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Topics - CalistogaPyr

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So the other night, my husband took the dogs out to pee (about 2:30am).  Bo ran to the spot near the deck where the 'coons have been and was searching for them (this is her usual behavior).  The strange thing was, Ripley totally squared off at her and challenged her, which lead to a rather loud fight on the lawn that took both of us to break up.  There was no biting, just a lot of snarling & growling.  My husband said that Bo was totally minding her own business until Ripley challenged her.  Ripley is about 2 1/2 now (fixed), so I'm wondering if this is some kind of developmental stage where he's trying to assert himself as top dog?  Bo is pretty much the HBIC in our house (amongst the dogs, that is), and she outweighs him by about 80 pounds, so I'm just wondering if this is normal or if there's something we can do to thwart this behavior.  I'm enrolling him in formal obedience in June and he has some knowledge of basic commands that I've worked with him on.  Has anyone else had this kind of an issue?

General Board for Big Dogs with Big Paws / 3 big paws & a baby-help!
« on: April 13, 2009, 07:18:05 am »
I tried posting this earlier...let me try again!!  Well, it looks like the family is going to expand.  I am now 6 weeks pregnant with a VERY unplanned pregnancy!  As you can understand, I'm overwhelmed with feelings, fears and a TOTALY LOSS OF CONTROL!  Needless to say, my husband & I want to keep our fur family intact during and after the transition to a skin child being in the house.  I wanted to hear from others how they facilitated this transition.  Bo (our Pyr girl) has no exposure to newborns but does not like toddlers (they make her nervous).  Floyd does well with toddlers but has no exposure to newborns, and Ripley, we just don't know yet!  I welcome support and feedback...fee ling a little flummoxed by this big change in life-plan.
Jenn in CA

General Board for Big Dogs with Big Paws / Found a lump on Bo...
« on: February 24, 2009, 07:17:04 am »
Hey BPO-ers!  I haven't been around for a while...busy with work & life (and husband's pre-Christmas pink slip).  I wanted to pose a question to the group for thoughts as I'm out of my depth on this one.

We discovered a lump on Bo's right side (just in front of her right leg...I guess it's like a dog leg armpit area) over the weekend.  It's about 1" in length and shaped like a football.  It's a solid mass, but it seems as though you can move it (although since this is my first experience with it, I don't know if I'm actually moving it or if that's the skin).  It doesn't seem to be causing her any pain, although when I was pressing on it the other day, she turned her head to explore what I was doing to her.  I have an appointment scheduled with the vet for Thursday, but one of the reasons I'm concerned is that she had a seizure about three weeks ago, pretty much out of nowhere.  The vet attributed it to the Reconcile (prozac) she was on for seperation anxiety, but since she'd been on it for over a year with not seizure behavior, I wasn't too sure about that diagnosis.  That was before we found the lump.  Anyway, I know that we can't know anything until the vet looks at it, but I wanted to know if anyone had a suggestion as to questions I should ask or things I should look out for.  Thanks for reading & responding...I appreciate the support and information!!

Jenn in CA. 

General Board for Big Dogs with Big Paws / allergies, dry skin or haircut?
« on: December 05, 2008, 07:21:34 am »
Happy holidays all!!  I wanted to post this question to see if anyone had any ideas as to the recent onset of itchy skin in Bo.  She started itching a lot a few weeks ago and I don't know if it's because we changed her food, the really dry weather (my face is peeling off) or the fact that we had her hair clipped to 1/4" about two months ago (it's now about an inch long) due to BAD dreadlocks and BIG STINK.  We changed her food from Nature's Variety Instinct Chicken to Evangers Pheasant & brown rice.  She's not having any bowel or tummy problems that we can see (which is what usually happens when she's allergic to something), so I am at a loss as to whether or not this is an allergy to food, fleas (which we haven't seen) or bad weather!! =)   

I just dropped Ripley off at the local humane society for his neuter and shots.  The vet on duty said that he has a mild heart murmer on his right side, which is "unusual".  She wouldn't be specific about why it was unusual, but said that "several things could cause it".  After careful consideration of the options and factors involved, I consented to the surgery.  The vet said that the anesthesia risk isn't "that much greater" but that she wanted me to be aware that heart murmers can complicate surgeries. 
I feel so conflicted right now.  I hope I did the right thing. 
I also don't know the first thing about heart murmers!!!  She said on a scale of 1 to 6, his is a 1, but that I need to get a complete work-up done by my regular vet, which I plan to do once he comes through the surgery.  I had no idea that he would come with this complication, but we're committed to getting him the treatment he needs.  How we're going to pay for it...that's an entirely different story!! =)  Anyway, think good thoughts for us (especially Ripley) today...he should be ready for pick up at 4pm.

By the way, she said he's about 10 months old and is probably a border collie/aussie mix.  He weighs 60 lbs! 

