Friday, December 28, 2012

The Dog Food Files Part 2: More Food does not equal More Love

Originally Posted 4/13/11.

Podgy pooch Cassie has begun a strict diet after ballooning to over nine stone because she'd been allowed to gorge on roast dinners, takeaways, and fish and chips. The seven-year-old border collie looks almost seal-like after years of unhealthy eating left her over three times the weight she should be. Cassie was brought into the Dog's Trust re-homing centre in Kenilworth, Warks., tipping the scales at 58kg when she should be 18-20kg. They have now been given the task of helping Cassie to slim down so she can be re-homed with a loving family but fear it will take them at least a year. The hefty hound, who is too fat to stand up to eat and suffers painful bed sores all over her body from lying down too often, lived alone with her elderly female owner - who regularly served her gut-busting treats like fish and chips on Fridays and full roast dinners on Sundays.
Picture: / Glen Minikin
I was forwarded this picture from a friend and my jaw literally dropped when i read the article.  This poor border collie girl weighed an astounding 127.6 pounds.  (That is the same as my Qwill, Trophy and Shiner combined!!)  All because she was fed dinners of fish and chips and clearly not exercised as she should.

Ask any of my dogs and they will tell you I starve them, and to please offer them some more cookies for their empty tummies.

My dogs are liars.

Feeding Guidelines on dog food bags are just suggestions.  Each dog is an individual with their own metabolic rate.  Qwill and Trophy, for example are about the same weight at 45 pounds.  Qwill can gain weight by breathing air, Trophy loses weight while sleeping.  Qwill eats 1 1/4 cups of food divided by two meals, and Trophy usually eats 2 cups per day.

When training, it is best to use tiny pieces of treats.  The size of the treat is not important - the act of giving the treat to your dog is what is rewarding.  Offer them one large chunk of food, and it is still only one treat... but break that large piece into 5 treats and your dog has a jackpot!  In that aspect dogs are like children.  Try to trade a child 3 pennies for their quarter and see how excited they are to now have 3 coins!

So how much food should you feed?  I'll cover that in Part 3.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Dog Food Files: Part 1 Top 5 dog foods that make my skin crawl

Originally Posted 4/29/11. Edited.

I've been trying to write this article for several WEEKS.  It's not as easy as you would think to write an article on pet food.  Mainly because a lot of people feed the foods I'm about to talk about and some probably don't hear what I have to say.  Others, however, probably don't know any better.  The foods I list below have large marketing campaigns that have made their food public knowledge and have designed their packaging to be pleasing to the eye.  What would happen to the quality of the dog food, I wonder, if they stopped spending billions on large advertising campaigns and instead used the money to, I don't know, buy better ingredients?  Food for thought right there.

Stick around to the end of the article - ESPECIALLY if you feed any of the foods listed below - I'll go over some dog foods that are of higher quality and how to pick the right food for your dog.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Heart Is Breaking

My Macaroni Man is getting adopted tomorrow.... buy the most horrible person possible.

The rescue decided that the very day the radiologist called and told them that Mac's "suggested OCD" that was so small they couldn't see it and if he doesn't limp in the next two months it means he healed himself and will be able to compete in ANY SPORT without restriction, they decided to adopt him out to the only approved application that had come in for him.  That application happens to be from a woman who helped care for him when he lived at the golf course (the golf course that ruined him and wanted to have him PTS when he was limping instead of fixing him and had a 10 month old puppy 7 pounds overweight).

So my Mac.  My lovely Macaroni Man is going right back into the hell he came from.

And the rescue is fine with that.

Scratch the fact that I told them I finally found a SPORT home interested in him... but no, since they don't have any other applications in RIGHT NOW, they apparently don't matter.

I am so heartbroken.

I feel like I failed him.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Missing The Point

I recently had to take down my dog training blog I wrote through work because corporate policies changed and the old training methods aren't compatible with the new methods.  It's a bunch of bologna that I don't want to get into, but I love several of the posts I had written.  So until I start my own training business and can say what I want professionally, I'm going to move some of the posts over here.

Originally posted 10/15/11, Edited

Something that has been on my mind lately is something I think many people forget about in the dog sport world.

Dog training is about the journey, about the bond you build with your dog while teaching them to do awesome behaviors. It is *not* about the awards you win at the end of training when your dog is at competition level - that's just the icing on the cake!  Or at least, in my opinion, that's the way it should be.

If you want your dog to compete in a sport, you need to make sure you understand that your dog (most likely) isn't going to just *GET IT*, you need to brake down the steps in order to teach them what you expect.  You probably need to do some cross training to make sure that your dog isn't only in great physical health, but that they understand body awareness and have the mental strength to navigate a course.  For most dogs it's going to take a long time to learn these complicated behavior chains.

