A Very Busy Week

This has been a very busy week here at the farm and it’s because of spring break in Indiana.  We are watching several of our pups while their human families go on vacation.  It’s wonderful to see our little pups all grown up and spend some quality time with them again.  In addition to being spring break week, Annie, Meggie AND Gabby went into season.  One of the guest dogs that came over to stay is also in season, so needless to say, Clancy and Doc are on edge and wondering what happened to their world. They think they have died and gone to dog heaven.  I will tell you it’s like chaperoning  a high school senior prom at a Viagra convention.   It has been pretty smooth without any issues or problems except  Clancy did get out once and presented himself to a young lady, but it was a planned meeting. 
The one thing I have noticed when dogs board with us, is how tolerant our dogs are.  I guess I have never thought about it but I did take stock this week.  It appears that our dogs will team up with someone and show them the ropes letting the guest “find” themselves, something they won’t always do with each other.  
It’s so amusing to watch them with their new  friend play chase, ball and Frisbee and even prance and dance with each other letting them in their space and home to share everything, including us.  I have never thought about the fact that our dogs share “us” too. 

As a rule, we try to give every dog that comes over full run of the house and property and even let them sleep with us because we want them to feel at home and comfortable while they are away from their home environment.  Not all the dogs do get to stay in the house because some are more comfortable and happy in the kennel.  The downside to this is even though our dogs get a lot of attention, there is some sacrifice on their part by not being able to sleep in the bed with us or lay in my lap when it is already full with a guest dog.  They have never raised a stink or had an issue.  I do think  this is possible because they have been introduced to so many dogs over the years, different breeds, sizes and ages. 

Clancy is so tolerant of each dog and once he gives his seal of approval for acceptance to the pack, its game on and let’s be friends.  Over the years, there has only been one of our adult pups that wanted to challenge him by not submitting to his domain.  He approached Clancy in a manner that appeared dominant and wanted Clancy to submit…Bad move…Clancy flipped him over as fast as he could and before the guest dog knew what happened, Clancy had him on his back with his open mouth poised over his neck.  In just a few seconds, the guest dog’s paws relaxed in an act of submission and submitted to Clancy without any further  issues.  After Clancy released him it was play time and both of them jumped up and went to the field to play Frisbee, but no doubt on who was in charge.  The rest of the stay was enjoyable for both of them and they became great friends. 

Annie is our Ambassador of Good Will.  
After their acceptance to the pack, she will always be the first to take up with the guest.  In a “good will” gesture, she will approach them and prance around them and play “bite”.  This is something she will do in a loving way by licking their face and mouth and gently nibbling at them in a friendly way, she actually will do this to me when she wants to play.   She will jump on the couch and start nibbling at my nose and then clean my ears which usually don’t need it, but she offers anyway.

I am pleased with the personalities of our dogs, but this was not done by us alone or our dogs just picking up on it.  It was done by all the “Play days” and "visits" and all the guest dogs boarding with us, so thank you for trusting us to watch your dog and giving us the chance to be their parents again.  
Remember we were their first parent and in all the faces of the dogs that visit with us, I always see them peeking over their kennel door and watching me, as I sing to them again…Such sweet memories...Ken


A Small Reunion

This is a very busy week because Spring Break is here for the kids in the surrounding counties and it has started.  As usual, we get several calls from our dog owners wanting to board their dog with us.  It’s always fun to see them again and catch up with the human families.  Some of the dogs have not been here for a while, but still know me when I call them and will always come to me, always turning over at by feet wanting their belly rubbed. 
It always starts the same when they get here.  Each dog will be just a little shy and reserved and will coddle down giving lots of room to our dogs.  It’s like they know who is in charge and whose home it is, the guest dogs always gives respect to ours.  After about an hour of butt sniffing and checking each other out, things will loosen up and then the playing will start.  With the male dogs, a hump-fest will start and it is game on to see who is in charge…

