Left to my Own Devices

Marlin’s been working out of town a lot since the flooding a few months back so I’ve been left home alone to work and look after the pups… and to shop online.  :)

Not too long ago I became obsessed with dog activity tracking devices.  I blame Pack and the newsletter I write for them. The newsletter makes me browse the internet to find cool stuff for dogs and it seems to result in me buying stuff.  :)

Anyway, a few weeks back I mentioned activity tracking devices in the newsletter.  There are quite a few out there and they all look pretty cool. Some have GPS so if your dog accidentally gets out of the yard, you can track them and find them again (this only works in the states at the moment – something to do with cell phone carriers).  These also tend to have monthly fees that I didn’t like.  Then there are ones that only track their activities but not their location – like FitBark and Whistle.

I figured a device like this would be great at tracking my dogs’ activities as they age.  I think some times changes are so gradual you don’t really see them but these devices would help you see things in black and white.  I also thought they would be good at tracking how much is too much, and how much is too little, when Coulee’s feet aren’t doing so well.

And well… I like gadgets.  Gadgets are fun.  So I decided to back FitBark on Kickstarter.  It was my first Kickstarter “investment”.  To be honest, if I had discovered Whistle before I had done the Kickstarter, I probably would have gotten that one – I like stuff to arrive NOW, not later, although I’m trying to be patient. :)

As I browsed the internet looking at reviews of these different gadgets it was impossible not to stumble across similar gadgets for people and I managed to talk myself into one of those as well.  (Too much time home alone is never a good thing!).  I’ve signed up for an exercise program starting in September and I decided it would be cool to see what my activity levels were like before, during and after the program.

Earlier this week I received my FitBit Flex.  At first I was just going to track my activities but then I decided I wanted to see how easy it was to track what I was eating too.  So far, I’ve done a good job of not eating more calories than I’ve burned but I’m eating too much to reach my “weight loss goal” that it helped me set.  It has definitely helped me decide to pass up desert or an evening drink that I don’t need though. :)  It is also making it extra clear (I already knew this) that if I could stop drinking Chai Tea Lattes, I’d have lots of extra calories to “spend” somewhere else.

The activity information above is from yesterday.  It is a pretty typical work day, minus a dog walk. (Coulee’s limping at the moment but we are going to see a rehab vet today to hopefully get that all straightened out). I worked a split shift and was off between 10 and 1… which is obvious by the lack of movement during those times.  :)

It also tracks my sleep but it pretty much told me what I already knew – I wake up a few times each night.  It’s funny to see the consistency.  Something happens at 1 a.m. each night to wake me up. I don’t remember Coulee barking at the train this past week, but maybe she has been.

I will try not to become an exercised obsessed, food tracking fiend – at least online. ;) I’m excited and scared for the exercise program to start in September.  Because of my work shift (and the lack of showers at the facility) I had to sign up for the 5 a.m. class.  UGH.  There were so many class options but that was the only one that worked for me other than the 7 p.m. one. By the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is exercise so a morning class was better.  I just wish it didn’t have to be quite so early!
Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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Nice Flea photos

A few nice Flea images I found:

Flea market in Ljubljana
Flea

Image by Nickster 2000
The last of the flea market shots I promise.

I take no credit for this shot, it was a deal done between the 50mm F1.8 and the brick a brack (who kindly arranged itself in the order you see here for me).

Flea market
Flea

Image by isaacgriberg
A lunar bug found at a flea market in Versoix, Switzerland.

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What Does Appropriate Dog Play Look Like?

Watching a variety of different dogs play is one of the biggest benefits of my part-time job. Dogs really know how to party, and the joy they get from play can be contagious:

Mini-breaks and Time-outs

In this video you several breaks in the action, even in just under a minute of elapsed time. This is a good thing. I highlighted the big one in the video, and there was another right after I stop filming (naturally) where Caffeine was gagging (it happens during allergy season and no, it’s not the collar) and Buddha politely stopped and waited for her to reach up and mouth him to resume play. I really wish I hadn’t stopped filming!