Jenn in CA

Mixed Breed Discussion / I think we've just acquired a new dog!!
« on: May 27, 2008, 12:53:26 pm »
This weekend while walking Bo & Floyd, a young border collie/bernese mountain dog (my guess, of course) stray hooked up with us.  I've never seen him in the neighborhood before and he was SO skinny and dirty, also very nervous but desperately wanting to play with us.  He followed us home and Bo & Floyd let him into the yard, where he stayed all day.  I put up signs around the neighborhood, but so far, no one has called to claim him.  We think he may have been dumped, as that happens often in the rural neighborhood that we live in (an atrocity that I can't even fathom, but that's a story for another day).  We gave him a bath, some Advantage (he was COVERED in ticks) and a nice big meal and he's like a new dog!  We've named him Ripley in the hopes that he will become our third forever dog.  He's a darling boy and VERY affectionate.  He looks to be about 6 months old and not fixed.  If no one comes to claim him by the end of the week, I'm going to take him to get fixed, chipped and get his shots.  If someone does come to claim him, they're going to get a stern talking-to about the values of collars and tags and how to take care of a dog!! =)  I will post photos soon as I can get him to hold still!!
Jenn in CA

We're planning a camping trip for August and wondered if anyone had any recommendation s for good campgrounds in Northern California?  We like to hike and fish, plus the dogs like to swim!  If anyone has been to or knows of good campgrounds, I'd really love to know about them!!

Jenn in CA

I just switched Bo & Floyd from Natural Balance Duck & Potato to Nature's Variety Instinct (grain free).  I'm afraid I may have switched it too fast and upset Bo's sensitive tummy (my best intentions gone awry).  She's had cow flops intermingled with soft-formed stools for the past week (I started the switch last Friday).  Also, she's burping a lot and eating grass.  How long does it usually take for a dog to reach a baseline tolerance for new food?  I'm going to put some pumpkin & Slippery Elm Bark poweder in her dinner, so hopefully that'll help.  Does anyone have any other suggestions as to how to sooth the big girl's tummy? 
Also, has anyone else switched to this food?  What is your expereince with it? 
I appreciate the feedback!  I'm always on the look-out for good information!! =)
Well-meaning Jenn in CA!!

General Board for Big Dogs with Big Paws / Bo Vs. Racoon-the 2am chaos
« on: February 03, 2008, 01:04:24 am »
We had a bit of excitement last night!  I let Bo out to pee around 2am this morning and after doing her business, she squeezed through this tiny opening to go under the deck in front of our house (our house is built on a hill and the deck covers the slope in front of the house).  I went in after her, but she had gone about 30' and appeared to be stuck!  She was squirming and barking and I was really freaked out!  So I went inside and woke my husband up and asked him to come help me get her out from under the deck.  Keep in mind, there's only about 1.5 feet from the ground to the support beams of the deck, and my husband is 6'1", 230lbs.  Anyway, while I was waiting for him to get dressed, I looked under the house again and that was when I saw TWO GLOWING EYES...a BIG RACOON!!!  Clearly this was what motivated Bo to go under the deck.  So my husband has to shimmy under the deck and while he's trying to pull her out, she sqirms farther away from him and corners this 'coon and gets into a VERY nasty sounding fight with it.  I can't see anything at this point-I'm standing in the yard in the dark, I can only hear what is probably one of the worst sounds I've EVER heard.  My husband grabs a huge rock and throws it at the 'coon, which then takes off and runs out from under the deck, right over my feet and off into the darkness!!  It then takes him another 20 minutes to drag himself and Bo out from under the house (keep in mind there has been a sigthing of a second 'coon under the house while he's struggling with her).  He comes out, scratched & muddy.  Bo comes out COVERED in mud and whatever else was under there (wild critter poop, anyone?).  SHe's got a nick on her nose, which is bleeding, so I immediately freak out becuase her rabies shots are due to expire this month.  It's now 2:45am and I have to give Bo a BATH because she's so filty!!  Needless to say, the girl was VERY chagrined and sheepish this morning when we got up (again).  I now have to take her to the vet to get her nose checked and make sure she doesn't have any critter crud.  Oh, and my husband had to patch the hole where she squeezed through so as to avoid this happening again!!  Oh, and while all of this was happening...Fl oyd went back to bed!!
Just thought you guys would want to know what I was up to this morning!! 

