A quick note on yesterdays post before we dive into the inner ramblings and shenanigans of my paranoia: I was not implying that Pike is a dumb dog. He isn't. He's smart, and he's observant, and he's sweet and cuddly and loving. I was merely stating that he isn't as smart as Nola is. I don't see him every progressing to Nola's level of intelligence, and that's more than okay! In all honesty, I don't think I could handle two of the Tiny Terror! Just one of the She-Devil runs circles around me on a daily basis. ;)
|I love and want him, exactly as he is. The same way I love her and want her, exactly how she is.|
I am more than capable of having the patience to raise a puppy. I've already done it, and Nola's damn near perfect.
I might've sounded a little...aggravated...with Pike in yesterday's post. I'm not, at least, not really. He's simply at a difficult age right now; he's in the first fear period, he's found his voice, and he's pushing his boundaries and testing his limits. Even if you have the patience of a saint, it's a frustrating phase. Unless you're actively raising a puppy, you can't imagine what a tough time it is, especially with a high energy herding breed. I'm no newbie to puppy raising, and every time we add to the family I forget just how hard puppies are. It's hard until the 10-18 month mark, depending on your dog. That's why puppies are so stinking cute, and why you forget what a pain they are. :p
On to my tips! This is just what I do, and what works for my dogs. Not everything works the same for every dog, so use your discretion!
#1: Always wear ID
I'm sure most of you are aware of my collar addiction by now, but Nola has a collar with an ID tag on 24/7. The only time it comes off is when she's crated. Her tag has her name and my number, and both her and Pike have tags on the way with their names, my number and "reward" on the back. Microchipping is great and I'm an advocate for it, but nothing beats the quick visual provided by a collar and tag.
Pike wears a collar most of the time, although I'm having trouble finding one that doesn't mess up his coat. Any suggestions from fellow double coated dog owners?
A lot of people, especially those with multiple dogs, worry about collars getting caught during play. That's a valid concern I suppose, but for my own dogs the risk of being IDless outweigh the benefits of going naked. You can do a few things to lessen the risk of your dog/s getting hung up, like making sure collars are loose, or getting quick releases or other easy to remove fasteners.
|One of her ID tags. Name and # are on the back.|
|And this goes on her harness. Rabies, microchip and another ID tag.|
#2: Chip it!
I'm a huge advocate for microchipping. It's a quick and relatively painless procedure, and it's invaluable. If your dog gets out and either isn't wearing a collar or looses it while lost, a chip makes sure you can still be contacted if your dog is found. Just remember to keep the info up to date, and have your vet check regularly to make sure the chip hasn't migrated.
Nola is chipped (double chipped, actually) and Pike is getting chipped in the next month.
#3: Make sure your gear fits right and is in good shape
Make sure your dog wears the right kind of gear when out of the house. For example, Nola can't be walked on a buckle collar. She slips them, since her head is only a half inch bigger than her neck. A martingale or a limited slip collar is what she needs, or a secure harness. She's managed to slip harnesses too, so I only trust two brands with her: Puppia Original and the Ruffwear Webmaster, which is virtually escape proof.
|One of Nola's convertible leather collars that can be either a regular flat or a limited slip.|
|As a limited slip.|
#4: Train, train, train:
Train your dog. Seriously, all the gear and gadgets in the world can't beat a well trained dog. When your equipment fails and you're left with only your voice to control your dog, taking the time to properly train them could very well save their lives. Pay special attention to recall, leave it, stay and back up/get away.
A few incidences come to mind with training. One, recalling Nola away from the wide open front door (we live on a busy street). Having her leave some medicine I'd dropped on the floor. Recalling Nola off chasing a squirrel into the woods. Recalling Pike from getting trembled by a horse.
#5: Lock that shit up:
When your dog is outside, make sure they're in a securely fenced in area if you cannot control them with your voice.
I know this is run of the mill stuff, but if you knew the details of some of the things I do with my dogs to keep them safe I might be dragged away in a straightjacket. :p
I am participating in the Dog Fence DIY Dog Containment Systems Safety Roundup. You too can enter and win $200 for best in class.