Feeling Cheated?

Summer in Oregon is amazing, right? The sun is shining, the rivers are glistening, and the cheatgrass is blooming.

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Oh cheatgrass… the bane of my summer existence. But it doesn’t have to be so bad. Below are some tips to help avoid getting cheated, but first let me explain what cheatgrass actually is, for those new to Central Oregon.

Cheatgrass’ entire purpose, much like any living thing on the planet, is to reproduce. It can become a nuisance to pups once the plant dries out and drops its tiny barbed seed pods, which can get into paws, eyes, nostrils, and burrow its way into fur or skin. Cheatgrass usually reaches its prime in summer and early fall and it is quite invasive. They contain teeny tiny barbs that enable the seed to work its way deep into skin and fur, and even into mucus membranes. The barbs are one-way, similar to porcupine quills, causing them to be near impossible to get out.

  • familiarize yourself with cheatgrass and know what it looks like, in all stages of its life. take note of what trails you see it on and where you don’t.
  • check your pet after every outing. you should check your pup’s entire body over, paying extra close attention to ears, eyes, nose, mouth, under the collar or harness, between toes, and paw pads. yea, everywhere.
  • haircuts and grooming. keep those coats trimmed and brushed to limit the amount of fluff for cheat to grasp onto. keep the hair between the toes nice and short, as this is the most common place for cheat to hide in.
  • have a second set of eyes check your pup.
  • make sure your pup isn’t munchin’ on cheat. most dogs enjoy a nibble of grass here and there, but double check to they aren’t ingesting cheat as it can get into the lungs and abdomen and cause serious infections.
  • keep your dog on leash in areas with a lot of cheat, just to keep them from venturing into it.

If your pup has been attacked by cheatgrass, look for signs of infection such as fatigue, loss of appetite, and swelling. If you notice your pup sneezing, shaking its head, scratching its ears a lot, excessively licking, specifically on paws and in between toes, you may want to swing by the vet clinic. Look for any redness, swelling, or drainage. You can remove cheatgrass yourself if it hasn’t gone too deep, but some cases require the barbs to be surgically removed.

Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to cheat than others. Long hair can hide cheat very easily, make sure your pup is free of dreadlocks to avoid cheat burrowing into them. Curly hair seems to just suck up cheat, doodles are an excellent target. Wire hair is thick and hides cheat well.

 

How to Say Hello in Dog

Dogs are so cute! Every time I see one I say aloud, “ohhhhh cuuuuute puppyyyyy!” I can’t help it. But what I can help is how I greet and interact with every “cute puppy” I meet.

Have you ever had someone come up to you and invade your personal bubble? Speaking inches from your face, talking loudly, carrying an unpleasant scent, maybe even touching your arm without permission? Dogs deal with this invasiveness on the reg, and if they decide to say “hey I don’t like that, please step back” they often get into trouble for showing “aggression”.

Here are some tips on how to approach and greet a dog. And if all else fails, simply don’t greet the dog! Easy as that!

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  • Don’t assume every dog is a people dog. As mother always says, “ask before petting a dog.”
  • When greeting a dog, avoid direct eye contact so you don’t seem threatening.
  • All greetings must be on the dog’s terms. Start by ignoring the dog and allowing them to come sniff you first. Don’t make sudden movements and watch the dog’s body language. Sticking your hand in a dog’s face can result in a bite. Do not approach a dog that retreats from you, that is not what he wants.
  • Even if it is obvious that a dog is happy and wants pets, do not lean over him. This is an aggressive posture to a dog. Avoid petting the dog’s head, instead stroke the shoulders or chest. If the dog seems interested and happy to see you, you can kneel down to the dog’s level to interact.
  • After 30 seconds or so you should have a better idea of whether or not the dog is interested in your attention.
  • Yellow accessories have been a useful tool in letting people know if a dog is sensitive to attention or not. If you see a dog in a yellow bandana, or adorned with a yellow bow, this usually means the dog does not enjoy being rushed by other dogs or humans. It’s best to just ignore them, even if they come to inspect you.

“As humans, we tend to assume that dogs will understand our intentions and our words but unfortunately that is not the case. Our means of communication differ so greatly from that of dogs. Seeing things from the dog’s perspective, respecting and understanding canine behavior, and reading body language cues while greeting a dog will allow you to limit the risk of exposing a dog to a negative experience as well as injury to yourself or others.”Sylvia Wilson

Fur Coat Being Bogged Down by Snowballs?

Winter finally arrived in Central Oregon and there are a lot of Pups that are new to the snow and are unsure of how to react to it!

