How to stop a puppy from chewing

How to stop a puppy from chewing

How to stop a puppy from chewing? It’s actually pretty easy once you understand why they chew on everything. Puppy chewing is an important part of the teething process. As adults, dogs often chew for fun, or to relieve boredom. Chewing or tearing things up (like paper) can also be a displacement behavior, a way to release pent-up energy or stress.

Your adorable puppy will chew anything it gets its cute mouth on. This is normal and the behavior needs to be rerouted. Sure, it can be really aggravating once the cute stage wears off. Stick with it. It’s easy to fix. Many puppies wind up being returned or put in a shelter because stupid people don’t take the time to learn how to train their puppy / family member or they lack patience. I’ve been through a lot with my dogs and in the end, with proper training and love, they become outstanding. Some people simply don’t have the time or want to take the time to train. That’s a shame. Don’t freak out when you hear the word “training.” It doesn’t mean you need to set aside 2 hours a day. It’s not like going to the gym where you need to plan anything out. Now let’s get back on topic.

One of the most important things is managing the environment. We’re all familiar with “puppy proofing” our houses. Common sense tells us to put shoes in the closet and pups in the crate when we’re not actively supervising them. We often forget that many adult dogs need the same type of management to keep them out of trouble.

how to stop a puppy from chewing
Look how cute he is chewing your shoe!

One of the biggest reasons dogs chew things is separation anxiety. Your dog(s) love you more than you’ll ever know. You’re their master, their love, you feed them and give them the attention they crave. Dogs love being around their owners and the more you give them affection, the more they will respond. If you work, as most of us do, that means crating them or having someone check in on them. Dogs are den animals, so being in a crate isn’t a bad thing….just make sure it’s not more than 6-8 hours at a time.

Just like people, all dogs are different with different personalities. Some will chew / teethe more than others. Some dogs will be more destructive than others. These tips will help in redirecting your dog’s chewing / teething habits until they get old enough to know better. Our German Shepherd, Leia, who we’ve had since 10 weeks of age, gnawed on fingers and baseboards…not shoes. I think she associated the shoes with us and left them alone. We couldn’t turn out backs for a minute without having a baseboard gnawed on…..or the wooden window sills in the kitchen when she got a little taller! Re-routing her chewing solved that issue really fast.

Give your puppy a chew toy instead. If your dog attempts to chew on an inappropriate item while in your presence, simply interrupt the behavior and re-direct them to an appropriate chew toy.

kong classic dog toy to stop chewingIt can be helpful to have a stuffed Kong toy in your freezer – so you can quickly produce it when needed. Filling the Kong with peanut butter is great once it freezes. They’ll work on it for awhile, trying to get the frozen peanut butter out. The classic red kong is great for most dogs, while the black kongs are for aggressive chewers and large dog breeds. Kong dog toys are made of hard rubber and are very rugged. Most dogs love them whether you fill them with something or not.

how to stop a puppy from chewing with gorilla chewsThe gorilla chew was a complete home run for us with our german shepherd puppy. She was always gnawing at our fingers, which was cute, but….puppy teeth are like razors. They’ll slice your fingers and clothes no problem. The gorilla chew is something Leia, our german shepherd, still loves today. She’ll grab it with both front paws, find a spot and go to town on it. The wood is incredibly soft and DOES NOT SPLINTER. As they work on it, small wood particles come off, which are very soft, like wet toilet paper. There are not many and it isn’t messy. I trust this product and have bought her 3. Check the Gorilla wood and reviews on Amazon.

Use bad-tasting repellants and sprays. You can keep puppies and adult dogs away from some items by using impersonal correction, preferably where the “environment” does the correcting. For example, spray items with Bitter Apple spray or Boundary dog repellant, or use a Scat Mat at the edge of a counter top, to stop counter surfers. If something is particularly unpleasant, most likely the child or the dog will make the decision not to repeat that behavior. We did not have any luck with repellants. Leia went for the wood trim anyway. We even tried spraying apple cider vinegar with no luck. The Gorilla chew is what corrected her almost instantly.

Give your plenty of exercise. Exercise is vitally important for dogs prone to inappropriate chewing or other destructive behaviors. A tired pup will be less likely to get into things. A tired puppy is a happy puppy, or, should I say, owner. Make sure not to walk them too much, as their legs are still developing. I would stay away from running them until they’re at least 9 months old to a year. Even at that age, mind the distance and how your dog reacts to it. Bring plenty of water for them as well while on the walk. Exercise also produces endorphins, which have a calming effect. In fact, it is these endorphins that are stimulated by chewing, so if your dog is not getting enough exercise, he may unconsciously be seeking to replace needed endorphins by releasing pent-up energy through chewing.

We got lucky with Leia, but we also never left her out of our site. My cousin, who also has a german shepherd, had to replace his couch…or what was left of it.

Video of Leia at a few months old, working on her frisbee when not working on her Gorilla wood. This is after a walk so she is more calm. It usually took her about 30 minutes to crash out after a walk of 6 to 8 blocks.

Make sure it’s not separation anxiety. Occasionally chewing or tearing things up is a symptom of a more serious problem, such as separation anxiety. If you suspect separation anxiety, the first thing you need to do is schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. We need to have day jobs and not all of us can be home all the time. Unfortunately this is something we can’t help. What you can do is hire a dog walker to make a 30 minute visit daily, or whatever you can afford. Maybe you have a neighbor who can check in on your dog as well.

Be gentle! A few training books can be useful but the most important are common sense and love. NEVER hit your dog. You will be amazed how FAST they learn with positive reinforcement and PRAISE! Trust me. I’ve had dogs all my life…40 something years. There are idiots out there that advocate inhumane methods for stopping destructive behaviors, such as putting duct tape around a pet’s mouth or physically hitting a dog. I would love to meet these people if you know what I mean. Needless to say, there is no excuse for such corrections. Not only are they extremely unfair, they’re ineffective. The use of proper management (for instance, crating a dog when he is not under your direct supervision), along with proper exercise, takes care of 99 percent of destructive behavior problems. More on dog training to come.

What methods have you used that worked for puppy training?

Thanks for reading and I’m sure this will help you out. I firmly believe in those gorilla chews.

