Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mountain and road bike training

Little Whiskey is growing up fast and is getting a better sense of her balance, aim, and speed. Today we've decided to bike inside Stanley park with her on and off leash to see how she does. It's also practice for me, since I'm just starting to learn how to bike outside of paved roads. I must say, Whiskey was 1000x better than I!

My partner was holding her leash when we were doing a bit of the on-leash biking since he's the most coordinated. She was pretty good following, even on a busy path with lots of bikes going both directions. As soon as we got into the forest we let her off leash and she was wonderful again for the most part.

We had only once incident in 2 hours when she jumped on a poor child, give the frightened kid a lick hello, and kept speeding along. Thank god the parents were amused and not angry! It happened so fast and she was off leash. We must have passed 100 people so it could have been worse. Otherwise she ignored all dogs, people, bikes and kept following or in some cases leading.

We took some side trails where I struggled, and Whiskey gained speed. It was amazing to see how fast she can leap over obstacles. She kept coming back to check on me when I had fallen or was extra slow. We'll have to wait until she's older before we do anything more sustained but I've never been prouder of my little girl!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The end of a holiday

So ever since we've had Moo and Whiskey, one or both of us has been off work.  We're lucky we both work as contractors and it's easy to take time off.  Last week marked the start of everyone going back to work full time and our poor pets have lost their 24/7 cuddle service.  Aside from the tough choices of what to do with a puppy while we're both working, we've really enjoyed the time off bonding with our furry babies.

While Moo-cat had been refining her insane treat-sniff-and-recover abilities (she opens zippers, kitchen drawers and zip locked bags of kibble), Whiskey had been getting in some crate practice for the inevitable time where we have to face reality and go back to work.

8 weeks
11 weeks

19 weeks
22 weeks

Whiskey hasn't liked her crate since we've got her.  I think it's partially because she's very confident and doesn't need it as a "safe" place.  She's never slept it in by choice.  She much prefers our bed, our couch, or her bowser bed, even the carpet or hardwood floor than her crate!  We've lined it with blankets, soft foam bed, even our worn shirts.  We've covered it with a blanket and played the radio. She prefers sleeping stretched out taking the entire couch.  Since the first night, we've had her sleeping during the night in her crate and she gets to come to bed in the mornings for snuggles. We eagerly await the day she will be old enough to be left in our bedroom while we're at work.

Daycares, hikes, boarding, petsitting
While we are at work we've been trying doggy daycare, dog hiking services, personal pet-sitting, and just leaving her in the crate with a lunchtime visit. We are quite spoiled for choice in Vancouver since there is a huge pet industry here.  So far, she's only peed in the crate once during the last week, but she's never been in the crate for more than 4 hours.  We're now facing a difficult period because we've chosen to wait until she is older before we spay her.  Many daycares don't accept unfixed dogs over 6 months and we are also worried that her heat could happen while we are on vacation in a couple months.  We are currently interviewing dog boarders for our upcoming vacation.  Our bouncy baby's going to be a teenager soon!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mountain climbing dog

I've been waiting to hike Mt Seymour since we've got Whiskey.  Over the last few months we've been slowly increasing the distance and difficulty and this one is a bit longer than she's used to (about 4 hours return, 7km, 450m climb to the "first pump"). We always hike with her off leash and she's always leading the way.
heading up the trail
Whiskey takes all kinds of side trails
Earlier this year, we had completed the same hike in snow and found a section to scramble, which was easy enough without having to worry about safety, but tough enough to get your heart racing.  Every dog is different, and although we're really struggling to get Whiskey to say, fetch, she LOVES agility, climbing, and balancing on things.  I was keen to try this scramble with her, with full intentions on taking the normal trail if she showed any sign of fear, hesitation, or lack of balance/safety.

This is the scramble
starting up, Whiskey is patient with us
going between Daddy and me
see! no worries!
My mountain dog

Well, even in my wildest dreams I wouldn't have imagined how impressive she would be.  While we were struggling to find handholds and routes, Whiskey was up and over our heads going back and forth between us, sure-footed and happy.  There were only two times she needed to be lifted up a meter or so.  She's been on another hike with a steel ladder section where she's learned to stay on my partner's shoulders in a fireman's carry, so we had no problems.  Whiskey can also follow if we point her a new route, and when one way doesn't work out, she will work out another path herself (something we've been patiently teaching her).

hurry up mommy!
She's so graceful,  I love watching her
I just can't believe my little puppy is a mountain goat!  She's been constantly surprising me with her fearlessness since we got her.  Every time she slips, she gets right back up and tries again.  I only wish I could have taken my cat scrambling too!
Whiskey follows Daddy up the boulder
but she refuses to jump over.  Great decision making!
Moo is a true acrobat but refuses a harness/collar/leash
I can't wait for our next weekend hike and I'm so ecstatic to have the hiking dog of my dreams.
Best dog ever!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Teething stories

It seems like we had a 1 week break between Whiskey getting all her baby teeth in, and then losing them for adult teeth.  She's been consistently chewing since we got her which isn't a surprise since "they chew till two" is a Vizsla saying.  She isn't a fan of Nylabones but that could be because we've given her a choice of more natural chews.

