Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brodie's Health (March 2010)

Friday, Brodie was tested for Addison's disease. The test came back negative. They can get a false negative, but for now he will finish this round of medicine then try a new diet specifically designed for severe food allergies.

For background on this ongoing issue click here and here.

Riba's Birthday Party

This weekend Bradley and I went to a birthday party for our friend Riba the chihuahua. She turned one. We took Riba a toy and some cookies. Bradley was the only big dog there and he enjoyed chasing everyone around.

He also got to try out Riba and Cali's homemade agility course. Bradley loves to jump. He did this all from a seated position too. Hope made a dog cake and there were sweet potato fries from Fritz Fries. Bradley ate so many treats! It was so much fun.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bradley Goes To The Bakery

Bradley went on his first trip to Just Dogs! Brodie got his shopping spree earlier which was all about the backpack and toys. But for Bradley it was all about the treats. After his grand entrance of greeting everyone in the store, he immediately put his front paws up on the counter and said "I'm cute." Whereupon they immediately gave him a treat. That's sweet! He promptly began licking up the crumbs leaving a pool of slobber on the counter. "Sorry!" In fact Bradley worked his charm so many times that he got about 4 or 5 cookies out of them. He offered to take any old inventory off their hands. I had a hard time choosing a treat out of the display case, but we settled on the cream pies. They look like two cookies with ice cream in the middle and then dipped in icing. He ate that while we were there too. Yummy! I tried to get a picture of it, but he gobbled it down so fast that it was just one big blur. Oh well, I got a picture of it in the display case. That picture was not quite as blurry as I expected since Bradley was pulling on my arm while he licked all the customers. Everyone remarked on how big he is. Yep, he weighed just this morning at 70 pounds. The cutest are the kiddos. One asked if he was a Great Dane and another asked if he was a greyhound. Those are good guesses. We've wondered about the Great Dane part ourselves. Of course, we've also wondered about him really being a horse. Nope, he's all lab. Our original purpose in going to Just Dogs today was to pick up a birthday cookie for a party this weekend but the Easter treats were too cute. So I got a chick and an egg. Cutesy! And on the way home Bradley started to sleep off all his treats.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Homemade Dog Toy #3

Since the ropes have come out of our Tug-A-Jugs I decided to try a replacement. Similar to one of the homemade dog toy that I made previously, I started by just cutting strips of fleece off of an old chewed up blanket. Side note, I like fleece for use as blankets and toys instead of rope. When rope toys are chewed the little strings can get wrapped up in the dog's intestines sometimes requiring surgery to remove. However, fleece does not pull apart in threads. It just comes off in pieces that ball up and pass right on through. Back to the toy, tie one end and start to braid. Slip the loose ends through the end of the Tug-A-Jug and then knot the other end. There were a few complications. First, you have to make sure that your braid is small enough that the food will still fit through the opening of the bottle. This will depend on your food. Unfortunately, to make the braid small enough, it meant that the knot was small enough to fit through the opening too. So I knotted it 3 times to make the knot bigger, but because fleece is stretchy and gives it would still come through the opening if pulled too hard. Time to try it out, I filled both jugs with food and gave them to the boys. They both struggled to get the food out at first then pulled the braids out and gobbled up their food. I would say this experiment was not a success. But at least they had two braids to play tug with after dinner.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tug-A-Jug. . . On Second Thought

I've stated in a previous post that the Tug-A-Jug by Premier is one of our all time favorite toys. We use it to feed Brodie. The following is my original review posted on the PetsMart website. Keep in mind that it was written when they were still making it jug with the rubber "rope" stopper.

