Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dog powered scooter?

Here is an interesting concept that I was emailed about: a dog powered scooter. The Malamute, Siberian Husky, and Rottweiler are all cart or sled pulling dogs. I would tend to worry about joint breakdown in Labradors since they aren't dogs that have been trained to "cart" or "mush". I can also foresee what a wild ride it might be if someone happened to toss a tennis ball while I was being pulled along by Labradors. Yeow, where are the brakes??? Anyway, I'll let you decide and comment.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ann and Paul Key sent the following about their dog Neilley, aka the Pinkster:

This past weekend, Paul and I had SO...much fun with Neilley. We went camping
up on the New River, at Twin River Family Campground, near where the North and South Forks of the New come together in the tiny, tiny narrow spot in the road, Crumpler, NC. (In Ashe County...near NC/VA border.) This was NOT a first for us. We’ve been camping there for 18 years. It’s the most relaxing get away that we have. And one that Simba, our previous Lab, enjoyed many times. Neilley has accompanied us on the weekend for three years, but
this year was a breakthrough. She forgot that she has little short legs, and really got into the “swim” of things. The river was at the lowest we’ve ever seen it. Humans really bump their butts in tubes these days, but Neilley thrived on the change in the current flow and actually wagged her tail after swimming. She didn’t hesitate to swim out into deeper depths. We’ve always kept a “tow” rope on her, as we did with Simba, because not only do we not want her to drown, but also do not want her going out on unauthorized mountain exploration!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Scare in the ring

I judged today in Atlanta at the Shawnee Mission Kennel Club show. It was a nice entry of 69 Labradors. Unfortunately, there was a medical incident that occurred that was scary. A lady who I know was showing her dog who was awarded WD in Best of Breed. I was getting ready to have the first special gaited when the lady fell to the floor. It was ascertained that her defibrillator was shocking her. Although she had been trotting with her dog, which may have been enough to trigger a shock, it was clear that she was in distress. EMT's were called and the AKC field rep came over as I had to suspend judging. Luckily, after about 20 minutes, she was feeling better and was cleared to be moved by gurney to a nearby hospital. Her friends who were there were able to take care of her dogs and finish showing the WD in the Best of Breed Class. I was very glad that she was okay and was in good hands with the EMT's.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Driving to Atlanta

I loaded up Tobias and took off to go to judge in Atlanta. Tobias is going back to a handler because of a mess up that occurred when he received a major that would have finished his championship. Unfortunately, the handler had the wrong number on (it was for another dog) so the major win was recorded for the other dog even though it was actually Tobias who was in the ring. In spite of letters being written by people who were there and a photo of Tobias from a previous major win, AKC awarded the points based on the number. Thus, the points actually went to a dog who did not win. It seemed so unfair but things like this happen. So now Tobias is going back out to try to get a major which will finish him. I think that he will have about 20 points when he actually finishes if you count the major that really was his!

I don't like the drive on I-26 to I-20 so I generally take the back roads along SC 78 through small towns like Branchville, Denmark, Williston and pick up I-20 near Aiken. It gives me a chance to see small towns and their main streets, which are much more picturesque than the interstates with their billboards. It isn't a bad drive at all and provides something much more interesting to watch. I judge tomorrow morning so will have to be up early.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hair is everywhere

It's definitely shedding season at Surry. There are masses of black and yellow hair floating through the air and accumulating in the puppy room. I always get questions about how much Labradors shed. I wish that I didn' t have to answer that question. I would like to say, "Oh not very much." But believe me, Labradors know how to blow their coat. Twice a year, we see the blacks turn a lovely rust color as the dead undercoat starts to fall out. The yellows just send off floating hair balls and I have to take sticky paper rollers to my pants if I have a brain spasm and wear black around them.

So, just keep the broom and vacuum keeper handy. Invest in some wire brushes, especially slicker brushes, and get used to combing and raking. Your dog loves it and you'll get gratification as you watch those big wads of hair come off. I wonder if anyone has ever made a dog hair sweater??

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Getting teeth cleaned

If you look in your dog's mouth as much as I do, you will start to notice that there will be plaque buildup as the dog ages. Most of our dogs have very good teeth but occasionally we have to schedule a dental cleaning for an older one.

The procedure will involve putting the dog under anesthesia while the vet will scrape off plaque and take care of any other problems that may have arisen. I recently had Abraham, my 9 year old cat, in for a dental. I had noticed that his breath was not great but found out that he had a rotten tooth. So the tooth was extracted and his other teeth scraped. Abraham now has just fishy breath and not rotten fish breath.

So if you've noticed a lot of plaque or bad breath with your dog, schedule a visit to the vet to see whether a dental cleaning is in order.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ectropion versus entropion

There are two eyelid problems in Labradors. One is ectropion in which the lower lid tends to droop. A severe example of this can be seen in blood hounds in which the lower lid severely droops down and is red in color. Labradors should have relatively tight lower lids. However, a slight droop can occur, especially when the dog is tired. Generally, ectropion has to be very severe in order to be noted on a CERF form by a veterinary opthalmologist. Keeping the eye clean and use of opthalmic ointment can help with this condition but doesn't cure it.