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Steve

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How to fix a muddy yard with dogs – muddy dog yard solutions

How to fix a muddy yard with dogs – muddy dog yard solutions

What to do for a muddy yard with dogs? If you have dogs, you know the stress a muddy yard brings. Pine flakes by guardian are a great muddy backyard solution for muddy dog paws.  Dogs will track mud into the house and cleaning their paws can become a hassle. Each spring, in the Chicago area, we get a lot of rain, which turns our backyards into mud. This is not a big deal if you never have to venture into your backyard during the winter and spring months, but, if you have a dog, it’s another story. Each time the dogs come in from outside, they have mud on their paws or are excessively wet. Even if the dogs don’t run, just them walking through your mud swamp yard is enough to make you cringe. To solve this issue I pour pine flakes in the yard, covering the muddy areas.

how to fix your muddy yard when you have dogs

Each spring when the rains slow down, my small backyard resembles a pitcher’s mound of hard compacted dirt. I thought about fencing in the muddy area of yard from the dogs but this was a hassle and kind of pricey. CLEANING MUDDY DOG PAWS IS A HASSLE!

The “soil” the contractor used is very poor for growing anything so the grass dies at the end of each year. Once a year I roto til the soil, adding sand and even some cow manure to help the dirt along, before seeding the entire yard again. You would think this entire process would nourish the soil but it does not. After seeding I fence off the area so the dogs don’t walk through the freshly – tilled mud. There is also the risk that birds will eat the seed, and they will. You can buy biodegradable mesh that goes over the seed, to protect it from birds. This is money and time and messy.

I got tired of re-seeding the backyard each year. The yard always looked great until the fall. A friend of mine rolled out some astro turf, like what they use on soccer fields. I thought this was odd but since his yard is really small like mine, it made sense. His backyard was only used for their two large dogs to do their business. Since my backyard is small and I take our german shepherd to the park and walks around the block, I could care less if there is real grass or not.

There are actual companies that lay the fake backyard astro turf backyard but it’s a lot of money! A crew comes in, removes the grass, adds 6″ of level sand, pounds it down to flatten, then rolls out and stretches the fake lawn. It’s around $8,000. I don’t think so.

Here’s what I did to fix the backyard mud issue. Applying pine flakes works great

remedy for a muddy yard with pine flakesGet yourself pine flakes, which are used as horse bedding. I use guardian horse bedding and it lasts around 9 months. One package that is 8 cubic feet will cover a 20′ x 20′ area. I used 14 bags to cover my 800 square foot yard with an average of 3″- 4″ depth. The pine flakes soak up the water on the bottom level with enough to fluff on the top. The dogs never touch water or mud. The dogs also don’t go after the pine…they aren’t interested in eating it. The pine flakes will decompose over time (like 8 months) and are very good for your soil and grass.

Pine flakes also help to keep fleas and ticks away.

A lot of people use pine flakes when planting grass seed in their yards. A layer of pine flakes placed on top of the grass seed protect from the elements and the birds eating the seed. Over time, the decomposing pine flakes will feed the soil, and in turn, help the grass seed you planted.

amazon buy button 2

I’m very happy with the pine flakes for solving the mud issue in the backyard and it only took about an hour to complete. The dogs now enter the house with clean feet. The pine flakes are flexible and pretty much identical to bedding used for gerbil or hamster tanks. Being that the flakes are flexible and thin, they will not hurt your dog’s paws.

Cleaning the yard of dog waste is actually easier with these pine flakes as bedding. The dog waste doesn’t get caught in the grass…it simply lays on top of the flakes.

If you have any questions let me know. I really recommend this as a fix to your muddy backyard issue, especially if you have dogs. It may sound silly with a backyard full of pine flakes but they smell great and no more mud issues or muddy dog paws to clean!

You can buy pine flakes here from Amazon.

Another product my blog readers have used that works well, also from Amazon.

Pennington SUN and SHADE grass seed I use under the pine flakes. Also from Amazon.

If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to my blog to get emailed each time a new post is added.

Thanks!

Steve

www.steverotter.com

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Where to buy a german shepherd

Where to buy a german shepherd

Where to buy a german shepherd

This writing pertains to all dogs, not just german shepherds, but I will focus my story on the german shepherd since that’s what I have.

So you want a puppy. They’re cute, smell great, and you want a companion. Well, after you get that dog home, the newness wears off pretty quick. That next morning when there’s pee on your floor and you need to feed them and aren’t quite sure what you’re doing, reality sets in really fast. Want to stay out later with your friends? Nope, you have to get home to your baby. Puppies can only hold it for as many hours as they are old. So, a 4 month old puppy can hold it for 4 hours, if you’re lucky.

Anyway, this has to do with puppies and where to get them. There are SO MANY places to get puppies. The biggest that comes to mind is a pet store. This is where I got both my cairn terriers, Roxy and Jack. Roxy lived a great life and I miss her so much. She lived until the age of 14 and passed away 10/5/2016…one of the worst days of my life. Jack grew up with her and is 12 and doing well (except for the diabetes that made him blind. He is on insulin shots daily.)

More than likely, my dogs came from a puppy mill… my cairn terriers I got from the pet store. Puppy mills are cheap places to get dogs so the pet stores make more money. Pet stores will say they didn’t get their dogs from a puppy mill. Either they don’t know or they’re lying.

Our 4 month old german shepherd – Leia

How do you define a puppy mill?

A puppy mill is a breeding operation that breeds dogs for profit, prioritizing financial gain over the health or well-being of the dogs. If a breeding operation breeds for profit and sells to pet stores or to consumers over the Internet, it is not a responsible breeding facility. While puppy mills may vary in size and conditions, any breeding operation that places profit over the health or well-being of the dogs can be accurately described as a puppy mill. Puppy mills are usually very dirty, housing dogs crammed in cages all day. Dogs rarely come out of cages, as they are seen as breeding machines. They are given no human interaction or love. I will spare you the rest of the heart breaking details.

Are all puppy mills the same?

Puppy mills are in business solely to make a profit. Veterinary care, staffing, and humane living conditions are expensive and cut into the profit margin, particularly for large numbers of dogs. Mills keep overhead costs as low as possible to maximize their profits.

