Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Winnie, Meet Toothbrush...

A few weeks ago at Winnie's Annual Vet Check-Up our vet found that Winnie had chipped a pretty big chuck off of a back molar.  Ouch, right?  Apparently not.  Other than a little pawing at her face Winnie seem pretty unaffected.  Nevertheless, our vet suggested that I get a dogie toothbrush and try cleaning the tooth each week because it will be more prone to collecting plaque and thus causing future trouble.  Sounds like a plan to me so this is what I got...

Chicken flavored toothpaste... yum, right?  :-)
Via my favorite online pet supply supplier - the Drs. Foster & Smith - I purchased the EZ Finger Toothbrush and some Drs. Foster & Smith brand Tartar Control Toothpaste

I've tried a regular tooth brush first but Winnie just wanted to chew on it.  I had hoped that a finger style brush would give me more control and when she started to "chew" I would (for obvious reasons) be more immediate in my response to tell her "gentle"... so far I've been right.  I liked the idea of this finger brush extending down to your palm for a better grip and more control. 

I picked the Drs. Foster & Smith toothpaste because unlike the other toothpastes I found that just "polish" the tarter off the tooth this one includes an special enzyme that helps actually "break it down."  Maybe that's total crap but it seems like a sound concept. 

The packaging included some good advice about how to introduce your pup to the idea of brushing her teeth so I won't belabor the point anymore.  I took a short clip "Winnie Meets Toothbrush" just so you could see how it all looks.  Winnie seemed to like it... I guess time will tell!  Enjoy. 

Oh!  Did I mention that the toothbrush is dishwasher safe?  Bonus!  Okay... bring on the slobber. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Dog License Dilemma.

Do you license your dog?  I know this sounds like a silly question since we're all SUPPOSED to license our dogs but my thought is that maybe not all of us do.  Apparently the cut off in Michigan to get the cheap rate ($12) for a dog license is February 28th.  Obviously we missed it.  I could have sworn it was in March but, no.  Instead the price doubled ($24) because I waited to get my license at our annual vet check up on March 16th.  I have two thoughts on this:
  1. Yes, I think we all SHOULD get the license.  It helps our local government keep track of the needs and trends of its citizens which SHOULD lead to more dog-friendly cities that include parks, trails, clean-up bags, animal control, and other dog accommodations.  It also insures that licensed dogs are up-to-date on vaccinations... which is good. 
  2. Doesn't this seem like old technology?  Why don't these things automatically renew or at least send a notice each year? 
We got a new ID tag just for good measure, too.
I feel like I got a little ripped off.  I'm a good dog owner.  Winnie is clean, vaccinated, well fed, well exercised, well trained, well socialized, AND neutered so she won't be adding any unwanted critters to the mix.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm good for the $24 bucks but why do I feel like the good-guys just got taken?  There are a TON of un-licensed dogs out there that are NOT so well taken care of and no one has the time or energy to police this anyway.  My point?  It would have been really easy to say at the vet "Oh, the price just went up?  Uhh... I don't have my checkbook today so I'll just take care of it later."  and skip out on my civic dog duty.  (Yup, I said dog duty and I'm sticking to it)  I wish someone in a municipal office out there would have said "Hey, let's give these otherwise proactive people a break and remind them they need to register their pooch... you know, the pooch that doesn't make any trouble for us anyway."  Instead they punish the people that are at the vet - doing the right thing - with a higher price. 

That's my rant.  Here's your $24 bucks Michigan.  Please put it to good use.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Annual Vet Check-up

Winnie had her annual Wellness Exam today and passed with flying colors!  She's a lean 22lbs.  And Dr. Mayer actually commented on how muscle-ly Winnie was... nice, right?  Must be all that pulling on the leash... who knows.  My only concern going into the appointment was that Winnie has been pawing at her face lately and I can't figure out why so I asked.  Ears looked good, eyes looked good... ah ha... her teeth. 

How do you tell a human your tooth is broken, exactly?
Winnie has some pretty pearly-whites.  She's young and is a crazy chewer so she keeps them pretty clean all on her own but apparently she chipped a tooth!  She chipped one of her back molars to be specific.  And after doing a left-side/right-side comparison it seems to be a pretty big piece missing.  Poor Winnie! 

The Vet's official recommendation is to get a dogie toothbrush and be sure to keep it clean since that tooth is no longer smooth and will be more likely to collect tarter and build up.  Otherwise the official prescription is to just wait and see.  Since dogs aren't particularly prone to infections in their mouths she said there was no point in extracting it unless it really started bothering her.  I guess that makes since.  Poor girl.  Too bad you can't just cap it like a human.  :-/

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Antler Chew Bandent

The CRIME... tampering with mail from the United States Postal Service.