If you focus on the end result you're going to frustrate yourself and, more likely than not, burn out your dog pushing them farther than they are ready to go.  If you ever find your self saying "I want to do this with my dog, but I don't want to put the work in to get them there" then perhaps it's time to reevaluate your goals.

Teaching your dog - teaching them anything from sit, to shake, to maneuvering an agility course, or running flyball should be just as fun as the titles you add to their names.

You're going to have good days. You're going to have bad days. You're going to have days where you are going to swear your dog forgot every single thing you ever taught him.   Then you're going to have those magical days where everything clicks, it all comes together and you feel on top of the world.

And those days are going to make the journey seem so worthwhile.

Friday, December 14, 2012

If I Had A Million Dollars: 11 Dog Breeds I Must Own (Or Own Again) Before I Die

Yesterday I highlighted the dog breeds you couldn't pay me to own.  Today I will highlight the breeds that I would really, really like to own someday (or, you know, own more of).

Number 1: Border Collies
Obviously.  I love this breed. I love everything about this breed.  I will never NOT own a border collie, and seriously if I own nothing but border collies for the rest of my life, that will be ok.

Number 2: Australian Shepherds
Similar to my borders, but with silly, and sometimes stubborn tendencies.  Bouncier. Much Bouncier.

Number 3: English Setters - Field Variety Only
What can I say, I really love Pan.  I totally would own another setter some day. Even though she's twitchy.  Has to be the field variety, however.  I like their structure better, lighter bone.

Number 4: Boston Terriers
I'm really not a huge fan of little dogs.  Primarily because they pee everywhere, and I'm afraid my dogs will eat them.  I think a Boston could really hold his own in my house.  I used to dislike Bostons when I worked at a vet clinic, but this is one breed that working with in daycare has brought me around to.

Number 5: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Again, not a fan of little dogs, but I just LOVE cavies!  They are some of the sweetest dogs I've ever met.  The dog pictured was named Tiffany, she died very, very unexpectedly over a year ago and we ALL still miss her.  As in randomly someone will say "I miss Tiffany" out of the blue at least twice a month.  Lots of health problems in the breed, unfortunately.

Number 6: Whippets (perhaps also and Italian Greyhound)
Whippets were on my list before I started playing flyball, but even more so now.  :)  I think Trophy would have a ball with a Whippet in the house since playing chase is his favorite game.

Number 7: Dachshunds
Confession: I really want I doxie so I can post pictures of my wiener on the internet. (I currently have an obsession with posting other people's wieners on the internet, since i don't have one).  This is one breed that hasn't been spoiled by one bad dog (as we have one at work whom I LOATHE).  Surprisingly we don't have that many bad ones in the bunch as this breed is known for bad attitudes and biters.

Number 8: German Short-haired Pointers
I don't really have a reason behind liking this breed, other than this is Addie, and I love her.  She is probably Trophy's best friend at work.  She's smart, and reminds me a lot of my borders.

Number 9: Staffordshire Bull Terriers
I really want a pitbull type dog, and I think the staffy is the right fit for me. Small but tenacious. Love the 3 on my flyball team.

Number 10: Ibizan Hound and/or Saluki
In the hound world I like the sight hounds. Out of the sight hounds I think these two are at the top of my list, not many actively playing flyball either, but I think they could excel at it.  I love the graceful look of these dogs gained from their long legs.  Beautiful movers. (Photo courtesy of Marissa Jo)

Number 11: Great Dane
I bet this one is a surprise, especially how I crossed off several breeds yesterday because they were too big and drooly.  I've loved Danes for a while... unfortunately Trophy STRONGLY disagrees (we had an incident at a dog park involving a Dane and Trophy just can't get over it).  And then... there is that problem about the drool.  Probably (unfortunately) never going to own one (especially while Trophy is alive, and he's never allowed to die, so there), but I surf the Dane rescues every now and again and dream.

Runner's up:
Chinese Crested - the hairless ones look like PONIES!

So tell me!  What dog breeds do YOU want to own some day?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Not For A Million Dollars: 11 Dog Breeds I Could Never Own

Working for the past three and a half years in a dog daycare will open your eyes to a lot of things. For me it has opened my eyes to the depth of human stupidity, and also to several dog breeds that you could not PAY me to own.

Of course, this is a very subjective subject. My findings are mainly based on the dogs i have come in contact with; many of whom are problem dogs at home who are brought to daycare because it is cheaper than hiring a trainer. Also, many breeds are owned by people who should NOT own a certain breed either because they are too busy/lazy to give the dog what it needs or by just being totally oblivious (see note above about witnessing the depth of human stupidity).

If your breed of choice is on this list and is perfectly well behaved and amazing, that's awesome. I would love to meet him/her.  Truly I know that some of my issues with the dogs below come from ownership issues and not from the breed itself (and in that case i applaud you for being an above average owner).