I’ve heard a lot of different terms used to describe puppy mills. What is the difference between a puppy mill, a commercial breeder, or a puppy farm?

These terms all describe the same thing – a breeding operation that breeds dogs exclusively for profit and keeps the costs for caring for the dogs as minimal as possible. There is a difference, however, between these types of operations and responsible breeders. We will never use the term puppy mill, commercial breeder, or puppy farm to describe a responsible, reputable breeder. To learn more about what makes someone a responsible breeder, click here.

What if a breeder has a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) license?

In order to sell to a pet store, a breeder must obtain a USDA license. The fact that the breeder has a USDA license does not provide an assurance of quality or humane breeding. Instead, it means that it is held only to very minimal standards of care and is most likely a puppy mill. To learn why a USDA license does not mean that you are purchasing a responsibly bred pet, click here. Responsible breeders do not sell to pet stores, and are prohibited from doing so by their breed club guidelines.

What does it mean if the store assures me that my puppy is registered or has papers?

It simply means that your puppy is registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) and that his or her parents are registered with the AKC as a purebred. Contrary to popular belief, this registration means nothing with respect to the quality of breeding (and whether the breeder conducts appropriate genetic testing) or the conditions in which the puppy was bred. The AKC has a long history of opposing legislation that would improve conditions for dogs living in mills and supports the commercial dog breeding industry. Read more here. If someone says the dog is registered with the AKC, that means NOTHING and your response should be SO WHAT.

What if a pet store assures me that their breeders are in compliance and that they only buy from the best breeders?

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean anything more than that the breeders are licensed to sell to pet stores and that they meet the USDA’s minimal standards. The USDA’s standards for care of companion animals are extremely minimal, and these standards are not adequately enforced. Pet stores will often tout that their puppies only come from the best USDA-licensed facilities, yet the conditions in USDA compliant facilities are often far below what most people would consider acceptable for companion animals. Most pet stores don’t know where their animals come from and they don’t care.

How do you know that the puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills?

You can trace the origin of a puppy sold in a pet store through federal and state records. Commercial breeding facilities that sell to pet stores must be licensed by the USDA. Pet stores in Illinois are required to provide the name of the breeder for each puppy. You can look up a registered breeder on the USDA website and see the number of adult animals, puppies, and any violations that the breeder has incurred. In addition, when a puppy is shipped from out-of-state, a veterinarian must file a health certificate with the state department of agriculture for every puppy shipped into the state that identifies the breeder or broker. By looking at the breeder or broker on the health certificates, or by going into the pet store and looking at the name of the breeder, you can see where pet stores are sourcing their puppies from. If you would like to research a breeder on the USDA website, click here.

I keep seeing the term broker. What is a puppy broker?

Brokers are pet dealers that obtain puppies from breeders, transport them, and then re-sell them to pet stores (in other words, a “middle man”.) Brokers need a Class B USDA license to operate. Brokers are a key part of the puppy mill supply chain as most pet stores obtain their puppies from brokers, and not directly from the breeders. Brokers often ship large quantities of puppies at a time for long distances in crowded conditions, creating a significant risk for the spread of illness.

Isn’t the problem the breeders, and not the pet stores?

Pet stores are the primary sales outlet for commercially bred puppies. Pet stores are necessary to sustain and perpetuate the puppy mill industry. It is imperative to cut off the end of the supply chain to decrease the number of puppy mills. Pet stores often misrepresent the true origins of their puppies and mislead consumers into believing that they are purchasing a responsibly and humanely bred puppy. Focusing our educational and advocacy efforts on pet stores is an extremely effective way to fight puppy mills.

If pet stores stop selling puppies, will there be a puppy shortage?

Absolutely not. There are millions of dogs in shelters and rescues needing homes at this very minute. Many shelters and rescues have puppies available, and there are thousands of puppies available on Petfinder.com. The idea that consumers will no longer be able to obtain a puppy is a myth perpetuated by pet stores that sell puppies.

Are there specific breeds that come from puppy mills?

Unfortunately, puppy mills produce all kinds of dogs. This can include purebreds, but also popular hybrids, aka designer dogs. They sell labradoodles, yorkipoos, maltipoos, pomskies, schnoodles, cockapoos, cavapoos, teddy bear puppies, maltichons, puggles, goldendoodles, sheltidoodles, chorkies, maltese shih tzus, peekapoos, goldadors, cane corsos, shihpoos, mastiffs, bulldogs, basset hounds, collies, shelties, corgis, labs, golden retrievers, shepherds and more.

I worked at a pet store at the age of 16

It was sad to see families, knowing they have no knowledge of dog ownership, come in to look at puppies. The chain I worked for, petland, oops, I said it, oh well, had us spray the puppy down with perfume when we saw a family looking at it. We were told to get it in their hands and make the sale. I hated that and would not do it. Sorry petland! So the parents bought a puppy because their brats begged for one. This is how dogs wind up in shelters. The vet bills rack up, the dog gets sick or the animal becomes a burden. When you bring an animal into your home, you do it with the knowledge that it’s FOREVER! If you question this for one second, YOU DON’T GET A DOG. Imagine if you were pulled from your home, taken from your family and put in jail, never to see your family again, surrounded by strangers crying and scared (other dogs.) I have heard where people abandoned their dogs because their new apartment wouldn’t take dogs. WHAT THE HELL KIND OF PEOPLE ARE YOU?! I called around when looking for apartments and my first question was, do you take dogs. NO? Ok, thanks…and I called the next place. Seriously, WTF. Maybe you don’t agree with me, but this is a life, and one that relies on you. The dog didn’t ask to be bought by you.

So, where do you buy a dog

The list is way too long and heart breaking. In 2017 I started searching for a german shepherd in shelters. I love shelters because the dogs are much cheaper, already fixed and already chipped. They are already house trained and potty trained as well, most of them. The people working at the shelters know the dogs, so they can tell you what to expect. I kept running across, NOT GOOD WITH KIDS, NOT GOOD WITH OTHER DOGS, etc. Well, I have 2 young boys at home and a 12-year-old dog. So, I turned to stores, who want a fortune. There are breeders in your area but I HIGHLY SUGGEST you ask questions and visit the place. See the mom and dad. If at any time you feel odd, then you DON’T DO IT!