This kind of cooperation is what we want to see. It doesn’t always look exactly like this of course, because all dogs are different and play differently. It’s possible to draw broad generalizations about breeds – retrievers tend to like to mouth wrestle and end up with their heads literally soaked, bully breeds tend to slam dance, some herding breeds like to play tag — however the "tagging" better be gentle — but as I’ve said before, these are broad generalizations and are not always true. Know your dog, and know your dog’s friends.

Symmetry and Handicapping

Patricia McConnell talks about self-handicapping frequently on her blog and in her talks. It’s an important part of play. In the video I highlight a point where Buddha offers to let Caffeine pounce on him for a bit. She rarely takes him up on this offer. She likes to play on the floor and even did that when we had a much larger dog that played much more roughly with her.

In the puppy playgroups at Kellar’s Canine Academy we have a "regular" named Lucy, a 8 month old or so Pit Bull mix, who is an absolute master at self-handicapping. She can switch from letting a tiny puppy half her size jump on her and nibble her face to slam-dancing with her best friend, a 70 pound Rottweiler puppy, in seconds.

Some dogs can adjust play styles. I’m fortunate that Buddha and Caffeine (with the few dogs she will play with) can and will do this. It’s not necessarily common and don’t expect your dog or the dogs you come across to do so. Some dogs take offense, even in the middle of a play session, to a bitten ear or a jumped-upon face. The question is, how do they react? A warning and/or disengaging from play is just fine. Retaliation is usually not.

In a safe environment dogs always have the option to end play by stopping and, if nexessary, leaving the area. This means (at least) two things must be true: the area is big enough for a dog to be able to leave the area of play and the participants are in control to take the hint when a dog wants a break.

So What’s Actually Acceptable?

This is an excellent video, worth watching a few times, about play and body language:

One of the more interesting parts of my apprenticeship was watching how different trainers handled playgroups in both puppy classes and with adult dogs. Some were very hands on and quick to enforce a break in the action. Other tending to go with the flow and tried to engineer things more by strategically picking playgroups.

I came away a bit of a laissez faire attitude, and the fact that I have had to deal with small groups and then ideal facilities (until very recently) have forced me to improvise. I want to see regular breaks in the action. I don’t like to see too many high-speed chases, dogs up on their hind legs, and dogs that seem overwhelmed or afraid need to be helped by pairing them up with appropriate playmates. But attempts to support one dog or another or to enforce specific rules of play are not my thing.

What has your experience with playgroups been?

What Does Appropriate Dog Play Look Like? is a post written by . You can see the actual post at Dog Training in Bergen County New Jersey


Dog Spelled Forward Website and Blog

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I wish them well.

I wish them well.
BAD RAP Blog

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KXT Live Sessions, Deer Tick, “In Our Time”

John McCauley III & Ian O’Neil of Deer Tick came by the KXT studio to chat about their love of The Little Mermaid soundtrack and to showcase new tracks from …
Video Rating: 5 / 5

オフィシャルHP http://www.tick.jp/index.html 2/25発売、待望の1stシングル! カップリングの「All I Want」には、 UVERworldのTAKUYA∞が参加してます!! UVERworldファン、TAKUYA∞ファンは必聴!!! テレビ東京「スキバラ」3月度エンディン…

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World’s Most Adorable Degenerate Produce

A grape. So benign. Frozen, so delicious. Dehydrated, so raisin-y. And in large quantities in dogs, the unassuming grape goes Breaking Bad and becomes a killer. Da da duuuuum…. so let’s talk toxic foods for a minute.

When my friend Lili Chin over at Doggie Drawings asked if I would look over a poster she was designing of toxic foods for canines, I was so excited, because her drawings rock and I couldn’t wait to see how she interpreted “bulb of garlic.” The idea was to create a simple, cute piece about toxic foods for dogs, and she wanted my thoughts.

As soon as I looked at the list, I realized this would be a challenge, because toxicity is not always linear. Sometimes a dog eats a bag of grapes and is fine and other times a dog eats one bite of pork fried rice and dies of pancreatitis. Sometimes only portions of a fruit are toxic and other parts are fine. Sometimes there are at least three variables that must be calculated before you know if a food was ingested at a toxic amount (chocolate, for example.)

