I have had the past four days off work and challenged myself to get caught up on blog posts. I think I am pretty much there. I waited to publish all the posts at about the same time - tonight - so that there will be no skipping and jumping chronologically. I should be able to catch up on emails in the next couple of days. It was good to have "time off" and now it is good to be corresponding again.
My blogging, emailing, and Facebooking have necessarily been on hold for the past month. One reason for it was a large annual, work-related responsibility that required a lot of my time and attention. I have completed this project which is great to be able to say.
The other reason is that, on February 1, I began daily training sessions with all four dogs. I have not worked at this type of training in decades and I have been eager to revisit it for several years. But I had really been stuck on HOW? Training methodologies are important to me and things have changed a lot in the years since I was involved. Amidst the myriad of varying information available and my own often highly conflicting views, I had not been able to arrive at the HOW. Not until late last year, that is, when I bought a textbook on learning theory and behavior, ordered some DVDs that I hoped would be helpful (they were!), finally opened a set of excellent horse (yep!) training books I got at Equine Affaire a few years ago, and did some studying on the internet. All of this culminated in the training sessions that began the first of this month.
Things have really clicked (hah!) and my dogs and I are very much enjoying ourselves! But establishing the habit of daily training sessions, planning what to train (first, second, third, etc), how to train, when to train, when to go back, when to maintain, and when to move on, has required a lot of start-up brain power. I spent a good portion of my time at home devoted to this endeavor and I am so glad I did.
It is all coming to me more readily now. I have the basic training structure in place and it has become part of our day. And when I walk past the room where we have been training and see one or more of the dogs sitting there waiting and hopeful for a training session, then I know all the effort to figure out HOW has been worth it. My dogs have craved the training even more than I.
There is a webpage called Dog Vision with some very interesting information on how dogs perceive colors and brightness. How this was all determined seems miraculous to me. But that's my perspective on science anyway. Miraculous. : )
I have known that dogs do not have the visual acuity that humans do. But I have also understood that dogs see movement in low light situations better than people. This is not, however, mentioned in the article.
From a memo posted today by the Companion Events Department of the American Kennel Club:
The AKC Agility staff has finished reviewing the safety concerns posed by the Tire Jump at AKC agility trials. The AKC Board of Directors has approved the regulation allowing the use of a break-away tire for AKC agility trials.
The memo goes on to state that the new tire will consist of two segments connected at the top to allow independent movement of each section, should the dog's actions break the tire open. The setting for the connection is to be 16-20 pounds of horizontal force which shall be confirmed by pulling with a calibrated scale until the segments pull apart.
Breaking apart the tire jump will result in a non-qualifying score (NQ).
Agility exhibitors are very happy with this regulation change. The reason is obvious with just this one example of what can happen when a dog catches so much as toes on the solid tire jump. This is my agility instructor Jennifer Crank and her dog Xtreme.
[Nadja is DC Nadja v Dorndorf L SE, owned by Tina Knoll of Mississippi.]
[Nadja's daughter Babe is ABS3 FC Bob's Babe von Knobydox, also owned by Tina Knoll.]
At today's field trial of the Mission City Dachshund Club of San Antonio, Nadja was called back High and Won the class of nine Field Champion Bitches. Nadja was handled by her owner Tina Knoll.
Babe, handled by Laura Knoll for Tina, placed 3rd in the same class.
Good going and another BIG congratulations to the Knoll tribe for your efforts and successes in Kirbyville, Texas this weekend!!
[Oslo is ABS10 FC Audi Oslo von Dorndorf CA CGC, owned by Stan Knoll of Mississippi.]
[Babe is ABS3 Bob's Babe von Knobydox, owned by Tina Knoll of Mississippi.]
At the field trial of the Mission City Dachshund Club of San Antonio held in Kirbyville, Texas today, Oslo was back High and finished 2nd of 9 Field Champion Dogs. Oslo was handled by his owner Stan Knoll.
And Babe was NBQ of 12 Field Champion Bitches, handled by Laura Knoll for owner Tina Knoll.
Congratulations to all of you!
There is a page on the Dog Show Scores website with a summary of statistics for 2012. Included are all-breed stats for Obedience, Rally, and Agility, broken down by Numbers Entered, Numbers Qualified, and Qualifying Rate per class. I can only imagine how much work goes into compiling and maintaining such a database!
It is interesting to see these statistics. If nothing else, it gives greater appreciation for the efforts and accomplishments of those who participate in these performance sports, especially in some of the more advanced classes.
Also interesting are the numbers showing that the 8" agility dogs have higher Qualifying rates in both Standard and Jumpers than dogs of the other five height divisions. And the 8 inchers very nearly have the highest Q rate in the FAST classes, too.