I found this lady (with hundreds more like her) selling german shepherd puppies online, out of their home. They all said the same thing, the dogs were raised by me with my family. This lady wanted to make the sale and was pressuring me. Then she wanted to meet in a taco bell parking lot to make the deal. She didn’t want me over at her house, I was sensing. Why could that be? Well, as cute as this puppy was, I passed. She was selling the dog for $800, where most breeders were selling german shepherd dogs for about $1800-$2500. I passed. I felt odd about it, but I also felt odd about not saving that dog.

Then we passed by a store in a strip mall that simply said PUPPIES. We stopped in to see two beautiful german shepherd puppies, about 3 months old. They wanted $2,000 each. I was tempted since we both fell for the female. We had no money, so I had to pass. She was really sweet.

leia
Leia – our 4 month old german shepherd

Long story short (too late), I took a look at the dreaded Craigslist, where there are way too many dogs listed for $500-$800, all pure bred, supposedly. I sent a message to one lady, who’s ad grabbed my attention. We hit it off, drove out to meet the pups, her husband, and the parents of the dogs. I felt really good and we took Leia home that night, at the age of 10 weeks. Leia is the most beautiful, sweet, loving and playful puppy. She bonded to us (as most german shepherds bond very close to their owners) and we bonded to her. She is a perfect fit and we love her so much.

You can get lucky and find the right people. You can get a bad dog, whether you spend $400 or $4,000. It’s in how you raise them, but also in the dog’s genetics. This is why it’s important to read reviews and see the dog’s parents. When Leia’s mom trotted out to my 5 year old son to give him a huge kiss on the face, I knew.

 

You have to really love animals and dogs to have one. You have to spend time with them because you want to, not because you have to. They are so smart, and are always there for you. Be there for them.

There are stories of places that sell bad dogs

This is one story I must tell. It’s heartbreaking to read about these complaints, I know. I do not intend to bash anyone in this writing, but just wanted to let you know what I found. There is a dog breeder known as mittelwest in IL. I first checked out mittelwest in 2007 and had a bad feeling about the place right away. Not a really bad feeling, but just a feeling. Walking up to the property, we were greeted by a crazy caged full-grown german shepherd who was crammed in a smaller than should be cage. If that door was opened, I’d have a serious problem. Julie, the owner, took time to speak with us and was nice. There was a 1-year-old dog on site who I fell in love with and wanted. He was a sweet boy, but too expensive. I have met 4 people who purchased dogs from them over the last 10 years and each time, the dogs to me, look a little off. They look too bulky or bigger head or something. We were at a dog park yesterday and a 6 month shepherd showed up…from mittelwest. The owner said the dog had issues. Not eating much, diarrhea, on special meds, and they aren’t sure what’s wrong. This dog is only 6 months old. This other dog I met while in a waiting room at the vet a few years back, also from mittelwest, just would not listen to the owner at all. I realize this is the owner’s fault, to an extent, BUT, a lot of it is the actual dog and genetics.

Our GSD puppy of 4 months is perfect around kids, listens when we talk, constantly watches us, comes when called, and we never trained her to do it. Her genetics are awesome. We didn’t get her from a backyard breeder. We got her from a family who had both parents on site.

If you are looking for a dog, of any breed, look to the shelters. I have seen many shelter dogs that I love, come home to live with friends of mine. They are so happy and loving. As another resort, maybe check out Craigslist and see what is out there. Listen to the person’s story. One lady had to sell her 1-year-old shepherd due to her never being home due to a job change. That’s sad but it happens.

One last thing, don’t ever buy a dog online. You need to see what you’re buying. My brother lost his maltese dog to old age and was devastated, as we all are. He found a deal on a maltese online. He paid the $500 for the dog and went to the airport later that week to pick it up. The dog never showed up. It was a scam site called Maltese Kingdom. I found two other families that got ripped off as well, from the same person. I researched and found the website was up and running for only 2 months. The site had photos of happy families who bought from this guy. WRONG.

Do not buy from maltese kingdom. Their phone number was (571) 350-0477

I searched the web and do not see them at this time. I’m sure the site was taken down. I reported them to their hosting company…the place that houses the website.

There are bad people out there, looking to make a profit off those desperate, and they do not care.

Thanks for reading and subscribe to my blog for more.

Steve

www.steverotter.com

 

Rottweiler dogs are vicious?

Rottweiler dogs are vicious?

Rottweiler dogs are vicious?

Do you agree with this title? I don’t. There are only vicious people who make dogs that way. Dogs are perfect souls who pattern their behavior after those around them. It is crucial they learn proper care at an early age, just as with children. Sure, genetics play a role in this of course, as with any dog or person. You could get a bad seed or a difficult animal right out of the gate.

We were on a bike ride with my 2 young sons, 5 and 9, this weekend. At a crossing, a german shepherd walked passed them and went off barking. The husband and wife didn’t say anything except “keep your distance”, as he pulled back on the leash. The dog continued to bark and dig into the ground.

This is NOT a german shepherd. It LOOKS like a german shepherd, but a GERMAN SHEPHERD has the knowledge to know the difference between a little boy and a threat. These people have done this dog wrong. Maybe the dog was rescued with these issues. In that case, the original owners did that dog wrong. It’s unfortunate, as this dog gives the german shepherd breed a really bad reputation.

Our last shepherd, Nora, greeted everyone with kisses. She loved people and especially kids and babies. She also knew what a threat was. Jerky people or people screwing around at the park were given firm stares by her. She watched and observed. She studied them. This is a german shepherd. Nora also stood in front of me, making sure she was out front. She was protecting me and this started at 6 months of age. This is what a german shepherd does. They observe and they study. They are incredibly loyal to their family.

German Shepherds have the ability to learn simple tasks after only five repetitions and obeyed the first command given 95% of the time. Coupled with their strength, this trait makes the breed desirable aspolice, guard and search and rescue dogs, as they are able to quickly learn various tasks and interpret instructions better than other large breeds.

Our current shepherd, Leia, is the same way. At 4 months old she is more loving but as she matures, that will change into what Nora was.