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Yes, snow is fun. Most of us turn into little puppies when winter hits. But what happens when our fluffy side kick pops out of the frozen ground and is covered in tiny snowballs? You can pick them out with your fingers, but after a couple minutes of this activity your fingers go numb and your efforts are fruitless. If you ignore them until later they can twist further into the fur and cause painful dreadlocks.

How can you eliminate these snowballs? And more importantly how can you prevent them from ever appearing in your dog’s fluff? Here on a few tips I know of…

Snowballs can be avoided by:

  • Trimming your Pup’s fluff– trimming down their toe hair so they are more tame or even bare knuckled is an easy way to avoid snow clumps. This of course causes your Pup’s toes to be more exposed to the cold, so be careful on certain breeds and on those that rarely spend time in the cold. Some dog coats are not meant to be shaved so make sure you speak to a professional first!
  • Boots are another great way to keep paws safe from frost. I have yet to meet a dog that enjoys wearing shoes, but if you can get your Pup to use them it’s an awesome way to keep their paws and paw pads protected! I have found the best way to get my Pup excited about stuff is to wrap it like a gift! I wrapped up his boots and got very excited about them, using my best Minnie Mouse voice. I let him open them and sniff them and then gave him treats while I put on his new boots. He walked around like a baby deer stuck in tar, but then I took him outside and we played a game of soccer and he was forced to adjust to them! It’s still difficult to convince him to wear them on hikes, but treats and reassurance help him to forget about them! Ruffwear makes a lot of different kinds, so you can find the best fit for your Pup!
  • The best kept secret to avoid snow balls is… Musher’s Secret! It’s a protective wax you apply to your Pup’s pads and fur and it helps prevent snow and ice from attaching to them! You can find it at your local pet store, or on the World Wide Web!

You can remove snowballs by:

  • Brushing them out! I find slicker brushes are the best to use on snowballs. Make sure to get to the skin, as some snowballs can twist themselves up into the fur.
  • Rinsing in warm water! Make sure the water isn’t too warm, but warm enough to melt the snow. You should still brush the fur after rinsing, just in case some stubborn snow is hiding.

If you have any tips on how to remove snow and protect those precious potatoes, or know of any good dog boots let me know!

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The Adventure Pup Experience

Lately people have been asking me what I do for work, and when I say “I run a hiking service for dogs” I get the same reaction, “Oh fun! What a great thing!” And yes, they’re correct to say that, it is amazing and I love doing it, but after some more conversation I come to realize a lot of people see me as either a boarding facility, jam packed with dogs (they’re only half listening to what I’m saying), or that 9 year old neighbor you have that always wants to be around your dog and will always jump at the opportunity to watch them when you leave town (yes I was that 9 year old some time ago), but my job is so much more than that, so I thought I would explain what makes Adventure Pup a different experience.

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  • I truly love your dog (or cat, or iguana, or fish, or rat) as much as I did when I was a kid hopping your fence to lay in your yard with them. I know your pup’s hobbies and pet peeves, I can pick them out of a line-up of dogs that other people would assume are clones, and I will remember them until I am old and senile. They will get excited when they run into me in public, and you might not even recognize me. I will have photos of them forever on my computer, and sometimes (currently) pinned to my wall above my desk, to brighten my day when I need it. I will constantly talk about them to my human friends.
  • On that note, I have more dog friends than human friends. I just prefer the company of non-human animals. It makes me a little awkward to talk to, but also great with your pups.
  • I see dogs as individuals. I don’t do the same activity for every dog. I know who likes doing what and I know what activities to avoid with certain dogs. Everyone is different and unique, and I set up my day to day with that in mind.
  • Packs are kept small and intimate, not only so I am able to physically control everyone on leash at once, but also so that all dogs enjoy the outing. Small packs help keep the excitement level down, which results in less anxiety and a more connected pack. Pups are also matched based on energy level and individual personalities so every member of the pack enjoys their Adventure.
  • Every outing involves both physical and mental stimulation. Pups are given gentle guidance and work on basic commands while out on Adventures, nose work is done with dogs that do better with a job, and tTouch is done with all Adventure Pups to help create a stronger bond, alleviate stiff joints, or release some anxious energy. After a dog has been with me for a length of time I have to use very little voice control and most pups will follow my energy. May sound a bit flower-power to some, but it works for me.
  • Different techniques are used for different dogs to help them grow and learn at their own pace. I use a variety of training techniques and exercises (basically anything except old school/negative reinforcement training) and I am always continuing my education by attending different animal classes and holding side jobs in various animal industries (retail, nutrition, medical, daycare, training, shelters, etc.)
  • I follow dog rules: off-leash in certain areas and not in others, picking up poop and taking them with me, only allowing dog/people friendly dogs off leash, bringing no more than 3 dogs to a dog park. I’m a pretty big square and love a good set of rules.
  • I am prepared for each outing with a car stocked with dog necessities & emergency kits and also carry a pouch with me on every hike carrying smaller versions of necessities & emergency kits (I made a post about that a little while back if you’re curious). I also prepare myself by knowing where I am going ahead of time and familiarizing myself with the trail before bringing Adventure Pups along (my dog Link is a huge help in these tests).