"We don't feed our dogs in traditional dog bowls. They eat way too fast. I've read that it is best for dogs to have to work for their food as in the wild, and it is mentally stimulating. One dog is a master at eating from this toy. The other is much slower. Do train them to use it so they don't destroy it trying to get to the food. We run ours through the dishwasher so it is easy to clean. After a while the rubber rope does break off. But we still feed from this just using the stopper. It still slows them down. Eventually we buy another one. I think we've had three. Also, don't leave it outside. The ants get on it and leave a weird residue that makes the rubber rope mushy. I've never been able to get that clean. But we'll keep buying it. It's also entertaining for humans. Our friends love to watch our "smarter" dog get the food out. They think it's amazing. We think it is one of the best toys we've got. We love this company's toys. They are so smart."

Now they are making the jugs with a regular rope as the stopper. We got Bradley the jug with the regular rope because we could not find the rubber rope. You can see the difference in the pictures. The regular rope did not last 24 hours. I don't know if it was him trying to get the food out and nibbling on it or the rope unwound, but it was a total waste of money. I wish it were not so. This is so disappointing. And I'm such a huge fan of these. So if you are at all interested in this toy try to get the one with the original rubber rope. I did find one website that still had them and if you're lucky, you might find one in a Target.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What's In A Name

I love the neighborhood Brodie Creek. I love the architecture and the many colors of the houses. I love to just drive through. It reminds me of San Francisco. About 5 years ago, I was driving a friend through Brodie Creek because she was picking out a color for her house. I thought Brodie would make a nice dog's name. I filed that away. Then when we met our little Brodie, I already had his name. It also means brother, which he was going to be for Angus. Now that we are deciding on colors for our house, my parents and I drove through Brodie Creek, Aghast! They have all gotten vinyl siding, which you may know only comes in limited colors of dreary. I was so sad to see this neighborhood loose a major part of it's charm. Not to mention it was the inspiration for my Brodie's name. I told Brodie now we're going to have to change his name.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Everlasting Treat Ball

I bought this toy because it says that it stops destructive boredom behaviors, which Bradley is exhibiting daily. At 8 months old, he had the big treat out in less than two minutes. We put it back in which was extremely difficult. He got it out again in less time than it took us to put it in. I let him eat it which took a couple of minutes. You can put smaller treats inside the toy which will keep him occupied for a couple of minutes, but it's definitely not worth the price of $25. I was so disappointed. I cannot recommend this toy.

Pros: You can put smaller treats inside for extra play

Cons: Too easy to get treat out, too hard to replace treat, too expensive

Friday, March 12, 2010

Badly Bradley

Bradley has reached a new stage of puppyhood. I believe it's called adolescence. He is slowing down in growth. He has average 10 pounds for each month of age. But he is now 8 months old and only 70 pounds. So he's slowing down. He is also needing a lot of exercise. A LOT! Since he won't fetch the only way to get that energy out is to walk him. When he doesn't get enough walking, he becomes destructive. In the last week he has destroyed the shoelaces on my tennis shoes, a kitchen towel, our soccer ball, another giant ball in the backyard and while in his kennel he pulled the pillowcase off his pillow and shredded the plastic waterproof pillowcase. He really wants to chew, but I can't give him a rawhide or anything because Brodie will want one too. Brodie can't have one because of his stomach. But I've got a couple of ideas. Stay tuned. . .

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Snug As A Bug

The other day Brodie got up on the bed before I had the chance to make it. He was laying on my side on the sheets. I told him to scoot over so I could make the bed. No chance. This is unusual for him. So I started to pull the sheets over him. Normally this would make him pop right up and move. But lazily, he just let me pull the blankets over him. Silly dog!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Homemade Dog Toy #2

So you may remember from a previous post that I am trying to get a little more economical with our toys. Our Chuckit! Tennis Fanatic (picture 1) toy has lost all its hair. So when our homemade dog toy #1 was all torn apart I used the scraps of fleece left over from it and gave our Fanatic new hair (picture 2.) I just cut the fabric into strips, pushed it through the holes, then knotted it twice to hold. Bradley loved being able to once again shake the guy around by his hair. Brodie loved that they can now play tug-of-war with it again. I like that this former blanket has now been reinvented twice to become dog toys. With dogs this large it's hard to keep them in toys so I like to do what I can to save money. Of course, Bradley has decided to also just sit and chew off the hair which he promptly consumes. Don't worry, fleece too shall pass.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Choosing The Right Dog For You