A good dog doesn’t attack everyone and everything in the name of “protection.” A lot of owners will say, “oh, she’s really protective, she’s a really great guard dog…that’s why you can’t pet her.”

WRONG!

The dog clearly can’t tell the difference between a threat and a little girl. This same dog may also have a hard time determining the difference between a crying human baby and an injured animal in the wild….that’s trouble. Take away the owner and put the dog in a field with strangers and the dog will more than likely act differently. They act crazy when mommy or daddy are around.

I once met a chiwawa and this was one bad dog. It never shutup, didn’t like anyone, and never gave anyone a chance. It was mistreated as a puppy and through it’s life. This is terrible. People made this dog this way.

Back to the Rottweiler.

My wife is dog sitting for a neighbor who is out of town. I have never met this lady. She is a cop. Her dog is a rottweiler. I have never met a rottweiler. I just heard they are mean. I get in the house and the dog doesn’t come closer than 5 feet. I don’t reach out and I don’t try to get him. I know he’ll come when he’s ready. No growling or teeth showing. He’s just pacing.

After 2 minutes he comes over and I show my hands for him to check out. Never reach up and pet a dog on their head or where they can’t see your hand until trust is formed.

rottweiler
Such a sweet rottweiler boy. The first one I ever met. Love this guy. 2 years old.

2 minutes later he’s next to me on the couch giving kisses and laying by me. My wife said that’s strange because he doesn’t care for people too much, especially men. His owner brought him to the police station and he doesn’t like the cops either.

Dogs sense emotions very well and pick up on everything. They can confuse your fear of them with odd behavior and not trust you. They don’t understand why you’re afraid. If you’re afraid, you can’t pretend not to be. I was excited to meet him. It’s natural for me to see a dog and want to love him / her. He obviously sensed this…it just took him a couple minutes.

I spent 30 minutes with him. Such a great boy and I look forward to seeing him again.

It’s no secret I have always loved dogs more than most people and always will.

If you like what I write, subscribe and check out my website www.steverotter.com for links to my YouTube channels and more.

THANKS FOR READING!

Steve

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I’m a video editor of 25 years, audio engineer 20 years, photographer 25 years and guitarist 20 years. I post photography and stop motion animation videos, but mainly guitar playing.

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Don’t judge me. I’m a nice German Shepherd

Don’t judge me. I’m a nice German Shepherd

Don’t judge me – I’m a nice German Shepherd

german shepherd weeks Leia
Leia – 10 week old german shepherd

Leia, our 3 month old german shepherd sweetheart, joined our family May 28, 2017 as a 10 week old baby. I surfed all over the web for German Shepherd puppies, while also looking to shelters to adopt. In the end, I found a family who had 8 puppies available. By the time I contacted them, they had 3 puppies to choose from, all female, which is good because I wanted a female. The family adopting them out have both the mom and dad at their home. This was great. We got to see how the temperament of the parents was. The mom came right out towards my 5-year-old son and kissed his face. Such a loving girl.

They didn’t intend to have puppies but nature happens. The lady and her husband brought all 3 out on the lawn for us to play with. How to choose?

An hour later, I still had no idea. I had them put one back in the house because she was a bit of a screamer, while the other two were a little more calm. I understand they were away from their mom and there were strangers present…us and another couple who just pulled up to look at them. After a few minutes, the little one in the house started pawing at the glass door as she watched us hold the other two. I didn’t want separation anxiety in a dog, which is why I had her put back, but I felt bad and asked if I could see her again. She greeted me with kisses, while the other two didn’t give much affection. The choice was obvious. She chose us.

The family was picky on who they let take the puppies / their babies, and I don’t blame them. One condition was for us to text photos and videos of her. All 8 families agreed with no hesitation. A few times a week, I send photos or video clips of Leia.

First video of Leia, minutes after getting her. She’s 10 weeks old. We stopped at a petsmart on the way home to purchase her name tag and puppy food. She’s very tired.

German shepherds grow very fast. 40 days later she’s ordering food at the table:

german shepherd puppy 3 months old
Leia at 3 months old

Leia is very sweet and gives everyone kisses when greeted. When I get home, she stands to give me a hug, ears pinned back with tail wagging. We love her very much. In the 2 months we’ve had her, the bond is very strong.

Twice a day Leia is walked around the park, one mile in the morning and one mile in the evening. There aren’t many people on the sidewalk that circles the park. Most are playing at the basketball or tennis courts or the park with their kids.

The few people I’ve encountered on the sidewalk, turn the other way, casually taking a sidewalk that T’s off the main walk we’re on. It’s happened a few times this week, all people with small dogs. The small dogs bark and yap and Leia couldn’t care less. She walks by my side, leashed, and I’m proud to have her there. I brought it up to a friend at work who used to have a Shepherd. He said, “dude, you have a german shepherd! People are nervous or think their little dogs will be eaten.”

I get it. German Shepherds are associated with attack and K9 units. The working line shepherds, especially, (all black) can be intimidating to some. To me, they’re gorgeous.

working line german shepherd
working line german shepherds are black and generally have unlimited energy, hence, the name.

German shepherds and border collies are ranked highest in intelligence. All dogs are smart but it’s unreal at times how intelligent the German Shepherd is. Believe it or not, Leia was house trained to go to the bathroom in the backyard in one day. At 10 weeks of age, we showed her and she just remembered. 3 days after being with us, she was sitting at the back door crying to let us know she had to go. One week later she was jumping to take the door handle in her mouth, saying I HAVE TO GO! All this at 12 weeks of age. My brother has a Maltese dog who is 7 months old and still pees all over the house. Nothing against the maltese, I’m just saying, there is a huge difference in intelligence in breeds.

Although german shepherd dogs (GSD) are pictured as aggressive attack or defense dogs, they are very smart, compassionate, fiercely loyal and very loving. We refer to them as shadows, as they really never leave your side, ever. As puppies they are commonly referred to as “land sharks.” Their baby teeth and claws are very sharp.

Some people have had bad experiences with big dogs as kids, or dogs in general. Leia is currently 27 pounds and will reach around 75 pounds when fully grown. She was never given the chance to say hi or prove herself to these strangers. She’s misunderstood haha.