Humping behavior is to show dominance over other dogs. This is the reason why male dogs can be seen humping another male dog. In primitive dogs, the dominant male is the only one allowed to breed females. Dog will only allow being mounted by dogs it considers to be higher in rank. We know that dogs are affectionate and loving creatures. Some would form a strong bond with the whole family while others would be devoted to a single person. Dogs hump people because they think people are members of their pack. A dog mounting your leg is telling you that he is dominant and that he occupies a higher position in the pack than you. Of course this should never be allowed. The dog should be made to understand that the human is higher in rank, that the human is the alpha male. A dog allowed to think otherwise will be one stubborn and hard to control dog. 

It’s always in a playful way and they end up playing and running after each other, playing catch.  If you are wondering…NO ONE ever attempts to “hump” Clancy.  He is very gentle and reserved, but is given a very wide "walk around" by each guest along with Molly, Dutchess and Meg.  Everyone else is fair game.
This week, we have a few new guests that are new to the farm.   “Ranger”, a pup from Molly’s last litter who is only about 3 ½ months old came to stay.  At first he was very reserved and was fearful of every other dog.  He kept running back to us and would not want to be with them at all.  On the second day however everything changed and he was a little spitfire.  He and “Tess” became great friends and would run and play though the obstacles on the porch and then down through the trees.  It was great to see such a change from a little reserved pup to an active and socialized dog.  “Tess” who was re-homed last year but came back to Indiana is also here.  She is the splitting image of “Kemba” who moved to Washington DC.  Tess has matured into a very sweet little girl and wants to be held and cuddle, which she gets. 

Reggie, “The Reggienator”, is from Dutchess and has some of the same features and manors as his mother.  Whew.....

Hope, Sofe and Gunny paid a short visit and all are in fine form and doing well.  They are beautiful and playful dogs that when they are not running, will get in your lap, especially when they are wet.  All in all, the dogs have had a great week but some will going home today. 

 I will miss all of them and hope to see them again very soon.  Remember the 1st Annual Puppy reunion on June 29th and 30th.  More to come…

Happy Birthday to Meg’s first litter, born 2 years ago today,  Errin, Scout, Murray, Kenba and Ranger.  Mom sends her love….and I do too...Dad

The Tell of the Tail….

For the last few weeks, I have been busy catching up on things around the house and the weather has been bad.  The dogs were always so dirty and now that the weather is breaking, Dutchess and Abbie got to come in one night because they were the cleanest.  Usually, we take turns letting the dogs in at night where they can sit in my lap, cuddle, watch TV, sleep or have a snack, but most of the time it's all of the above which is what usually happens and Dutchess and Abbie were excited.

 It had been a while and they both danced around in circles and jumped from couch to couch.  We went down to the family room where the snacks and ball drawer is and of course, they wanted to do something, so after asking and pleading with me, I gave in and we all went to the ball drawer and got their favorite ball.  Dutchess jumped up and took it out herself and ran back to the couch and waited for me.  She gummed it a hundred times and got it all sloppy and wet and then placed it in my lap for me to pick up.  Then I noticed the most amazing thing while they were waiting for me to throw it.  I had seen it a thousand times but tonight, it was with more vigor and movement.  Dutchess and Abbie were wagging their tail with as much gusto as I have ever seen.  They were both talking through their tail and I just know they were telling me that they were happy, I mean really really happy.  I know it had been a while, but they were happy dogs now and it showed. 

Dutchess’s tail will go in circles like an airplane propeller in big circles, around and around.  I swear that on this night, her butt was pulling her backwards because her tail was going so fast.  Never have I seen it spin this much and so fast.  Abbie’s tail was just going from side to side and would change to up and down.  Never in a circle but only north to south or east to west and it also was going with gusto and at high speed.  .