...but you still couldn't pay me to own one.

So please, do not take the following as a stab in the heart if your breed is listed, ok? :)

Number 1: American Bull Dogs
These dogs are my number 1 pet peeves at work.  99% of them we have severe problems with, mostly because their owners are oblivious to their dog's social problems.

Number 2: Mastiffs (any variety)
Mostly because they are bigger than anything I would ever want to own... and I think they are uuuuugly.

Number 3: Old English Bulldogs
Walking health catastrophes...  I think the thing that pisses me off the most about the breed is how oblivious breeders and owners are to their problems. It's sad.  Also, their facial structures lead to many a dog fight because they can't show normal canine emotions.

Number 4: Boxers
 Lack of self control and inability to play nicely puts this dog on my list.  The fact that my neighbors own a boxer and he is a royal PITA doesn't help their case.  Years ago previous neighbors had a boxer and I loved her... not anymore. Ruined by doggy daycare for me.

Number 5: St. Bernards
Too big and waaay too much drool.

Number 6: Rottweilers
Another dog that was ruined for me.  Another neighbor had a rottie who practically purred she was so sweet. Now I strongly dislike them.

Number 7: Beagles
Cute until they open their mouths, and then I want to rip out their vocal chords.

Number 8: Huskies
My roommate in college had a husky.  Hate them. They are mean, and they almost always bite when you try to touch them or move them, and god forbid you try to take them by the collar.   Lots of dog fights involve huskies at work.

Number 9: German Shepherd Dogs
This one makes me a little sad to include as I love the herding breeds.  With one exception, every single GSD I have met at work has severe mental disorders or anxieties.  This breed is a mental nightmare, and don't get me started on structure... Not to mention they like to run up behind other dogs, grab them by the neck, and drag them to the ground while running full speed.  Drives me NUTS.

Number 10: Doodles (any poodle mix "designer breed")
For being the product of a breeding of an incredibly smart dog (poodles) I am so surprised by how DUMB these dogs are.

Number 11: Golden Retrievers

Another breed that is supposed to be intelligent   I strongly believe that the brains have been completely bred out of this dog.  I need a dog with a brain.

Runner up:  Labrador Retrievers.
Another dog that has suffered from having the brains bred out.  I think I could own a lab, because I know that I would be able to turn his/her mushy brain into something worthwhile and Trophy is half lab... but they are LOW LOW LOW LOW on my list.

Ok... so what dog could you never own?

(Follow up, dogs I must own before I die coming soon!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Nothing fun going on

Demo is still sick, well, sort of.  I didn't take him to flyball practice Saturday. Sunday he threw up right before I needed to leave for work, and again Monday before the rice cooled enough to feed him.

He's getting too skinny. I got some chicken legs yesterday and boiled some up to add to his rice.  I haven't started adding back his normal kibble yet - he had just gotten up to 1 cup of kibble with 1/2 cup rice when he threw up again.

I kept Trophy home from agility last week when Demo was at the vet since I didn't know what was wrong with him.  Yesterday Trophy developed some gross diarrhea, so we stayed home from agility again.

So, unfortunately, there is nothing exciting going on here in the world of the Brokenbutts, and no scheduled Flyball practices until after Christmas. :(

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Well, That Escalated Quickly...

We flyballed this past weekend in York, Pennsylvania.  A short 6.5 hour drive through (literally) the mountains east, facing highway robbery (holy crap the tolls!  I could have filled the Vue with gas for what I pain in tolls!), and very few gas stations (it was kind of scary, actually), and we arrived at our destination.

My regular flyball crew was supplemented by my friend Megan and her Aussie, Rowdy. Only 2 of my teammates wanted to go to the tournament, and while I have the dogs to fill out a team we needed another person to run a dog, that's where Megan came in.  She did phenomenally well for her first tournament!

We stopped off at the hotel first, unloaded some of our paltry human belongings, then headed off to the tournament site to set up the crates.  There was no good way out of the hotel to get onto the street we needed to be on.  The 3 vehicles in our caravan ended up taking different streets.  At one point we ended up passing Kris and the whole thing felt like a scene out of a cartoon where there is a room full of doors and when you go in one door you end up in the same room coming out of another door.  

When we got to the fairgrounds, we all drove in circles trying to find the building.... or heck someone with a dog!  We finally did find it and got our boxes, balls, and ball shagger unloaded.  Then we set up our crating area.  We actually had quite a bit of room considering we were only running one team and we had 4 dogs with us not on the team roster!  I got to use the RV mat I won in Davisburg as our floor covering.  The x-pen covers I ordered didn't come in before I left (they arrived about 90 minutes after, grr!) so instead we stacked the crates which worked out pretty well.   