This was clearly not addressed to Winnie.
The DEFENDANT... Winnie Boadicea Petunia Matilda Gizmo Simons.

Who?  Me? 
Yes, you.  This is exactly how it happened.  I was expecting several small packages one of which was one of those tasty antler chews that Kelly from Corgi Butts told us about.  This morning, I went to fetch yesterdays mail from the box and two of the packages arrived.  Without much care I tossed the mail onto the kitchen table and when upstairs to shower and start the day.  When I step out of the bathroom what do I see?  THIS...

You got it.  Did you hear me say anything about opening the package?  Nope.  Winnie did it herself.  That little stinker got on my table, picked out the package with the antler chew in it and helped herself.  Are you kidding me?  She has never done anything like that before.  I was totally dumbfounded.  Do you punish that somehow?  I have no idea.  So I just cleaned up the packaging still on the floor and left it alone. 

On the other hand the antler looks REALLY cool. 

Peak Antler Company: 10 inch Large Dog Chew
No slimy goo.  What's not to love?

Dog Friends

Does your pup have a best-dog-friend?  Winnie did.  A Golden Retriever named Miguel.  Last Fall he moved to Texas and boy are we missing him.  (And his family, of course.  :-)  Field trips to the dog park and hikes just aren't as fun without this boy.  But here's the thing... I found that not only did having a steady dog-date for outings make me more consistent with taking Winnie out and about but Winnie picked up a lot of good behaviour from Miguel.  For instance, Winnie can be shy about getting in and out of cars... if Miguel were still here I'm sure she would just follow him right into the back seat without a problem. 

Have your dogs picked up anything from their dog friends?  Good, Bad, Ugly?  :-)  Anyway, here are some Winter Romp shots of Winnie and Miguel before he left... Don't these two look like their having a blast?

We're coming!  We're coming!
Wait!  What was THAT?  Shhhh... Oh, it's just a cross-country skier. 
There's nothing like a good run with your pal. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book Review: The Other End of the Leash

So Winnie and I are going to try something new here at Herding the Corgi and move some of our favorite books and toys from the sidebar and into actual posts.  Then we'll put them on their own page so you can find them again more easily.  

The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around DogsAs I was collecting some of the information for the Book Review page I noticed that although I've talked about it a LOT I've never actually written an official review for The Other End of the Leash so here it is! 

In my opinion, if you were only going to read ONE book about dogs it would have to be The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs by Patricia McConnell.  In fact, I've had a few friends that have gotten dogs in the last year or so and I went out and just got the book for them.  I think so highly of it that I've actually purchased the darn thing 4 times.  Now, that's an endorsement, right? 

Patricia McConnell is an animal behaviorist that specializes in dogs.  Besides the usual academic litany you would expect she has a sheep farm and several different herding dogs of her own.  As an added bonus I keep a link of HER blog over in the Dog Blogs section.  Check it out! 

The Other End of the Leash is written from a bit of an academic perspective and can be scientifically minded.  However, this is an angle that I found quite helpful since Winnie was my first real swing at owning a dog.  I mean, we had a dog or two when I was younger but without ever building real relationships with them.  (My mother was scared of them so mostly they stayed outside and like most things... out of sight is out of mind.  I'm not proud of the start but that's what it was.)  I however did like dogs and wanted to correct my own behavior to better communicate with them.  That is exactly what this book talks about.  How to act around animals of another species. 

A short skim of the table of contents looks like this:
  1. Monkey See, Monkey Do
  2. Translating Primate to Canine
  3. Talking to Each Other
  4. Planet Smell
  5. Fun and Play
  6. Pack Mates
  7. Patient Dogs and Wise Humans
  8. Personalities
  9. Love & Loss
So you can see how it's a little sciency but McConnell does a terrific job of speaking plainly.  Here's an excerpt so you can get the feel:
"Greetings, Canine and Primate Style - Imagine walking down the street and seeing someone whom you know and are happy to see.  What do you do?  Most of us call out his name, maybe wave to get his attention, and move directly toward him.  It's especially polite to look directly at his face as you get closer, walking straight toward him, looking right into his eyes and smiling. ... This is just not friendly if you're a dog.  Direct head-on approaches can be threating to dogs, ... The politest of dogs tend to approach from he side, perhaps even at 90 degrees.  They avoid direct eye contact.  On the other hand, two dogs standing face-on staring into each other's eyes are trouble - big trouble... "
I think this is just one of the best dog books out there but if this is a little too basic for you then I would definitely suggest looking into some McConnell's other materials via her blog and website.  Have you read The Other End of the Leash?  Feel free to post some of your own thoughts and experiences!