Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Even though he already had his bee costume, "we" got Finn another costume for Haloween. There was no trick or treating for him, because Haloween is such a scary time for pups, but he did run around the back yard dressed like this.
Can't guess what he is. He is Shalom Pup. At least the thing only cost $13.00.
That picture is just another view, but it has a lot more of the Haloween feel thanks to the "ghost" (better known as someone moving quickly, trying to control a puppy who really does not like his new hat).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bionic Dog: MicroChipping a Pet

Big Brother is making his presence felt, even in dogs. When we got Finn neutered last week we also had the vet implant a microchip. These little RFID chips can hold a single number, a la a bar code, that corresponds to important data (name, address, phone number). The chip can be scanned and the number identified in case Finn every runs away. There does seem to be some problems with this though. Some shelters don't have scanners at the ones that do may have a scanner that is unable to read all the types of tags. Here is a good article explaining some of the concerns over microchips. We went with HomeAgain as our chip provider. I must admit this was not necessarily a thought out decision as much as it was relying on our vet to give some good advice. This is the chip they put in all their pets and I must assume since they do, the shelters in the area will be able to scan for this type of chip.

Even if getting Finn a microchip is not a fail safe for getting him back, at least it ups the odds a bit. I don't think this lazy bum is going anywhere, but we are not taking any chances. Now we just have to remember to pay for the service every year. Sure it is only $15, which is the last thing I'm worried about paying, but it is a little annoying that they don't just charge $100 or something up front and track the pet for a lifetime.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

How to play fetch

So it turns out not even golden retrievers automatically know how to fetch. They need to be taught how to play. Thinking about it now that seems obvious but before I had a dog capable of fetching I did not think about this. I've been reading some good books about training, and one of the best ones 101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge , and Bond with Your Dog has a great suggestion for fetch. It is so simple it's almost insulting.

First take a standard tennis ball and cut a slit into it. I used an exacto knife to split open the ball about 2 inches.

Next squeeze the ball and slip a few treats inside. Using something smelly is best (Natural Balance Dog food rolls seem to work well).

Now toss the ball a few feet away. Finn noticed that it smelled right away and after pushing the ball around for a few seconds grasped it in his mouth and brought it back to me.

Get the dog to drop the ball, either he'll do it natuarally, he knows drop, or you can bribe him. Once he does squeeze the ball to release a treat.

Finn picked up on this trick very easily, as he normally does when we take the time to teach him correctly. The hardest part of training is being consistent. Luckily Finn is willing to put up with human mistakes, and although he may be confused or frustrated, he sticks with it.

Also because I have the picture and it is a Sunday, here is Finn supporting his favorite team. Who Dat! Geaux Saints!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Growing up Bear

Finnegan recovered from his surgery really well. We were able to take him out of his cool hat so he could meet my 2 year old cousin and then we took the hat off for good after day 6. He doesn't seem to interested in his stitches anymore so that is good. As far as the dysplasia goes we are forgoing the surgery. Our thinking (and backed by the Vet) is that there is no reason to do surgery on a dog that shows no signs of problems. Except for the X-Rays there is nothing to suggest that Finn has bad hips. We'll make sure to monitor his activity and read up on all the proper treatment (more on that in a later post) but he is a growing puppy and we just don't want to immobilize him for a month while he is still developing. We just want to make sure he enjoys his life and I just can't rationlize a preventive surgery that does not guarantee a fix.

The pumpkin above is only the start of Finn's October character. He already has two Haloween costumes (in addition to the Bee Costume). Below is a picture of his oversized rawhide bone, he deserved it after all he went through last week.

In other news we will be going on vacation soon, unfortunatly Finn will not be joining us. We are going to board him. We've looked around and we're pretty sure we found a place he will like. He is there right now. We took him this morning for an "interview" and decided to leave him for the day to make sure he will be able to handle it in a few weeks. It is stressful to leave the Bear with folks we don't really know but hopefully he will be okay. He seemed happy waltzing around sniffing all the other puppies, so long as he comes home free and clear of any markings it looks like a hit.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

No Longer a Puppy.... Neutering

Today was the big day for Finn. Bob Barker would be proud. Everything went well, he had no adverse reaction to the anesthesia and he even got a cool microchip. The one bummer came with the news that the x-ray's they took showed signs of some bad hip dysplasia. We knew this was a possibility even though his parents had no problems. This is not really a sickness but it still does cause some concern. More to come on this subject in later posts.

In other news our dog trainer Caryl Wolff of Doggie Manners is a candidate for MyFox L.A.'s award for Best Dog trainer. I already gave her a vote, she helped make Finn who he is. That is a very good thing. If any one sees this and wants to throw her a vote please do, she has my recommendation.

Good thing we have trained Finn, it keeps his mind sharp so he can figur things out. Like how to walk around with a cone on his head. Here are the requisite pictures of Finn and his cool neck accessory.
There have been no problems post-op so far. He walked form the car to the back yard, ate some food (hand fed of course) and chewed a bone for a little while. The cone does confuse him a bit and I think I caught him sleeping standing up a few times.

I'll check on him a few times tonight, but from what people have said he should be fine. Still, I worry.