks Ocean’s cheekiness. When she wants kisses, she doesn’t meekly follow us around hoping we’ll get the hint. She shoves her body or head under the nearest hand and gives us her ‘sad-eyes’. We immediately melt and kiss and hug her until she’s happy.

But River’s come a long way. He’s discovered the benefits of laying on his back to have his tummy rubbed and this morning, he woke me by laying his head on the bed and licking any part of me he could reach until I got up.

He’s not exactly cheeky yet but I have hope. He’s come so far.

Life with two akitas

My husband and I walked outside this morning to a bit of a surprise. The cherished cover of our bbq was destroyed, shredded beyond recognition and pieces of it were scattered everywhere on the deck.

The evidence:

Now, believe it or not, our two pooches have toys outside to play with. We’ve bought them tug rings, balls made of resistant rubber, bits of knotted rope, smaller tennis balls and other rubber toys. Everything in pairs because, what one has, the other wants.

If they’re not interested in the toys, there’s the mountain of snow to climb (a good six feet tall) and the trenches we’ve dug around the yard. They form a bit of a maze that they run around in.

As well, they have each other to play with.

Toys, mountain, maze, each other…So, of course, they ate the bbq cover instead.

One of the culprits:

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Please note: not an ounce of remorse on that furry face.