If you have a dog walker or pet sitter they should posses these qualities. I form very deep bonds with animals, even if I know them briefly, but I have worked with some people who do not actually care for the animal they’re watching & out of all the “animal people” I know there are only a select few I would trust with my own dog.

The Off-Leash Epidemic

Oh Bend, the most amazing Dog Town this side of the Mississippi. How I love your glorious dog parks, your extensive hiking trails, and all your refreshing swimming holes. And apparently, so does everyone else and their mother… and their dog!

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If you live in Bend (or anywhere else where dogs and humans coexist) you’ll run into the issue of dogs freely roaming the outdoors, not a care in the world and not a leash in site. You’ll be walking along a peaceful trail, listening to the birds and the distant river, looking up at the tall pines, keeping your best friend close-by and safe with a six foot nylon leash. Suddenly you look at the trail ahead and you see an adorable little Aussie, just standing about ten feet in front of you, still as a statue, and you begin your internal dialogue, “Is this dog with a human? Should I turn the other way? Or head off trail? Is it going to approach?” Meanwhile, that best friend you keep next to you on lead is beginning to whine and tug and stress. Suddenly another human appears, and casually yells to you, “Oh it’s ok he’s friendly!” And you uncomfortably chuckle, “Ok great, mine is not!”

This is a daily occurrence. Bend is a pretty dog friendly town, and people seem to take that and run with it… off leash. There are numerous off leash dog parks and trails in town, but the majority of hiking, walking, & biking paths are leashed areas. This means your dog MUST be on leash… not if they’re cool they can hang… they MUST BE ON LEASH. This is not because the city loves power and wants to control your rights, this is for the safety of you, your dog, and everyone around you. I know, other people, what a weird concept, but a lot of people do not like dogs. A lot of dogs do not like dogs. Allowing your dog to run off leash is much easier for you and much more enjoyable for your pup, but some dogs become incredibly anxious when approached by an off-leash dog, and your dog could get hurt if it sniffs the wrong dog. Or even worse a human could get hurt.

When you are in off-leash areas, please make sure your pup is well behaved. Dogs are technically only to be off leash when they have excellent recall and are under your control. There have been instances where well trained dogs have wandered from their owners, bothering a non-dog loving human, and let me tell you, people who do not have dogs love telling you that your dog is terrible, and they love reporting you for going against the rules.

Here’s a true story from the Sydney Morning Herald: Neil McMahon had brought his dog to an off-leash dog beach. He allowed the dog to wander and enjoy itself. The dog approached a baby laying on a blanket in the sand and decided to give that baby a lick on the face. (don’t ask me what a baby was doing laying in the sand of a dog beach) The child’s mother accused the dog of attacking the baby and called the police. Neil was fined $238 because the dog was not under his control.

“‘Effective control’ is defined as follows. It means your dog will return to you upon command (fair enough, though I don’t know a dog owner who has a 100 per cent success rate on that front). It means that you “retain a clear and unobstructed view of the dog” in the off-leash area at all times (fair enough, and usually not a problem unless the whirling dervish of romping dogs gets too big or they head off into the shrubbery in pursuit of a tennis ball). But here’s the kicker that got me in trouble: ‘effective control’ means your dog ‘does not bother, attack, worry or interfere with other people or animals’.” -Neil

So if you aren’t worried about other dogs or people, at least worry about your bank account. Or being an adult and being scolded by a police officer or park ranger, cuz that would be embarrassing.

Be courteous and cautious. Be mindful of your dog and others. Be a standup, law abiding citizen. If you need help finding an off-leash area or need to become better acquainted with your areas leash laws, Google is great at looking things up! If you live in Bend the Dog PAC is an excellent resource for dog parks, summer and winter trails, and upcoming dog events! Dogster Magazine and Zuke’s have some great tips on Adventuring with your pup off leash!

*this has been on my mind lately because of how many people have been complaining of off-leash dogs in an area they thought safe to bring their dog-reactive-dog for a walk*

 

Your First Pet

It’s puppy and kitten season! Which means people are flocking to local shelters and calling distant breeders to adopt those fresh little fur babies, but what should you expect when picking out your first pet? Our new pal Jessica Brody over at OurBestFriends.pet was nice enough to put together some pointers for new pet parents! Jessica is a fellow dog lover & the creator of OurBestFriends.pet, where animal lovers can share their favorite photos & stories about their furry pals!