Someone recently asked me if there is a book about dog personalities. I recall this awesome book, The Right Dog For You: Choosing a breed that matches your personality, family and life-style by Daniel F. Tortora, Ph.D. and dog psychologist. I read this book about five years ago before we got Brodie. I wanted to be ready when we decided to get another dog. I thought I should open my mind to the possibility of something other than a lab. I requested books from the library on dog breeds. This was a jewel and a must read for anyone who is considering a dog. I'm going to quote from the back of this book:

"Here is a systematic and enjoyable way to choose a dog. This highly informative and useful book will take the guesswork out of choosing a dog while leaving in the fun. It will tell you about more than 110 breeds and help you to select a dog compatible with your personality, family and lifestyle. Choosing a dog can become easy and enjoyable as you learn everything there is to know about the breeds, including:
  • physical characteristics-heights, weight, strength, coat color and texture, tendency to shed, and food requirements
  • temperamental characteristics-indoor/outdoor activity level, emotional stability, sociability, training potential and watchdog/guard-dog ability
  • popularity, background, and unique qualities of each breed
This fully illustrated guide includes easy to read tables and pages of practical advice, plus a mini-questionnaire to help you narrow down your selection to the perfect match for you, your family and your lifestyle. "

I read the different sections and learned quite a lot. I didn't realize that even though some dogs are active outside doesn't mean they are as active inside. I learned about dogs' ability to learn being different than how long they can retain that training without practice. The difference in levels of reasoning ability. Dogs' loyalty ranges from no person to multiple people as well as their willingness to take commands. Some dogs will take commands easily from almost anyone while some will only take commands from a single person. Even if you just want to learn about dogs this is a fascinating book. I read the sections about the dogs I thought I was interested. Then took all the little quizzes. My results were that the dogs best suited for me are the Newfoundland, Great Dane and Labrador Retriever. Who would have imagined that! Although I had considered a Newfoundland, I had not considered a Great Dane. Since I knew I could not afford the food and medications for such massive dogs as those, nor did I feel it was fair to squish them into our small home, I knew that for now we should stick with our loving labs. So I probably always knew that labs were the best choice for us. But it seemed only fair to be open to the options and get that outside confirmation of my choice. Then when Brodie came along I was sure, beyond just heart's calling, that he was the right dog for us.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chuckit! Tennis Fanatic

I bought this toy several years ago when Bro was a pup. Brodie liked this until I put it in the ball launcher and tried to get him to fetch it. He didn't want to fetch it, just shake it around by the crazy "hair" and pretend to kill it. He only wanted to fetch the regular chuck it balls. This toy was a little difficult to chuck and it didn't go very far or very fast. He plays with it occasionally, but it usually is at the bottom of the toy basket. I think if I had not tried to get him to fetch it, he would play with it more. It's like it's been tainted. He's funny that way. Then Bradley came along. Now they can use it as a tug toy which is great. But Bradley, being a pup, likes to just sit and chew off the rope hair. But as with all our Chuck-it toys, it is good quality and I would recommend it. Actually I bought one for a friends' dog on his b-day.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Brodie's Teeth

Brodie went to have his teeth cleaned today. Last time his teeth were cleaned, he had a tooth that had turned a little purplish in color. They x-rayed it then and said it was still alive, they would check it again next time. Well, today they x-rayed it and said that it had continued to develop into a good strong tooth. So we are not supposed to worry about checking it again. While Brodie was there getting his teeth cleaned, Bradley had the day with momma. Rob took Brodie while I distracted Bradley. Bradley kept looking for Brodie for a little while. But we went and ran some errands. Then when we got home he didn't look for Brodie anymore. He got to eat a rawhide bone which he never does because Brodie can't have them. So that was a special treat too.