Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Hyperkinetic Dog

Mckenzie lives to play.  The AKC sent me a nice write-up on the breed, and told me something I knew long ago: a Gold Retriever lives to play, and that means to retrieve!  Everyday! Outloud! Always!

It is part of our daily regimen, and on rainy days or when the weather doesn't permit it, I am as sad as Mckenzie.  Creating fun activities inside is doable, but nothing replaces the long ball tosses and wide-open back yard that she enjoys to play in.

I've incorporated it into my day, and we head out back to play with ball, ball-thrower, beer and guitar.  As she winds down between tosses, taking time to "check her facebook page" (I like to call it -- i.e., smelling everything in the yard!), I can take a swig of my fav beer, play some jams, and enjoy God's nature.

I am fully confident that her behavior is best described as "Hyperactive," per the information coming next:

Dr. Karen Becker has written an excellent piece on Hyperkinetic vs. Hyperactivity in dogs at huffingtonpost.com.

She states:
Veterinarians generally agree that most symptoms of hyperactivity as described by the dogs' owners, upon closer inspection, are the result of breed characteristics, conditioned behavior, lack of appropriate physical and mental stimulation, or a combination

In clinical cases of hyperkinesis, the dogs are usually 3 years old or older (well past the age of boundless puppy energy) and haven't learned to settle down.


There's a big and important difference between canine behavior that is abnormal and behavior that is actually normal given the dog's circumstances, but undesirable.

Your veterinarian or animal behavior specialist will need a detailed description of your dog's unwanted behaviors, how often she performs them, and to what degree or intensity.

He'll also need to know about how much physical and mental activity your pet gets on a daily basis, including exercise, social interaction, playtime and exploration. You'll also be asked how you and other family members respond to your dog's undesirable behaviors.

All these factors will have bearing on a dog's behavior, including whether the pet is alone much of the time, isn't getting adequate exercise, isn't obedience trained, has been conditioned through owners' responses to use physical activity to get attention, or is punished for bad behavior rather than rewarded for good behavior.


Mckenzie will clobber me most days when I get home from work.  Her desire and need to go play ball is just over-powering.  My wife literally has to wait until she is done 'tackling' me, before we can have our huggy-time.

Although Mckenzie's behavior _can_ be annoying (and we fully accept it), we take it to be normal, but otherwise, Dr. Becker's article could help you if your dog is truly Hyperkinetic.



Mckenzie, saying, "come throw this ball again!"

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Whistle: The Dog Activity Monitor

The folks at whistle.com have come up with a dog activity monitor, the size of a quarter, that fits on their collar.

Introducing Whistle

It will measure your dog's walking, playing and resting collecting information on daily behavior in order to tailor long-term health.  They have an app for smartphones as well so that you can check the info, send it to friends and your vet.



From their site:


  • Walk: Whether a trip around the block or a weekend hike, Whistle measures your dog's walks throughout the day.
  • Play: See when your dog is chasing a ball, jumping for a frisbee, or playing with friends.
  • Rest: Short nap, deep sleep or just laying at the beach, you'll know how much rest your dog is getting.
  • Other activity: View all types of activity – whether a quick swim or abnormal behavior in the night, you'll be informed.
  • Time Together: Whistle lets you know who's spending time with your dog while you're away, be it family or friends.



With Whistle, you can set daily goals, view activity in graphs reports, see events such as walking and play time and resting.  You can record time with your dog, compare your dog to other of her age in weight, etc.  You can track trends and set goals.  With your mobile phone, you can check-in on your dog.  You can notate any changes in behavior, and share photos of your dog.

Whistle is:

  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof and ruggedized
  • Weighs 16g
  • Has adjustable strap
  • Fits dogs 7 pounds and over
  • Built-in rechargable battery that lasts up to 10 days
  • Comes with USB charger
  • Uses Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Has software for iOS 5.1+ with Android coming soon

You can pre-order now for $99.95, saving $19.95.




Mckenzie, checking out ducks
(Honestly, she is trying to decide whether to go after them and get in trouble or not)










Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Housebreaking

I thought I would take a few moments and discuss basics of housebreaking your dog.  Nothing is more important to a dog owner than for their dog to go at the right place and in the right time.  We're talking about using the bathroom.  Here are some quick tips I've learned over the years regarding teaching a dog to "do it" outside, and how to keep a nice, clean, inside:



  • Puppy pads (aka potty or pee pads): puppy pads are great, but be aware they may be tempted to go in that familiar puppy-pad spot -- indoors -- where they used to use the bathroom.
  • Frequently outside: you can also opt to simply take your pet outside often: after eating, every hour, first thing in the morning, etc.  A reward for going outside will encourage.
  • Use positive reinforcement and treats over negative reinforcement.
  • Do not "rub their nose" in it.  This tens to only confuse your dog.
  • Keep a consistent schedule for taking your dog outside, and don't stray from it.
  • If your dog does go inside, immediately take them outside to finish.
  • Never punish, especially after the fact.  It is too late any how once they are done, and especially if they have walked away and time has passed.
  • Consistency is key.  Waiting for too long between bathroom times will increase the chance of an accident.  The onus is on you, not your pup, to make sure they get outside.  If possible, have a friend or family member to fill-in in case you cannot be there when the time comes for them to go outside and do their business.
  • Patience is key, in both waiting for them to adapt and learn how to go outside, and then giving them that time to 'check their facebook page' so-to-speak.  Dogs need to visit the outside and smell around, and go when they are ready.
  • Never raise your voice if they go inside, never punish, always encourage.  Dogs want us to be happy with them.  We just need to give them time to see what it takes to do so.



Molly using the potty outside like a good girl!


Molly

Molly is our foster dog.  She came to us short term, then long term, then longer term.  We started dog-sitting her for a family member and, well, it has just continued.

She is a wonderful little Chorkie, and whereas Mckenzie is gentle, patient, energetic, kind and eager to please, Molly is savy, lazy and doesn't take crap off nobody.  She would fight a bear, although it would eat her in one easy bite.



This is Molly: Ms. Attitude

Monday, June 3, 2013

Mckenzie

We got her from the dog pound.  She was underfed, had kennel cough and worms.  With love, nurturing and and time, she put on weight and is a part of our family.  Daily activities include sleeping, ball time and lots of petting (she loves petting as much as playing).


Looking like a tired or sad puppy



Another puppy pic

Mckenzie is a Golden Retriever, and incredibly friendly, easy-going and eager to play.  I highly recommend this breed.


Recently after she got "the works" at a professional groomers
including "deep de-furring."