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Essential Advice for First-Time Pet Owners

So, you’ve finally made the decision to introduce a pet into your life. Whether you choose a cute, little fish or a big, fluffy dog, caring for your pet will be an endlessly rewarding experience. But before you jump into it, make sure you’re prepared. Here are a few simple tips to help you ensure your adoption is a successful one.

Ask Yourself Some Questions Before Picking a Pet

Before you pick out a furry friend, consider what you can provide and how much time you have to spare. Cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and birds are better pets for people who travel a lot. Unlike dogs, these animals can stand to be alone as long as they’re checked on every day. Avoid long-haired cats and dogs if any of your family members have allergies. Remember that dogs need to be taken outside frequently to use the bathroom, so they’re not the best option for apartment dwellers. On the other hand, fish and hamsters are good pets for small spaces. Finally, don’t get a new puppy if you don’t have the time to train it. Retired service dogs are a great alternative if you’re looking for a pet that’s already well-behaved!

Do Your Research and Get Prepared

Gather all of the supplies you need for your pet before you bring your pet home. For cats and dogs, this may include:

  • Food and water bowls
  • Toys
  • Travel crates
  • House-training supplies or litter box
  • Collars
  • Grooming products
  • A comfortable bed

If you’re getting fish, learn how to establish a nitrogen cycle in your tank before you add any fish. You risk losing fish to poison gases in the water if you don’t do this. For small rodents, do your own research on the proper cages, bedding and accessories that your specific breed requires. Don’t just take advice solely from pet store employees.

Make Your Pet Feel Comfortable in Their New Home

Welcoming a pet home for the first time can be overwhelming for them. Let your dog, cat, or other animal explore on their own and meet new family members at their own pace. This advice is especially useful for people adopting rescue pets that may be frightened or scared. Learn how to properly house-train new puppies to make the process as mess-free as possible. Start training your pet from day one so they know what kind of behavior you expect from them. Provide rewards for good behavior, such as treats, belly rubs, or a quick playtime. Pets will bond more quickly to owners who are consistent and fair. Finally, never let your emotions take over when reprimanding a dog for bad behavior.

Schedule Your First Vet Visit

Unless you have a fish or other similar creature, it’s important that you take your pet to the vet soon after you get home. Young’s Animal Hospital recommends scheduling a vet appointment well in advance since many vets get booked up early. An initial visit is key to determine any possible health risks that may become a problem in the future. Plus, new puppies or kittens may still need their vaccinations. If you’re adopting an older animal, an initial vet visits are important for taking care of existing health issues.

How You Can Benefit from Pet Ownership

According to Medical News Today, pets provide many wonderful benefits to their owners’ mental health. This is a reason why companion animals are often recommended for people in addiction recovery. In fact, many studies have found that pets provide a sense of stability and meaningfulness to the lives of people suffering from substance abuse. Pets force you to get outside and stay connected with your community, staving off loneliness and encouraging social interaction. Pets even give you a strong sense of self-worth as they force you to be responsible for the care of another life. This can help recovering addicts feel needed and give them further motivation to avoid relapse.

Remember that having a pet requires a lot of patience. Your new puppy will probably soil the floor more than a couple of times, or your kitten could scratch up your couch. Even keeping a simple fish means changing the water weekly. Before you get a pet, do your research and decide whether you’re up to the task. Most importantly, prepare for years of unconditional love and support from your new friend!

Doggie Courtesy

As someone who goes to multiple dogs parks every day, I run into a lot of frustrating, careless humans. I’m sure you’ve experienced them, and perhaps they are the reason you no longer enjoy visiting the many wonderful dog parks that we are blessed to have in our town. Or perhaps… you are one of those frustrating, careless humans! Either way, here is a rant… I mean a guide… on how to behave in the outside world!