This set me to thinking, why do dogs have tails and what do they say with.  I Googled a few things about it and learned things I did not know, for example.
Dogs use their tails to communicate strong emotions such as agitation, annoyance and anger as well as happiness. A person can get bitten by a dog that's wagging his tail because they read the signs incorrectly. And make no mistake; there is a science to tail wagging.
Dogs have been wagging their tails since…well, there have been dogs. These furry masses of bones serve multiple purposes. The original purpose of the dog's tail was for balance. It prevents him from toppling over as he makes sharp turns while running or swimming. The tail also balances him when walking along narrow structures, climbing or leaping. Over time, the tail adapted itself to playing a vital role in communication, particularly when a dog is just walking or standing around.

Puppies don't come right out of their mom's womb wagging their tails. The majority of them don't begin wagging until they are about a month and a half old when they have a need to communicate with their litter mates or mothers.

For example, if there's too much "rough-housing" between the pups, one of them might wave their tail like a white flag to signal a truce to its litter-mates  As they grow, they wag their tail to beg for food from the adults in their canine family.

Dogs wag their tails for other dogs, humans, but research shows that dogs don't wag their tails when they are alone because there is no need. Just as humans use smiles and body language as social cues in different situations, our dogs friends do the same.

Dogs also wag their tails to spread their natural scent from their anal glands. Each dog has a scent that's unique to him or her. An "alpha" or dominant dog that carries his tail high will release more of his scent than a dog that carries his tail lower. Often, when we see a dog holding his tail between his legs, he's frightened and doesn't want to release his scent. This is his way of flying under the radar.

I know the experts say a lot of things about this, but I know my dogs a little better than some researcher do, here is my take on their tails...
I'm Pissed, can you tell....

I'm a little Gassy

My tail would look better if you would get off you tail and brush it

I said I'm pissed, LOOK at my eyes...not my butt...

You're NOT coming in...

You either

Hey, Pull my finger...

OK, Let's Play...

Let's Play...

There is no doubt that they gravitate toward me and one thing I know and see every day is when I walk in the room or call their name, their tail will start to move.  It's so enduring and even when they are in deep sleep, I can just mention their name...the very tip will move and nothing else and I know they recognize my voice and answer, "I love you too"...

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Back to Normal...

This has been a big day for Molly Mae…Elaine and I took most of her stitches out yesterday morning, they were in for 14 days.  Because I didn't want to release all of her sutures at once, I took every other one out and so far it looks great.  I will remove the rest today.  This has been an ordeal in more ways than one.  We have had to keep her in the house the whole time and keep her “lampshade” on her the entire time because of her constant licking.   It started out hard on her but as time went by; she did much better and became accustomed to it. 

It’s amazing what dogs will do when it needs to be done.  Molly is a little skittish of new things and doesn't do things that are out of the norm for her.  When we first put her lampshade on, she bucked and pulled at it getting it off in just a few minutes.  I took her in my lap and comforted her and tried to make it peaceful for her and she seemed to calm down just a little.  After a while, she walked around for a short time and turned a circle and plopped down and went to sleep.  Molly has always been a great house dog and she can sleep on the bed for hours on end, but as soon as I go upstairs or downstairs, she is right behind me except when she would get her lampshade hung up on the door frame or the stairs.  She learned to just barge through, not stopping for no one or thing.  She learned that if she hit it hard enough, she could bend it and make it fit.  At times, she would push past me, catching me on the leg and almost knocking me down a few times.  She even mastered putting her lampshade over her food bowl and eating, it was so cute.  She came a long way from not moving with it or even going outside to “it’s like she doesn't know it’s on”.  What a girl. 
One thing I will miss is her constant companionship and the fact that she is always by my side.  She would stay on the couch or her pallet right at my feet trying her best to nuzzle me with her “cone” on.  It’s a little hard to rub her head with it on, but we managed and she usually got a good head scratching.  In just the next few days, when I’m sure it’s safe to resume her normal activity, she will go back in the rotation with the other dogs that get to come in, but it was nice to spend some quality time with her.   As you know Molly is special to me for many reasons and I will miss her so.  She has always been a little trouper and will do what I wanted her to do.  She became so use to me checking her incision, when I said “let me look at your belly”, she would roll over and raise her leg for me to look.  When I took some of the stitches out, she was a little scared and her leg started trembling just a little until I said “its OK girl” and she looked at me with those big brown eyes and laid her head back down until I finished.