Taya is 17 days in heat today. I have noticed the past few days that she is leaving a trail of urine when she voids. Normally, she just squats and pees all in one spot but not lately. Some snow allows me to take a photo with a line of urine visible. This one is about 10 feet long, I could not fit it all into one photo frame.
I have never had a female urinate like this. So I have googled a bit to see if I can find whether some bitches in estrus blatantly announce their reproductive status by leaving a long trail of urine. So far, I have not found anything. If anyone is familiar with dogs doing this, I would be interested to know about it.
It will also be interesting to see if the behavior stops in the next couple of days.
[Owl is ABS5 FC Alpine Owl von Dorndorf TD JE NA OAJ SchwhK SchwhKF Wa-T BHP-G LH, owned by Patricia Nance.]
Owl had an appointment today with Dr Mark McCloskey, canine reproduction specialist at the Canine Semen Bank of Columbus. The purpose of the visit was twofold. First, Owl, 8.5 years old, is our choice to father Babe's litter this spring. Second, due to his outstanding individual qualities and his pedigree, I intend to have some of Owl's semen frozen and stored for the possibility of future use. So a good evaluation was the next step.
Taya is in heat so I took her with us. Her presence made collecting Owl very easy. Dr Mark was pleased with the quantity of semen until some blood, too, came with it. He said that Owl has some prostatitis going on and that we should treat the prostate before collecting semen for freezing. Microscopically, Owl's sperm appeared to be about 70% normal and functionally motile. Mark noted that this is quite adequate for natural mating but, ideally, he would like the number of normal sperm to be about 90% before processing for storage. He thinks obtaining this increase is very doable.
Owl will be on 250 mg of Cipro twice a day for 30 days. Then we will reevaluate. I will keep you posted.
[Olive is MACH FC Autumn Olive von Dorndorf VCD1 TD CD RAE MXS MJB NF Wa-T BHP-G, owned by John Willmore and Diane Webb of California.]
So far in 2013, Olive has run five Excellent B Standard courses - and Qualified five times! Her Q rate in Exc B Jumpers is one for three. Those are good stats. In both classes, however, John (handling) and Diane have seen Olive's points accumulation take a hit as her speed has decreased. They plan to run her in Preferred classes starting next month which will have Olive jumping four inches instead of eight. The reduced jump height has been very motivating for her in training.
And how do you like this photo! It is easily one of my very favorites of Olive. Initially, I did not like the blur of John's leg in the picture. But very soon I decided that I agree with Diane - it actually adds something nice to the photo. John's leg is not only framing Olive but, to me, it is really fostering the sense of partnership.
I LOVE this photo!
In November, I posted that the 2012 Ohio deer harvest was going well in my county. The stats for the whole state and the entire season are in - and they are quite similar to last year's.
In the end, my own county, Perry, and most surrounding counties, posted deer harvest numbers that were slightly down. Other Ohio counties showed increases however, and the total count for the state was slightly up: 217, 246 in 2012/2013 compared to 216, 916 in 2011/2012. This is an increase of just 0.15% but a decent increase nevertheless, since in 2011 the archery season opened five days earlier. It has also been reported that hunters donated approximately 1500 deer to Ohio food banks.
I have been intending to write about a little item that I have found to be very useful.
Sometimes I trim the nails of dogs belonging to friends of mine. This includes Griffin and Gretel, owned by Jennifer Fry. It is inevitable that occasionally a nail will be cut a bit short and bleed. I have never found a styptic product that was of any real use in stopping a bleeding nail. This includes 'home remedies' such as flour and cornstarch. Often, all that stuff did was turn a little bit of a mess into a bigger mess.
A couple of years ago when I visited Jennifer and prepared to cut the dogs' nails, Jennifer handed me a small container of a styptic powder that I had not tried before. For that matter, it was a brand I had never seen before. I was skeptical but figured it might be better than nothing.
It was, paws down, the best thing I have ever found to stop nail bleeding. After everything else that I have tried, this powder seemed nearly miraculous. "Hey, THIS stuff works!" I marveled so much that Jennifer gave it to me and, when necessary, I have used it and appreciated it ever since.
It is 21st Century Styptic Powder and it comes in a 0.5 oz plastic jar. (Don't ask me why the link goes to a page that says "great taste, dog approved" because I don't know why!) I found that the easiest way to use it is if I cut a nail a bit too much (doesn't happen often), I moisten the tip of my little finger by touching it to my tongue and touch my finger to the powder in the container, which I open before I begin clipping, just in case. Then I use my little finger to dab the powder on the nail. One dab is usually enough though every once in awhile it takes two. Voila! It works every time!