  • PICK UP YOUR POOP! gee wiz this seems like such a simple request, since you are actually required by law to remove your animals’ waste from any property that isn’t yours. The main reason for you to pick up your dog’s waste is so that other dogs (any animals) don’t eat it! Dog poop is one of the worst poops to eat! Yes, there are poops that are ok for animals to eat, such as deer, but dog poop is not one of them! I cannot tell you how many dogs I have met that have had to had gastrointestinal surgery due to eating dog feces! Would you want that vet bill? Also, every dog park and walking path is riddled with trash cans and poop bags, so it’s just laziness on your part.
  • LEASH LAWS! So we all know Bend is dog friendly, but there are actually A LOT of places in town that require your dog to wear a leash. And no, it’s not because the city is run by jerks that want to keep your dog down, it’s for you and your dog’s safety! It’s real great that your dog is friendly to everyone they meet, but what happens when your off-leash dog encounters a dog aggressive dog that is on a leash walk with his human? If that leashed dog bites your dog, there is nothing you can do about it because you were breaking the law. You can try to press charges, but odds are the city will not be on your side, and you will be stuck with an injured family member. What happens when your off-leash dog approaches someone that is fearful of dogs? Well, in a terrible instance I have actually witnessed, your off-leash dog could get kicked in the face by a very large man. And again, nothing you can do about it, because you are not a law-abiding citizen. And worse case/pretty standard scenario, what if your off-leash dog is prancing around your feet through the parking lot (my god I hate when people let their dogs run around parking lots) and all of a sudden he sees a squirrel… or a deer… and he can’t control his instinct and he starts to run… and before you even notice he’s gone he’s hit by a car. Again, nothing you can do. The driver would most likely not be at fault, and would ultimately have to live with the fact they hit a dog for the rest of their life. The reason for leash laws is to protect your dog from harm. Don’t be the person that thinks “that’ll never happen to me”.
  • LITTER! This is the same concept as picking up your poop, but I’d also like to mention if you’re somewhere like Big Sky or Good Dog and you see litter on the ground, feel free to pick it up. I carry a small pouch around that I fill with shards of glass found at dog parks and on trails. You don’t have to be that nerdy about it, but if you see something you wouldn’t want your dog to eat or step on pick it up and toss it in the many trash bins.
  • CELL PHONES! I get it. You have a lot of business that needs to be taken care of right this very moment, but going out with your dog should be a bonding experience. And if you hate bonding with your best friend, then at least stay off your phone so you can watch your dog as he starts trouble. Don’t be loudly airing all your dirty laundry to the public while Rex is off neck pinning puppies and humping elderly labs.
  • GRUMPY DOGS! Please do not bring your dog to the dog park if they are not dog friendly. I work early, so sometimes I go to the dog park before the sun is up. I have often run into people in the dog park who are frantically calling their dogs back to them once they see another dog in the park. “I’m sorry he’s not friendly. I didn’t realize anyone else was in here.” Good rule of thumb to follow, SOMEONE IS ALWAYS IN THE DOG PARK. And if your dog gets into a fight and injures another, DO NOT JUST LEAVE WITH YOUR DOG! It’s like a car accident. You have to swap info and you have to pay their vet bills. This is part of the responsibility of having a dog… and being a decent human.
  • CHILDREN! Similar to off-leash dogs, remember that not everyone likes children. Some dogs do not care for small people, so please be cautious when bringing your small children to the dog parks. It’s a place where dogs of all shapes and sizes come to play and run off steam. They are often not aware of their bodies and they can send small children flying. Dogs also have sharp teeth, that can easily injure children, even on accident. Children under 12 are not allowed in dog parks without adults. If your 9 year old is at the dog park and your dog gets into a bad fight, how will your 9 year old handle it? Odds are, not much better than your 12 year old. Small children should be carried to avoid any injuries. And as a side note, baby strollers and small children on bicycles do not belong in the dog park. You could scare or injure a dog, and this is their space, not yours.
  • WATER! This isn’t really a suggestion… just a thank you to all the humans that bring water to dog parks during the winter!

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Surviving the Smoke

As the fires continue to burn throughout Oregon we ask ourselves, “How much more can I stand this campfire smell?!” Well if your pup could talk, he would be asking himself the same thing!

A dog’s sense of smell is about 10,000 times more powerful than ours! Dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to our measly 6 million. And the part of a dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is about 40 times greater than ours. That’s a whole lotta campfire stench!

Not only are their senses of smell sensitive to the smokey air, but when a dog exercises they pant in order to keep their bodies cool. This means they are taking in gasps of air for an extended period of time. When you take your pup out to exercise in these smokey conditions, they will begin to pant and inhale the unhealthy air into their lungs. This air could effect even the healthiest of dogs, but is much worse for elderly pups, dogs that are overweight, and of course those with health issues.

Please be aware of the air quality in your town, and be sure to limit outdoor romps and hazardous air exposure.

“Pet owners who must walk or exercise pets outdoors should look for times of the day when smoke and dust settle as much as possible. On really severe days, designated with a red air quality warning, maybe only a quick outing in the yard is best. By all means, though, avoid intensive exercise during these periods of poor air quality.” -Dr. Robert Dyke of WSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital 

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