There is a reason this poster does not have in-depth detail about toxicity doses, etc. Determining toxic likelihood on a case-by-case basis is exactly what veterinarians are for, so if you swear up and down onions have made your dog’s life better don’t email me complaining, talk to your vet and go forward in peace. Consider this a lighthearted PSA that you can do with what you will.

At the end of the day, the world will always be improved by more of Lili’s drawings. Macadamias packing heat will NEVER go out of style.

toxiclili

Source: Lili Chin, DoggieDrawings.net

What this is: a cute graphic with limited specifics intended to share knowledge about foods that might cause a problem for your dog, so that you can discuss it with your veterinarian if you are concerned.

What this is not: An exhaustive treatise with toxic dose approximations, a prediction of your dog’s demise if he eats a piece of cheese, an academic piece in a peer reviewed journal, a substitute for your vet’s opinion.

It’s a poster, and a really cute one at that. Lili has them available for download here as well.  Hope you like the hooligan chocolate bar as much as me!

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Two Tragedies, One Balcony: A Dog and a Cat Plunge Off the Same Chicago High-Rise

It’s a horrible story you might have seen in the news: A dog fell to its death from the 43rd floor of a high-rise condo building in the Lakeshore East neighborhood on Wednesday, according to CBS Chicago.  

You would be tempted to write this off as a tragic accident — things happen — until the rest of the story comes out. A cat fell off this very same balcony, and died, just three days before the dog fell. 

What on Earth is going on in that condo? 

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The condo's tenant, a 26-year-old musician named Ryan, is claiming both are simply accidents. He's been in the process of moving. The dog who fell, a Rottweiler/Shar-Pei mix named Duke, belonged to Ryan's mother. She brought the dog with them when they came over to help Ryan move. They had piled boxes and furniture on the balcony while cleaning the apartment. 

“It created a ladder that no one was thinking of,” Ryan told the Chicago Sun-Times

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Nobody was home when the dog fell. After Ryan's step-dad returned to the apartment and couldn't find the dog, he tracked Ryan down at a friend's apartment a few floors away. 

“He was in shock and he was like, ‘Where’s the dog?’ and since this had just happened to the cat ... I already figured the worst,” said Ryan. 

They went back to the balcony, peeked over the edge, and saw police cars by the front door of the building. Ryan said his step-dad “couldn’t even hardly talk. He put this dog almost as high up as my mom and my little sister.”

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One woman and her boyfriend were walking their dog outside when Duke hit the ground. The boyfriend said Duke hit on his side and died instantly. 

“He can’t get the vision out of his head, or the sound,” the woman told CBS Chicago. “He’s pretty torn up about it. I’ve never really seen him like this before.”

Investigators, of course, were skeptical.

“Police were questioning and threatening to arrest me,” Ryan said. “Slowly but surely they, thank God, they believed what I told them.

They were skeptical because three days before, one of Ryan's cats went over the edge and died. This, too, was a tragic accident related to his moving, according to Ryan. He says the cats, Ash and Oak -- one of them a two-month-old kitten, according to the Huffington Post -- were old hands on the balcony. But then Ryan's mother came over with Duke. The cats were on the balcony, with the glass door shut. The dog ran up to the door, startling the kitten.

“I’d convinced myself thoroughly that there’s no way these cats would even slip off because they had that instinctual fear that right over this edge is a big drop ... but, I guess they freaked out because they never had a dog in their face before," Ryan told the Sun-Times. "I’m assuming one of them got skittish, went on the edge and just kind of jumped when they saw [Duke] through a glass window.”

Three days later, Duke would go off the same balcony. 


The Scoop | The Scoop

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Cool Mite images

Some cool Mite images:

Coconut palm mites
Mite

Image by Scot Nelson
Eriophyid mites feeding injury to coconuts.

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Shelter Sunday: Hill County Paw Pals / Hillsboro, TX

Meet Mason! This handsome boy is being fostered in Hillsboro, Texas by Hill County Paw Pals. Here’s what their website has to say about this cutie. We believe Mason is a two year old English Shepherd mix. Intelligent beyond belief; energetic, active, and did we mention HANDSOME! He would like to find a forever home […]


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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{Book Review} Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain My rating: 4 of 5 stars As an introvert, the title of the book caught my eye and had me curious what sort of “introspection”, that “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” would have…



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Sunflower Faith

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