They had informal singles racing going on (it's a NAFA tournament) so Megan and I hung out and watched for a bit so I could kind of show her the flow of the race since she'd never been to a tournament and we don't have full runback to practice in.  Then we headed back to the hotel where a guy had his boxer off leash running around behind the hotel.  I asked him to hold his dog so I can get mine out of the car.  "Oh, she's friendly"  Well, mine are not, especially towards boxers. >_<  Luckily we didn't see them again.

Trophy was his usual jerky self the first night in the hotel.  I crated him, and Rowdy was crated as well since he had some diarrhea.  So, as per usual, i didn't get a good night's sleep.  Trophy's getting better, I get more sleep every night we stay in the hotel, but I still MUCH prefer camping.

So we had 5 races each day.  My plan was to run Pan in 3 and Demo 2 each day.  My goal was also to work on my starting abilities, as I sucked.  Our very first race the opposing team was a mess.  I'm pretty sure they false started every single heat.  The third heat in Pan was getting pissy after their third false start.  She very clearly looked over at their start dog, and exploded down the lanes in her very own false start. Ha. She was having an absolute ball running in start and her times all weekend were extremely consistent 4.6's.  The absolute highlight of my day was getting my starts dialed in.  I got running .05 splits and less, and then it happened.  Let Pan run and i cringed because I was sure it was early.  Stand up and the screen flashes .000 - I thought I broke it!  It took a few seconds to realize what happened and that we got our very first perfect start!

Demo ran his two races, but was pretty slow, running in the upper 4's.  It looked like his boxturn wasn't clean either.  He got his FDCh in his first race, and we accomplished our goal for the weekend and I decided I wasn't going to run him Sunday unless Pan was having a problem.

Saturday night in the hotel was better.  I didn't kennel Trophy, he slept on the bed with everyone, but he was trembling almost the whole night.  He's just wound up too tight and too stressed in the hotel.  My poor boy. :(  He did eventually fall asleep curled up with Pan.

I felt like I got much more sleep that night, but when Sunday dawned I felt like I had been run over by a truck.  It was really hard to get going.
Rowdy learning to chill (compare to first picture of him above!)

Our first race Sunday was a hot mess. The race before ours went really fast.  I had just gotten their boots on when we were in! Almost missed our warmup, didn't get to do a full run through. Second heat pan tried to launch early and ended up with a .2 second start after I tried to quickly reset her. Next heat the other team false started and Pan decided to not wait and reran herself  >_<  After that exertion, she was so slow coming back at the actual start of the heat Trophy bad passed into her.  Trophy did run a 5.0 on a clean heat, so there was some positives i guess.

I went up to watch some of the host club's races.  Mainly, to watch Steve from

When I went back to our crating area they told me Demo had thrown up twice.  I didn't think much of it at the time, even though it is really odd for him to get sick at a tournament.  Then I went up and learned how to line judge (OMG WAS IT SCARY!  I did 3 division 1 teams in a row, and even though they were slower than division 1 teams in our region it was TERRIFYING. I was so tense!)  When I went back to our crating area Demo threw up again.

We finished out racing on Sunday with nothing major happening, packed up the cars, and settled in for awards.
BrokenButt's Total Annihilation FDCh!
Tournament Swag, I love ribbons!

Then we started the journey home. we stopped around 9pm for some sleep as I couldn't keep my eyes open.  1am I'm awoken by Demo getting ready to throw up again.  Finally made it home at 5am where Demo threw up again.  Fell asleep woke up at noon... to Demo throwing up again.  At this point I figured he was hungry since he hadn't eaten since 6am Sunday.  Fed him breakfast and he was fine.  Fed him dinner, he  was fine.  11:30pm he is fast asleep on the floor and then the next thing I know he is projectile vomiting all over the place.

Dropped him off at the vet Tuesday morning along with my cat who is peeing outside of the litterbox.  $300 in tests later for both of them, and nothing is wrong with either.  OH MY FREAKING GOD.  This is the story of my life with my pets.  Something is clearly wrong, since one is vomiting and one isn't using the litterbox, but all tests are normal.  UGH!  Demo is doing better today.  Surviving on rice, but not throwing up.

Kept Trophy home from Agility since I didn't know if this was contagious or not... unfortunately due to my large vet bill, looks like Trophy's agility debut will be pushed back.  Just can't afford it right now. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012


My flyball goals:

-Earn 20,000 points (ONXY) with Trophy in NAFA
-Earn 20,000 points with Trophy in U-FLI
-Earn 20,000 points (ONXY) with Pan in NAFA
-Earn 20,000 points with Pan in U-FLI
-Earn 20,000 points (ONXY) with Demo in NAFA
-Earn 20,000 points with Demo in U-FLI
-Perfect start