For me, on the other hand, I have always been like a kid on Christmas morning when it came to german shepherds in particular. I love them. I always ask to pet them. They are beautiful. Have you ever seen one walk? They appear to glide over the ground. So fluid. Just beautiful.

We aren’t going to train Leia for high-end tournaments. We aren’t going to make her a show dog. We aren’t going to breed her. We’re teaching the basics and making sure she has manners, which, she already does. It’s important to train your german shepherd (or any dog for that matter) or they will get bored. They need to be walked and given a job. A job can be training. If they are bored, like most dogs, they will find something to do. You don’t want that something to be your couch.

Here’s our 5-year-old training Leia (10 weeks old.)

I hope you enjoyed this writing. I wanted to share one of the things I have been doing lately…spending as much time with Leia as I can. We still have Jack, our cairn terrier, who is doing well despite his blindness from diabetes. He is given insulin shots twice a day for the rest of his life. I’m working to cure his blindness without surgery. Updates on that later. Check out my blog post on that here.

Jack and Leia playing one week before Jack went blind. Leia is 9 weeks old here.

Hope you’re all well. If you enjoy what you read here at www.steverotter.com subscribe to my blogs. I write about technology, the arts, photography, video production, random life thoughts…everything that is me.

Thanks!

Steve

For an incredible read on german shepherds, check out this article. Very informative and very true!

 

 

Cure for cataracts without surgery in humans and dogs. Castor oil could save his vision.

Cure for cataracts without surgery in humans and dogs. Castor oil could save his vision.

Cure for cataracts without surgery in humans and dogs

There are natural ways to treat dogs with cataracts. Natural eye drops for diabetic dogs is the most popular method to break down cataracts in dogs and humans. I’m researching for my dog, Jack, who is now blind due to cataracts. This article applies to humans and animals with cataracts. Cataracts are the clouding and deterioration of the eye lens from age-related thickening which usually occurs in older people, usually leading to blindness. Cataracts, as with any other degenerative condition, are a result of free-radical or oxidative damage. In the case of cataracts, it’s an oxidation to the protein structure of the lens, a process called glycation. The damage is likened to the process of egg white protein turning opaque when it is slowly heated (the process of glycation), working from the outer ring of the lens to the center of the lens.

My dog Jack is on insulin shots twice a day for the rest of his life to treat diabetes. He is 12 years old but still very much full of life. It’s hard to see him staring at a wall, crying for me, because he doesn’t know where he is in the house or where I am. He’s trapped in a blackened world.  I would like to share with you what I found in case you or your loved one, human, canine or feline, are going through the same thing.

cataracts in dogs cure
cataracts in dogs. Castor oil drop in each eye before bed once a day may cure it.

Jack, 12 years old, has cataracts in both eyes, which I saw forming for the last 6 months. He was ok until the morning he wasn’t. He went blind overnight and that’s how it happens. A couple days before, he found it difficult to find dog treats a foot away. This was not like my boy Jack. Just a couple weeks ago he was racing through the yard, chasing birds as they landed on his lawn. He is still very much full of life. Although the faint blue circles in his eyes were small and not very pronounced, he could see fine. The vet said he would go blind within a year and he did, overnight, about 4 months after diagnosis. His cataracts are caused by diabetes and now cover most of both eyes. My 5-year-old says Jack has “moon eyes.” It’s a build up of sugar in the lens from diabetes. It was heartbreaking to see him like this, to not find his way around his house. The vet said all dogs going through this find a way to manage. That didn’t help.

My vet said surgery is the only way, as all vets will. Either they don’t know about holistic medicine (he admits he does not) or they want to make a ton of money via surgery. Did you know cataracts are a 1 BILLION DOLLAR a year business? Now you do. One thing I love about my vet, is that he is honest. He told me Jack will manage and to justify the price of surgery is difficult.

I can only imagine how horrifying it is for Jack, especially since he doesn’t understand why he can’t see. The vet said cataract surgery will be $3,000 – $4,000 per eye! I feel bad to say I can’t afford it. There is just no way. Everywhere I read says dogs will adjust but I was determined to find an answer for a fix. I’m a believer in herbs and natural medicine and tons of research. Just because they’re doctors certainly doesn’t mean they know everything. Many people see doctors and attorneys and car mechanics, or any professional as all-knowing. Just because they’re in the profession and we aren’t, DOESN’T mean they know everything. They do have a limit in knowledge, just as you do, in your profession. What can it hurt to research? What can it hurt to try something if the damage is already done and it won’t cause pain? That’s where I come from. I never give up until all avenues have been exhausted.

I found a few companies online selling cures such as CAN-C. I have not tried these, although tempted. Some people really like the CAN-C. After more reading I found many people talking about castor oil as a cataract reduction method. It must be 100% pure castor oil, which is naturally high in antioxidants. Castor oil cleans and heals the eye from the inside out, dissolving the sugars. It is said castor oil, 1 drop in each eye before bed, each day, will dissolve the cataract after a handful of weeks.

I had to put my dog down and I feel guilty

I had to put my dog down and I feel guilty

Being faced with the decision to put your dog or cat down (or “put to sleep”) is one of the most impossible decisions you will make. You may feel your pet is very sad and wished you didn’t end their life. You’ll find yourself bargaining with the vet, as if they have some secret power to stop death. All of a sudden, spending money is not an issue. You will find yourself easily spending money you don’t have to buy more time for your dog or cat, and, also bargaining with God.

Most, if not all, pet owners feel guilty after putting their dog or cat to sleep. If you decide to put your pet down / to sleep, feelings of guilt will haunt you in a big way. It’s hard for me to say this, but, don’t feel that way. I know it’s impossible to think otherwise. I was there. NOTHING could soothe the emptiness I felt coming home to a dog-less house, especially the first 3 days. It was torture. I had to leave the house and go for a walk.

That first day coming home from work without my dog there was torture. I couldn’t be in the house. I actually looked for her in her usual spots, hoping she would be there.

THE JOURNEY WITH ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS

In 2002 I came home to my dog-less apartment to a thought. “What if I got a dog?” My parents always had a dog and we grew up with them. I knew the responsibility in having a dog was huge, especially since I have a day job, as most people do. I wanted a smaller dog but not too small. The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies and I loved the look and personality of cairn terriers.

roxanne
Roxy, my baby, cairn terrier at 2 years old. Also known as Roxanne or Foxanne by daddy.