Entropion is a more serious problem because it involves having the lid and eyelashes turn inward which causes irritation of the eye. If severe enough, rubbing of the eyelashes can cause scarring of the cornea and ulceration. Most dogs with entropion have eyes that continuously weep. Surgery can be done to clip the lid so that it doesn't turn inward against the eye.

If you want more information on either of these conditions, take a look at the Canine Eye Registration Foundation web site at http://www.vmdb.org/cerf.html.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Passed pre-application for Weims

I met with the AKC field representative on Saturday morning and had a preliminary interview on Weimaraners. All went well with my qualifications so I'm now approved to put in my application to judge. The new breed application indicates a number of enrichment factors that must be accrued in order to proceed. For example, I've judged two Sweepstakes for Weims, have attended a breed seminar on Weims, have co-owned a Weim who produced two champions, and have had a strong breed mentor in Elena Smith Lamberson.

Once my application is approved at AKC, then I will schedule an interview with an AKC field rep at a show and proceed to discuss the breed with the field rep. After that, all being well, my name will be published as a provisional judge and after five assignments during which I'm observed, then I can proceed to full status. I'm excited about moving on with the process.

The Labradors that I judged at Penn Ridge Kennel Club were generally nice. I put up a black dog for WD, a black girl for WB, BOW and BOS and a black boy for BOB. The yellows at this show just were not as strong as the blacks. It was a nice venue and was thankfully air-conditioned. Thankfully the weather was great with cool temps in the morning and highs only in the lower 80's. It was a perfect time to get away from the heat wave in the Charleston area.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Applying for another breed

I've decided to apply for an additional breed to judge: Weimaraners. I don't ever want another breed other than a Labrador, unless maybe it's a lap dog like a French Bulldog. But I also enjoy judging so I've decided that a good ten year goal will be to eventually judge the entire Sporting Group. That means that I can apply for another breed now, and if approved, will then be able to apply for two more breeds the next time. It's basically the "rule of two" in applying for new breeds: if you are approved for two then you can apply for four, etc. At any rate, it's a long process. I may get worn out by the time it's all done but I do think that it will be interesting and a challenge.

I started going to shows a long time ago with Elena Smith Lamberson who has Silversmith Weims. She was an early mentor for me with dog shows. Elena taught me a lot about showing and being involved with dog shows through activities such as stewarding. She encouraged me to join the LRC, Inc. as she felt strongly that everyone should be a member of their national club. This was at a time when there was a lot of controversy about the LRC, Inc. and the revised Labrador standard. I always thought that Elena would be an excellent judge. But she seems to be enjoying her retirement, horses, and travels with Gary so her priorities right now are elsewhere.

I think that we all begin to rethink things after we've done something for a long time. For me, I do enjoy judging and going to shows as a judge. I have gotten a bit tired of exhibiting but know that it's the heat of summer that just puts the notion of dragging crates around at a dog show out of my mind. I'm sure when fall comes, I'll be looking forward to some specialty shows. In the meantime, I'm going to spend as much time as I can on the water!

Monday, August 06, 2007

The heat is overwhelming

The heat index is supposed to be around 115 degrees today. This is very dangerous for our dogs. If you haven't done so, you need to provide shade and lots of water for your dog. It's best if you can bring in your pet during the heat. We have the misting systems going in the kennel which is situated under oak trees. However, there isn't much air stirring anywhere. The old dogs are in air conditioning and chilling out.

During hot weather, it's best to know the signs of heat exhaustion in your dog. Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy panting, hyperventilation (deep breathing), increased salivation early then dry gums as the heat prostration progresses, weakness, confusion or inattention, vomiting or diarrhea and sometimes bleeding. As the condition progresses towards heat prostration or heat stroke there may be obvious paleness or graying to the gums, shallowing of the breathing efforts and eventually slowed or absent breathing efforts, vomiting and diarrhea and finally seizures or coma.

Body temperatures above 105 degrees Fahrenheit are dangerous for dogs and if prolonged can cause brain damage. It's important to reduce the body temperature by cooling the dog immediately using cool water. Ice packs can be applied to the stomach, armpits, or neck.
You should always take a dog who suffers from heat exhaustion to the vet because there can be complications that may result.

So take good care of your dog and don't overdo anything in this heat.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Being a boat dog

Stella has learned to go out on a sailboat. It isn't hard to get a Labrador to enjoy the water but Stella hasn't been exposed to being on a boat. At first, she didn't want to get on the boat. But after lifting her on the boat, she settled down and seemed to enjoy being in the cockpit of the boat. I took her to Cummings Point on the back side of Morris Island. After anchoring the boat, Stella went over the side and we swam to shore. She went under, went "Baloosh" as she went under, and then came to the surface paddling away. She then swam like a pro to shore.

I think that she is enjoying her time on the boat, especially getting to swim and enjoy the water. But at the end of the day, I think that she then enjoys going home and lying on the cool floor. I think that the most important thing is to make sure the dog is comfortable and doesn't get overheated or stressed. Keep plenty of fresh water on hand and make sure that there is ample cool water from a cooler to put on the dog. If you intend to go out in the ocean, then it would be a good job to have a doggy life jacket. Most dogs will enjoy the experience of being in a boat as long as they stay comfortable.