I was a bit concerned that if I ever run out of the stuff (though I'm nowhere close to it) I would not be able to find it again. Jennifer could not remember where she'd bought it. So I went online and found, lo and behold, that 21st Century is "the exclusive pet wellness brand of PetSmart."
I also saw this powder touted on the Sick Dog Blog as "really effective in stopping the bleeding from a broken or over-clipped nail, along with minor cuts." That blog, too, mentions that, unlike cheaper products, the 21st Century powder does not clump due to moisture in the air and eventually morph into a rock. This is true.
It is nice to have something that works so well!
I am writing about the Yaktrax again because these little devices are so amazingly useful. Made of rubber that threads through small coils of wire, they simply stretch from toe to heel over the bottoms of your footwear and you're good to go. I got the Pro version which has slightly larger wire and a Velcro strap that goes across the boot and further secures the Yaktrax. I like both features.
This afternoon, I walked Nexus, Owl, and Viljo nearly two miles on the snow-covered road as snow continued to fall. It was a very beautiful walk - made more so because I was not at all concerned about skidding and crashing. That was nice!
Here are my boots with Yaktrax attached, soon after I took them off. The wire is not at all sharp. How it works is that the wire coils spread under your weight and dig into the ice or packed snow. The wire does not, however, dig into the floor. I walk across carpet and tile flooring on my way out the door with no problem. I could have put the Yaktrax on my leather boots but for winter weather and tromping around on or near the home place, I just attached them onto my inexpensive canvas boots and left them on.
I turned around from taking the photo of my boots and there was Owl, hovering at my wet jackets (one jacket inside the other) and asking to go again. It was wishful thinking though because that was it for our walk today. Also in the picture is Viljo rolling around down there on the floor. Notice that Viljo's skin and "underhair" look like they might be dry. That is because they are dry. VERY little of the skin of either dog became wet after walking two miles in snow. A good longhaired coat has really remarkable insulating and water-proofing qualities. But that must be the subject of another post. : )
Tero Ratinen, some hunting buddies, and Tero's dachshund have today taken three badgers from one sett. Some of the underground tunnel systems created by badgers are lengthy and elaborate and have been used for decades by many animals.
As a side note, it is so interesting that, like skunks, the heads of badgers have this black/white "warning coloration."
Tero's young bitch Riesa did a good job hunting badgers today. Here she is pulling on a badger that was killed with a gun after hunters dug down to dog and badger to the point where they could make the shot.
It is the dachshund's responsibility to investigate a den, determine whether a badger is home, pursue the animal to a stopping point, oppose it hard enough to keep it in one location, and announce its positive findings and whereabouts by barking.
It is the job of the hunters to dig to the dog and badger, after which they quickly call the dog out and shoot the badger. An obedient dog is a must in this situation. Contrary to common (mis)conception, dachshunds must cooperate with hunters in their work. It cannot be any other way.
You can see that Riesa is wearing a locator collar. The collar has a radio-frequency device that sends signals to a small hand-held box used by the hunters to help determine just where the dog is and how deep. They obviously want to pinpoint location as much as possible before they begin to dig!
This photo is from a hunt on January 7. The hole these guys have dug is 11 feet deep and they are still digging! Afterward, too, they will be filling it all back in again. They do not make large holes in the countryside and leave them like this. They also shore up the 'ceiling' of the tunnels they break into to get to the dachshund and badger, and earth dwelling animals will continue to use them.
You can imagine the amount of effort required here. Also effort by the dog who - think of this - is more than 11 feet underground in a tight place, facing and holding the badger all this time. Sometimes for hours.
Or, I should say, that in all the digging through frozen earth, tree roots, and rock ledges, expectations are high that the badger IS staying in the same location. But sometimes it does manage to move until the dog can get it cornered again elsewhere at which time digging begins again.
"Extreme hunting" may not be too lofty a term for what badger hunters and badger dogs do on a regular basis.
Thursday evening I was relaxing around the house when my phone rang. It was one of my best friends Donnie and he asked if I wanted to make a track. I was excited like a little boy waiting on Christmas. I grabbed my tracking bag and while I was opening up the gate, Tasha jumped in the truck. Donnie said that he thinks that he made a good shot...right about 100 yards with his 444 rifle...an accurate but primitive weapon. He was surprised when he saw the deer after the shot and she was still standing there. She left the shot site trailed by at least one other deer. Donnie found pretty good blood that appeared to be lung blood leaving the shot site that went about 15 yards to some shallow water. Donnie has a Blue Lacy dog named Lucy that he uses for tracking. She has been up to her chest in water and it doesn't bother her a bit. Donnie knew that I had been wanting to let Tasha track in some water because we have so much of it in South Louisiana, so he backed out and called me. It only took us about an hour to be at Donnie's lease.