Entering a pet store, my eyes locked with a cute little light brown and tan baby. Her ears perked up, as if she was waiting for me. I knew before I held her, she was the one. She was a cairn terrier of about 10 weeks old. I took her home that night and named her Roxy. This girl was such a sweet little babe and we did everything together. She slept in the bed with me on the 3rd night. Her first trip to the vet was a memorable one. As we sat in the waiting room, I heard a woman crying. Minutes passed and she left the vet clinic without her animal. I knew what happened…her dog had passed. Holding Roxy on my lap, I whispered in her ear, “I’m glad that’s not us.” I knew that day would come for us, but, dismissed the thought immediately.

A couple years later I added a 2nd cairn terrier, Jack, to our home. Roxy and Jack got along great. Roxy maintained the lead of the pack, next to me. Jack was 2 years younger than her. Having two dogs in the house is amazing and very loving, in case you are thinking about it….if you can afford the vet bills. I certainly don’t have the money but I made it work. It’s really not that bad and having two dogs is really something great.

Roxy loved laying by me, curling up right next to me on the couch most days. It was especially great when Jack curled up on the other side. You can’t buy happiness like that. As years went on, she stood with her front paws on the couch, unable to jump, with just a short little bark to say “daddy pick me up.”

I had to put my dog down and I feel guilty
Roxy and Jack

Fast forward to 14 years of age, Roxy is slower. The evening of October 4th 2016, she went to bed and all was well. The next morning, before leaving for work, I let both dogs out, as I always do. Roxy stumbled and couldn’t keep her balanced. She fell on her side in the grass as if dizzy. I picked her up and she felt different to me. Her muscles seemed a bit tighter and she was clearly uncomfortable and not too functional. She was very lethargic. Holding her up, she started to slouch backwards, as if she was asleep. I gave her mouth to nose and that woke her up a bit. I knew I wasn’t going to work that day.

My wife said Roxy doesn’t look good at all and is probably dying. I shot that down right away with “are you nuts? She’s just sick or something.” The vet said they needed to do an x ray and would like to do blood work and some other scan as well. I thought maybe it was some sugar crash diabetic thing? The x ray showed an enlarged mass. It wasn’t weight she was gaining, it was her pancreas.

Surgery would be $2,000 with no guarantees. We took her home and I laid with her for the remainder of the day in her bed. I was in denial. She started to vomit and couldn’t hold food or water down, but was hungry. She wasn’t walking or responding, just laying and breathing fast and shallow. I took her to the vet again later that evening since she declined fast. My wife said her body is shutting down and that really upset me to hear.

The vet said she didn’t look good and if we went with surgery, there is a very good chance she could die on the table. If she survived, (maybe 20% chance) she may live another 9 months at best.

I’m a fighter and NEVER give up. I wanted Roxy with me always and asked if there were meds to ease her pain or make it better. Anything to lower the size of the inflamed organ. I was trying to buy time to research and make things right. Bargaining for her life made sense at the time. My wife said it’s time to let her go. I told her there is no way that’s going to happen. Roxy couldn’t move or stand. At that moment I knew.

The thought of not being with her anymore was not something I was ready for. She was with me through so much. The thing with death is, most of the time you’re not ready for it, and you go into shock and denial.

When the vet returned to the room I asked through tears what anesthesia is all about and what the process of putting your dog to sleep is. I asked if he would recommend it, given her state. A vet will rarely give their opinion but I couldn’t make the call. He said it is up to me but given the circumstances, it doesn’t look good for her. I agreed but found it near impossible to utter the words, ok, let’s do it. I didn’t want to let my best friend go forever.

Animals, in my book, are so much better than most people. They love you unconditionally and are perfect gifts from God. I couldn’t make this choice. Luckily, her state of being helped me with the decision. She couldn’t go to the washroom, couldn’t eat and nothing was going to save her. Looking back now, it was the correct choice. She was very sick and was obviously not going to be her normal self.

Some people have decided to put their dog to sleep when the dog is still pretty much coherent. I couldn’t do that. I would be saying…see, she’s fine…she sees and hears me. Sometimes though, be it cancer, bad arthritis or something else, the decision must be made.

The vet returned to take her to a back room for prepping, which is putting a cathedar in her leg. He said it was really difficult to get that going since her veins were very narrow. That comforted me a bit; another sign it was time. I would rather her pass away with me holding her than to get news that she did it alone while I was at work, or, alone on the operating table.

While this process was going on, I was in shock and just going through the motions, following the vet’s lead.

When I was ready, the vet injected her with a mild anesthetic to calm her, as if she was going to have surgery. They don’t do it all in one shot. Once she was relaxed and in a sleep state, he asked me if I was ready and I said “no. I will never be ready.” A few minutes later I said ok and he injected the dose of anesthetic to stop her heart. A few seconds later he said quietly, “she’s gone.”

At that moment I felt nothing. I wasn’t relieved and I wasn’t upset. I just felt nothing.

I miss my dog
Roxy / Roxanne in her bed

Typing this makes me tear up and it’s been 9 months already. She was gone and out of pain, but her body was still warm. A part of me, for an instant, felt ok, knowing she was out of pain until I would never see her again for as long as I walk this earth. Maybe I sound a little dramatic but this pain hurts and it hurts BAD. As my vet said later on, “I’ve seen some of most muscle-headed tough guys cry like a baby over the death of their dog.” A dog’s love is amazing.

I stayed with her as she laid on the table, for about 90 minutes, petting her and talking to her, crying as I did. The hardest part was making the unreal decision to do it. My wife was home with the kids since she didn’t want them seeing the act. They were there before the act, saying their goodbyes. I wore my sunglasses so they wouldn’t see me cry, which was useless, as I was pretty bad. I didn’t care who saw me. My kids, 4 and 8, were very good about it. My 4 year old gave out kleenex and my 8 year old cried much less than me.

When she became stiff and cool to the touch I decided it was time to leave. I was there for almost 3 hours. Arriving home, my youngest asked where Roxy was. A knife through the chest. I said, in heaven. My 2nd dog, Jack, greeted me, and looked for his sister, who wasn’t there. The next day, Jack continued to look for her.