So I've been worried about Bo's joint health for a while now, as I noticed that her hips were "popping" while we were on our walks.  She didn't show any signs of pain, but I made a mental note of it and talked to teh vet, who said that she probably has HD, but that it's not so bad that he wanted to do anything about it.  So, it's started getting colder here (I know, we're wimps about cold in California, but it's been in the 20's at our house in the morning) and I've notice that Bo is moving slower and slower, especially when getting up from a sleeping position.  Then I started hearing her shoulders pop when she would move around...this one sounded more like knuckles cracking.  Then I noticed that she was on her tippy-toes for the first few steps after getting up from a nap.  Much to my chagrin, she chooses to sleep on the linoleum floor instead of on her down-topped tempurpedic mattress that we made for her!  I also noticed that she's becoming more hesitant when people go to pet her and often moves away when the go to pet her rump (she's a therapy dog and works with me one day a week in my psychotherapy office).  She won't give "paw" like she used to and seems to be generally more slow.  Then last night when my husband got home from work, she seemed to have a great deal of trouble getting up from the floor and had this look on her face like she was confused becuase she wanted to go to greet him but couldn't...we call it her squinchy face because her eyes are crinkled up-she usually does this when she first wakes up.  Anyway, it took her a while to get to him and she seemed to be-as strange as it sounds-embarassed.  I know Pyrs are proud dogs and she very much loves the greeting routine she has with her dad, so it almost seemed like she was embarassed that she couldn't get to him fast enough.  I feel like I'm at this crossroads with her becuase part of me is in denial doesn't want to admit that my four year old dog looks and acts like an old dog, almost over night.  The other part of me knows that I have to retire her and stop pushing her to work with people when she's obviously in some degree of discomfort.  Pyrs are so stoic about pain, that I have no idea if she's hurting.  She has started sniffing my hand when I'm rubbing her hip area trying to massage it, but she doesn't growl or try to pull away.  She's clearly not as active as she used to be, but there are times when she's fast & mobile!!  I don't know.  I called the vet today to talk and I'm waiting to hear back.  I'm assuming x-rays are next, and maybe some medication of some kind.  I've got her on a multi-vitamin that has 2000mg of glucosamine, plus Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, every day (she weighs 128lbs), but it doesn't seem to be helping.  I know what I have to do, I'm just not happy about it.  I am just so sad to see her like this...not getting on the bed, hesitating to get into the car, being so stiff when she rises.  She's too young in my mind to have this stuff going on with her. 
Anyway, that's my sad vent...thanks for listening.
Jenn, Bo & Floyd in CA

FAQs about puppies / Introducing a new puppy friend
« on: January 22, 2008, 04:36:32 pm »
I'm wondering if anyone has any advice on how to properly introduce Bo to my friend's 6 month old Golden puppy?  Historically, Bo has not taken well to puppies because of their lack of manners and she often "scolds" them by barking at them.  While I realize that this is appropriate dog behavior, she's VERY loud (most Pyrs are-BIG LUNGS) and I think she can scare the people as well as the puppies.  I really want to introduce these two, as I miss having time with my friend and our dogs together (her older Goldens both died a few years ago).  However, I don't want Bo's scolding to traumatize this puppy, either!  Any suggestions?  FYI-the introductions would happen at the puppies house, not Bo's house (probably better in the long run).
Jenn, Bo & Floyd in CA

Food Discussion & Information / Food issues...again
« on: December 13, 2007, 06:57:15 pm »
The vet diagnosed Bo with "mild pancreatitis" and said that she can't have ANY treats, cheese, chicken...noth ing but kibble.  This is a MAJOR affront to her gastronomic senses, since she's used to getting grated cheese, chicken and broth on her dinner nightly.  She's going on "hunger strike" now, refusing to eat her kibble becuase it isn't doctored enough to her liking.  I've tried warm water and making a fuss over it, but to no avail.  Does anyone know of something "low fat" and grain-free that I could put on her dinner to help make it more appetizing?  She's currently eating Natural Balance Duck & Potato kibble.  Does anyone know if I can give her the wet version of that?  Help!!!

So I'm curious as to how peopele get their dogs ready for the chaos of the holidays?  This is the first year we're hosting Thanksgiving Dinner and we're expecting 20 people!!  My concern is that all the activity (and kids) might be overwhelming for Bo, who wants to keep tabs on everyone in the house and has a history of getting overwhelmed in crowds.  How do you keep a guardian dog from getting overstimulated by the comings and goings of everyone?  She's not crate trained, so I can't use that as a means of helping her cope.  I've got a Xanax on hand just in case she has a meltdown, but I'm hoping that doesn't happen becuase I don't want to drug her!!  I know that this is a strange question, but since this is my first time hosing the whole family, I thought someone out there might have had a similar experience and could offer some tips! 
Jenn, Bo & Floyd in CA

Big Dogs with Jobs / Does anyone know about carting with your dog?
« on: October 22, 2007, 12:34:20 pm »
I'm interested in teaching Bo to cart but I'm having trouble finding information online on how to get started!  I'd like to know how to build a cart (not for riding in) or to find out where to buy one.  I figured that it would be a good way for her to get exercise while still on leash (off-leash exercise has proven to be more exercise for me-as I chase her)!  We live in a relatively rural area with lots of room to travel, so I'd love to hear from others who have carted with their big dogs. 
Thanks for the help!!
Jenn, Bo & Floyd in CA

General Board for Big Dogs with Big Paws / switching dog food-help please!
« on: September 24, 2007, 05:28:08 pm »
I was thinking of switching the dogs from Natural Balance Duck & Potato to Solid Gold Hund-n-Flocken.  Does anyone have any experience with that brand? My friend with goldens swears by it.  My pyr, Bo, is grain sensitive and can really only tolerate oats/flax/brown rice.  Wheat & corn wreck her tummy.
Thanks for the help!!
Jenn, Bo & Floyd

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