Here are her intended chew toys:

-bully sticks
-Himalayan chews
-Salmon skin wraps

Here are not chew toys, that are now chew toys:
-stuffed toys
-empty plastic bottles
-any and all sticks she finds, even logs and stumps
-offending bushes and leaves
-human arms/hair/clothes

We can't wait until all her adult teeth are all in.  We've been working on getting her bite "softer" but it's been a painful process as her needle baby teeth draw blood.

Thankfully her sharkies only lasted for a month and after the baby teeth were in, she's been much better with my hands.  It's been fun watching the adult teeth coming in now.  We try to brush her teeth every other night and she's been getting better about us always inspecting her mouth for wiggly ones.  The other day I was playing with her and a molar fell out!

Her front teeth come in first.  One of the doubled front ones is wiggly

almost a month later, she has 8 canines!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bumps, and Rashes, and Fleas, Oh My!

We play with Whiskey throughout the day, flipping her over and tumbling all around with her.  The other day I saw some red spots around her arm and leg 'pits' and after a quick check, discovered she had picked up fleas from a dog at the park (most likely).  She's currently on Sentinel, although she was just overdue for her monthly pill so I wasn't 100% sure if the pill was still active.  Sentinel mainly kills heart and tummy worms but is also a flea preventative: it doesn't kill adult fleas - it causes the adult fleas to become infertile, so as to avoid infestations.

Immediate treatment
As soon as I found the spots I rubbed her coat with a vinegar/lemon mix.  I also boiled her collar (with some rosemary sprigs) and found a bunch of fleas in the water confirming my fears.  I suppose because I had covered her in vinegar, that the fleas must have jumped on the collar.  Those were the only fleas I ever found.  I set out a flea trap at night (soapy water in a pan with a light) and caught none.  Thankfully, cat also showed no signs of fleas.  I don't even want to think about attempting a bath with our very overconfident cat.  It was very late when we noticed the bumps so we didn't get to clean the house until the morning.

boiling her collar 
This is what floated up from the water!  gross!

day 2 photos

her armpits

poor girl!
Day after
The next day, we cleaned all dog and human bedding, vacuumed the house very well, and gave her a bath with her emu oil shampoo (it's supposed to repel fleas).  Also, after the first day we saw no signs of more bites so I think we caught them early, or the Senntinal was working.  I also vacuumed the house that evening, and everyday for a week.  Crossing fingers, we avoided an infestation.  In two days we already saw improvement in her rashes and bites.

day 3 photos

no more new bites, but old ones are poofy

heeling already

you would have never known from her sweet temperament
Flea pills
I had been going back and forth about giving Whiskey a dewormer/flea preventative monthly as it's basically like putting chemicals and poison in them.  The problem is we live downtown, and the dog parks are not very clean.  There are homeless dogs around, and we meet around 100 dogs a week. There is old poop every foot in the city.  We are also going to start daycare soon, and many daycares require preventatives so I guess our decision is made.  Sometimes the treatment to kill fleas and worms can be worse than the preventative.  Especially flea infestations!

More bumps!
In hindsight I think it was just bad luck with bad timing, but while her flea bites were healing she got another kind of bumps all over her tummy.  When it rains, it pours I guess!  These were different bumps.  They were evenly spotted over her tummy and upper legs and were not itchy or red.  They were hard and raised and after some research I was pretty confident they were allergy bumps (actually I had seen them on forums before so I wasn't panicked).  I wasn't as concerned because we seemed to have dealt with the fleas ok, so I figured I'd delay a trip to the vet until the bumps bothered her, or got worse.  The bumps came and went over the next week and these were our very amateur guesses at what caused it:

-chicken (she normally does not get chicken and I had given her some the night before)
-bedding detergent (I had finished an old jug of non-environmentally friendly detergent I don't normally use)
-water from the beach

allergy bumps on her tummy
The bumps are now mostly gone after coming and going for a week and a half.  I've ruled out bedding detergent, but the fact that they weren't on her back makes us suspicious that something could have been in the water at the beach she frequents.  She usually wades in to her tummy and doesn't go fully in.  Food allergies are super tough since symptoms can come several weeks after the dog has eaten the problem food, and symptoms can last several weeks after the dog has digested it.  Also dogs can get allergic to something they seem to have been fine with, but they only show symptoms after their body has tolerated too much.  The detective work needed is frustrating and Whiskey has been eating a huge variety of food.  In general it's tricky with puppies too since their immune system is still growing, so with luck she won't keep this allergy (if that's what it is).  Since the bumps have been going away, I'll just keep an eye out for them when we give her tummy rubs.

you can see bumps are just on her tummy but are getting fewer