I went to work the next day and cried the entire way to work and back. Arriving home, I couldn’t stay in the house. I found myself looking for her, hoping she would be in her favorite spots. I know how death works but when you’re involved, it doesn’t make sense. She wasn’t in her normal spot and that drove me mad. I had to leave that house. I couldn’t be there so I went for a walk, alone.

Mourning the loss of a loved one is really difficult because you can’t physically do anything to make it better. Only time will make it better. I understand that makes no sense, because you don’t want it better, you just want your dog / cat back.

The first few days were impossible to get through. A week felt like a month. A week later my wife brought the box home with her ashes. I have yet to open the box and see the urn I purchased that terrible night. I chose to have her cremated alone. Did you know that by default, animals are cremated together? If you choose to have ashes back, you’re getting all the ashes from all animals. Maybe to some it wouldn’t matter but it matters to me. I wanted only Roxy, so I paid the extra $75 for that. If the crematory was crooked, I could still very well have other dogs, but it’s peace of mind.

9 months later and I still have no idea what the urn looks like. I keep her favorite small stuff animal squirrel toy on my night stand. That was her baby and she loved it from the day I brought her home as a puppy.

I tell you this long story so you know you aren’t alone. It also helps me to purge some sadness. I was bargaining with no one, to bring her back. I felt bad for ending her life and the guilt was too much at times. The only thing that made me feel “ok” with the process was her final state of living. She was in no condition to do anything and her body was shutting down fast.

In the end, we all know that everything that lives, will die. That’s how life is. That’s how life works. It’s funny though, when we’re in that situation, it feels like we’re the only one ever in that situation. Right now there are millions of people at their jobs, going out for lunch, planning a party, doing whatever, while someone is in the hospital with their pet or spouse or mother or father, wondering what they should do given the terrible situation they face. Time seems to stop for those of us in terrible situations and the world becomes a very dark place. We may hate seeing people happy…I know I did. I wanted to be alone and didn’t want anyone to talk to me. Death is never easy to deal with. It is a part of life but I know it doesn’t seem like it while you are going through it. I’ve also had to deal with the loss of family and close friends. It really takes its toll on you.

Weeks later my phone rang at 2am. My brother was in the vet ER with his 16 year old maltese, who he has had since a puppy. He found himself bargaining as well, with the vet, as I listened in on speakerphone. He put his best friend to sleep that night as well. It was hard to hear him going through that pain.

At the time of writing this, Jack is still with us and is now 13. He has diabetes and has lost his vision because of it. He is on a strict diet and gets insulin shots twice a day. Jack also has cushings disease, which came about a few months before diabetes. That’s a monthly medication he needs to be on. All in all, he is doing great and romps like a puppy….but his blindness hurts me. I hate that he can’t see me and will never see me again. He gets extra love. I hold him and talk to him a lot. My dogs are my life and the only bad thing about living with them is facing that unfortunate day when everything comes crashing down at the end.

Time will heal, I promise.

UPDATE 3 YEARS LATER. I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since I wrote this. I made it about half way through the read of this post before I started to cry. I still miss her but daily life has returned with the typical stresses.

Losing your best friend, especially a dog or cat, is terrible. Since the writing of this post, my brother has lost his maltese, and a couple friends lost their dogs to old age.

Jack is still with us, although moving slower, and we now have a 2 year old German Shepherd, Leia. We got Leia when she was 8 weeks old. So I’m back to the beginning of the cycle. New puppy gets older and you cherish the time together until that dreaded day.

german shepherd GSD and cairn terrier
Jack and Leia

For me it may be a never-ending cycle. I don’t see my life without dogs, even though each time one passes, it gets harder for me to deal with.

Check out my blog for more posts on art, photography, technology and random thoughts.

Steve

There are books that can help with the loss of a pet. Check these out on Amazon.

 

Mourning

The outward, public expression of grief and may involve ceremonies and rituals of remembrances e.g. funerals. Pet death is particularly complicated as there are no traditional socially accepted ways of mourning the death of a pet. Pet funerals may be viewed by some people as pathological, “odd” or even amusing, but rituals enabling celebration of the relationship shared, acknowledging the importance of the life and death of a pet, can be powerful in the healing process.

Euthanasia

Euthanasia is a unique aspect of pet bereavement. One of the most significant differences between human and pet bereavement is the existence of the option of euthanasia in veterinary practice. The term euthanasia literally means ‘good death’ or ‘mercy killing’. Despite on-going intense ethical debate, human euthanasia is illegal throughout most of the world, with a few exceptions (e.g. in The Netherlands). Although we hope our pets will die naturally, in reality this is rarely the case, particularly for dogs.

Euthanasia related grief is distinct because it involves making an active choice to end a pet’s life and accepting personal responsibility for this decision. This can feel very awkward and often people talk about feeling guilty about having their pet euthanased to describe the discomfort involved in accepting this responsibility. It is essential to understand these feelings are normal and do not mean that the decision was wrong.

Euthanasia in veterinary medicine is sometimes referred to as “putting to sleep” – a gentle euphemism to describe an injection a veterinary surgeon administers to bring about a painless, quick death where an animal has incurable disease or injury or is suffering in old age. Euthanasia prevents suffering and distress; it is a final act of kindness. To prevent natural feelings of doubt regarding the appropriateness of euthanasia it can helpful to map out on a piece of paper all of the reasons why your vet advised euthanasia as the most humane option for your pet and then map out your own reasons for accepting this based on your lived knowledge of your pet – for example a pet having poor quality of life as a result chronic pain; not being able to go for walks, unable to play, losing interest in food and losing weight, becoming weak, being incontinent.

Assessing quality of life is very difficult as a pet may be happy and content in older age or illness not doing things they previously enjoyed, this is why it is important where possible to have a pre-euthanasia discussion with your vet and assess from different perspectives your pet’s quality of life and prognosis. Sometimes this may not be possible (such as a road traffic accident) and decisions will need to be made more quickly to prevent a pet from suffering.

Euthanasia decisions are never easy, but it may help to remember that this is a shared decision: your veterinary surgeon has professional responsibility for advising you from a medical perspective and you have personal responsibility for the decision as the pet’s owner.