Posts belonging to Category It’s A Dog’s Life

Open Up And Let ‘Em In

I’ve been contemplating putting in a dog door so I don’t have to serve as doggie-doorman all the time.  Not to mention being able to leave home for extended periods without having to worry about her having an accident.

I’ve found an automatic door that uses an infrared transmitter on the dog’s collar to unlock the door.  It’s not cheap, but it alleviates a couple of concerns I had about security.  At the same time, it should prevent entry by undesirable animals such as the big possum that frequents my back yard. 

The only thing holding me back is that I can see my dog running in and out while it’s raining, getting wet and muddy, and tracking dirt and mud all over the house.  That, and I keep having this vision that one day I’ll wake up to crunching noises next to me in bed and she’ll be happily chewing on a dead bird (or something equally disgusting) right next to me…

Finding The Right Spot

Speaking of dogs, I’ve always been curious about the algorithm that runs in a dog’s brain when looking for a spot to pee.  I bet it’s got all sorts of interesting weighting factors about scent input and the dog’s internal state. 

If you’ve ever watched a dog, you know that they have to sniff around for a bit before taking care of business.  They have to find Just.  The.  Right.  Spot.

Stimulus and Response

I’ve come to the conclusion that dogs have a fairly decent observation and correlation engine in their furry heads.  My dog picks up on things pretty quickly and associates little actions on my part with other activities that she either likes or dislikes. 

For example, if I attach my cellphone to my belt she knows that it’s highly likely that I’m about to leave.  At this point she perks up and starts bouncing around in the hopes that I’ll take her with me.  In association with this she’s learned two phrases.  If I say, “I have to go out for a while” she knows that she isn’t going to go and sits down with her ears back (it’s actually kind of pitiful to watch).  On the other hand if I say, “Ok, you can go,” she practically starts vibrating with anticipation as she’s learned that she’s going with me.  It doesn’t seem to matter to her if it’s a walk in the park or just a ride around town as I run errands.  She’s happy to go.

Dog Bloggin’ On Such A Winter’s Day

Here are some pictures of my dog from this Sunday, when it was still warm and sunny outside.

Both were taken while she was checking for squirrel activity in the corner of the yard (always a favorite pastime for her).


Law Of Conservation Of Dog Hair

It’s amazing to me the amount of hair that one medium-sized dog can shed.  I just cleaned the lint screen after taking my sheets out of the dryer and was amazed to find a wad of black hair.  The washer gets most of the hair out, so that was just a small portion of what was originally there.  I also see the same thing when running the vacuum in the living room.  It’s a bagless model, and it doesn’t seem to matter how many passes I make, I get a great big wad of dog hair in it every time.

And while I’m talking about the dog, I find it amazing that despite being a long-haired dog who loves to swim and jump into the brush along the trail that she doesn’t smell.  When I bathe her I usually get lots of sand and dirt that was hiding in her fur, but if you hadn’t washed her you wouldn’t have ever know it was there.  She also somehow manages to make her collar smell bad, usually within a few days of getting a new one (I’m starting to suspect that she does this on purpose).  The amazing thing is that she doesn’t smell, just the collar.  Washing them doesn’t work, so I end up having to get her a new one every couple of months.

Bad Dog

Just when I think my dog has settled down into a routine she goes and does something exceedingly stupid (and dangerous this time).  On our daily trips to the park I usually roll down the windows to let her stick her head out and get some air.  I’ve never worried about her trying to jump out, since she never tried it when she saw a squirrel or another dog (when she’s out of the truck it’s nearly impossible to restrain her from chasing squirrels).  But today she practically launched herself out of the window just after I’d turned into the park.  Fortunately we were only going about 5 MPH, but the bad thing was that she ran in FRONT of the truck and headed for the grass.  I got out and yelled at her to get back and she rather sheepishly came back and jumped into the back seat.  Needless to say I didn’t take her for a walk after that.  Also, she’ll never get to ride with the windows down again, either. 

Later this evening I realized that somehow during her fifteen seconds of freedom she managed to lose the tag on her collar that has my address and phone number.  I had a sinking feeling when I realized that if she’d gotten away that there would have been no way for anyone to identify her or get in touch with me.  I think it may be time to have her chipped.

Fraidy Dog

I learned on Sunday night that Boots is afraid of thunderstorms.  I’ve known dogs before that were afraid of thunder, but her reaction was the worst that I’ve seen.  She was trembling and her heart was racing.  It also left her a little out of sorts the next day (she didn’t eat in the morning and she slept most of the day).  She recovered today and was more energetic than usual.

I sense a difficult night ahead as the local forecast is calling for thunderstorms late tonight and tomorrow.  She’s really going to hate April and May around here…

A Shocking Experience

Boots usually gets really excited when I pull out the Pup-Peroni container.  However, for the past couple of days she has been reluctant to take them from my hand.  I wondered why until yesterday when she started to take one from me and I felt a shock from static electricity.  It turns out that static electricity will pass through a Pup-Peroni strip.  I guess the previous times the charge had been low enough that I didn’t feel it, but her mouth is a lot more sensitive than my hand.

I feel bad about shocking her, but at least now I know to put them down instead of trying to get her to take it from my hand (at least until summer when we resume our normal 90% humidity level).

Neurotic Dog

I have one of these dog waterers so that I don’t have to constantly refill her water bowl.  However, the dog is a little afraid of it.  She’ll take a few sips and then move back, eyeing it warily for a moment.  Then she’ll go back for a few more sips.  She’s afraid of the “burble” noise it makes when the air bubbles move to the top of the bottle.

Interestingly enough, my mother’s dog has the same problem, although her cat seems to enjoy making it burble.

What’s In A Name II

Like ValueJet/AirTran, some people seem to think that a name change will change people’s perception.

NEW YORK — Start spreading the news—the notorious set of chompers otherwise known as a pit bull is being renamed the New Yorkie in an effort to improve its image.

While already banned in parts of Colorado, Florida and Connecticut, the dog is just misunderstood, animal lovers contend. But a bloody history of aggression and attacks has branded the dog dangerous and deadly to some.

In the city where a reputation can make or break you, the dogs are getting a fresh moniker.

Ed Boks, director of New York City Animal Care and Control (search), told the New York Post he came up with the idea to change the breed’s name after moving from Phoenix, Ariz., to New York City and realizing that the dogs’ reputation was as erroneous as that of Big Apple citizens, who he said are “some of the most generous an open-hearted people I’ve ever met.”

I know that the media can distort things out of recognition (if you own a gun you understand), but I would tend to be pretty wary of a Pit Bull, regardless of what you call it.  Unless they’re planning to do something to get people to treat the dogs right, the breed will continue to be a problem regardless of what you call it.