As I said, all in all, Molly is doing great and should be back to normal in just a few short days and I am sure she hates to go back to the kennel every other day or so, Dutchess is thrilled that she is moving out because she wants some daddy time too.  A few nights ago, I brought Dutchess in after Molly and Elaine went to bed.  I went out to the kennel about 11:30 pm and got her out.  We she came in, we had a little snack and watched some TV and then she went to the “ball” drawer and just stood there looking at me, then the drawer and back at me want the ball.  I told her we have got to be quite and she agreed with a bark.  We played for about 30 minutes and she was happy, but much happier when I turned down the covers to the guest bed and got in and called her up.  She snuggled next to me the whole night…Back to normal, I only hope……

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Here Comes the Sun...Not...

I've had it.  I have posted about it and people have commented to me about it, but I’m full and I can’t stand it anymore.  What am I talking about, I’ll tell you, it’s the worst thing and it happens every year and it’s happening again and I've had it.   It starts like this, I walk to the kennel to let the hooligans out and I will even name them, Abbie, Meggie and little Annie and now even Gabby joins in which Doc follows which brings in all the guest dogs.  I open the door and Abbie starts yipping and butting her head against the door to get out and Annie and Gabby start barking.  Doc jumps straight up in the air, over and over.  It’s like their butt’s on fire.  They want out and I mean they want out right now.

Abbie starts it off, she starts to yep again bringing everyone on high alert and they all push each other out the door and bark to see who gets out first.  I have seen them get into a bottle neck and no one goes anywhere, but the race is on.  What “race” you ask, well it’s the race to see who can get the dirtiest.  They start down the driveway, and that’s OK but when they go off road, its pure excitement and joy and pure hell for me.  Abbie and Meg are always first and Gabby and Abbie bring up a close second, but being a close second means that not only you spray mud on yourself, but you also get mud from the dog your right behind and then they are covered from head to tail and I really mean it. 

Not only had the weather been wetter more than usual, it keeps freezing and thawing every day and night and the mud just sits on top of the frozen ground.  But what makes it really bad, is we had some equipment in on a sunny day, yes we had that once, but when they finished grading the dirt, it rained and froze and snowed and rained and thawed which made it a perfect playground for the dogs to run through.  For the last couple of days, it has been right around the 32/36 degree days and I have to feel sorry for them because when they are not running, they want to give me sugar and jump on me and get me dirty.  Nooooo, stay back, you’re not jumping, sure.  When I look down I see all the puppy dog faces with beg brown eyes, but I've changed clothes enough this week I love you, but stay back….I thought of taking them over to the lake where they can wash off, but I again feel sorry for them and I know they will willingly do it.  Clancy is the only one who stays clean.  While he will chase balls and a Frisbee, he's not much into running just for the sake of running.  He needs a purpose and I guess he just doesn't see one.  

We have guest dogs this week and I haven’t posted many photos because they look so dirty and muddy, I’m ashamed for the owners to see them, but at least they have had a ball and done things that they usually don’t get to do at home.

They have run ruts in the woods and carried it everywhere; the back porch is filthy which means that we carry it in and then Elaine has extra work which means I have to help, sometimes.   Poor little Annie and Gabby, they stand at the door and want in so bad and they look so cold, what’s a dog lover to do.  At least for tonight, they will be happy dogs, Elaine is out of town seeing her parents and she did say “I think I’ll change the bed when I get home” so Annie, Abbie and Gabby will sleep on the bed tonight.  I’m going to the guest bedroom….
Oh and the weather forecast.....No sun for 6 more days....