Thursday, March 31, 2016

Perception

How the world sees Nola....

An adorable, sweet little thing.


How Nola sees herself

A confident little tornado! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

How Rescuing Made Me Leery of Rescuing

Hey, everyone!

This is part two in a two-part series. Read yesterday's post before preceding!




Today's post is about my experience with rescue dogs, and how they impacted me as a dog owner and as a trainer. Those two dogs, Roxie and Rule, taught me a very valuable lesson and made me realize just how far I'm willing to go for my dogs...and where my limits are.

These were difficult ones to write for several reasons. The first and foremost being that I am stubborn and don't do well with perceived failure. The second being that this is a very hot topic in the dog community, with "the opposing side" being the much louder and more prevalent voice. I welcome discussion and experiences shared on this post, but please keep it civil. This is solely my opinion and experience.

Growing up, we always had purebred dogs (a Lab, a Dalmatian, and several Mastiffs), and we always had them from puppyhood on. When I got my own first dog, it made perfect sense for me to get a purebred puppy from a breeder. When I was ready for dog #2, I went the same route.

By this time I was up to my eyeballs in the dog community, and the rescuers were the vast majority. To be perfectly blunt, it's the cool thing to do. It's trendy to rescue, and while I'm certain most go to a shelter or rescue for additional reasons (wanting to save a life, wanting an adult dog, whatever the case may be), there's definitely a sort of hero-worship around those that rescue. I always have been and always will be pro-breeder, so I stayed quiet when it came to anything relating to where my dogs were from. I never saw myself wanting a rescue, or a mutt for that matter.

Enter Roxie (if you don't know who that is, click here). I fell completely and utterly in love with that dog, even though I didn't originally plan to keep her. You all know how that ended. It was without a doubt one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.



Feeling a gaping hole left by Roxie, I wondered down to our local shelter to "just look". Not-long story short, I found a dog that seemed like a good match for all involved, and brought home Rule. For the first two weeks, everything was fine and dandy aside from some mild separation anxiety and resource guarding, something I was confident I could manage. I worked with her extensively, and within those two weeks she made dramatic improvements. Then one day while out in the yard, my worst fears, so fresh after Roxie, came to a terrifying head. Suffice it to say that there were several moderately deep punctures, and Rule had to be pried off.
I refused to even consider working with that. I contacted the shelter, and agreed to foster her and work on her problems until a more suitable home could be found. I put her new found owners in contact with an out of town behaviorist, and they're still working with her. I'm in contact with them still, and she's flourishing with her new family.

I've had two experiences with rescuing, and neither one has been pleasant. One could have been a dangerous situation, and one could have resulted in a dead dog. I know that not all shelter dogs will have these problems, and it may not be the majority. Despite that, I can't help being gun-shy.


I would be open to reducing again, even though I haven't had the best time with it.  Perhaps I'd be more willing to work with a dog that was in a foster home and they were upfront about any problems, rather than a county shelter without much info on their dogs.
I'm not saying that all rescues have issues, or that they can't be good dogs. They can be, as I'm sure you all know! I'd happily take in a puppy, or an older small dog. I'm not certain I'd get an adult dog larger than my small dogs, simply for safety's sake. I would be happy to foster, though!


First and foremost, my duty is to my own dogs. It is my job to keep them happy, healthy, and safe. Rescuing seriously worries me with them. The unknown of whether or not I'd be bringing in a dog with serious emotional baggage terrifies me. Not because I don't understand how to work with issues, or because I lack a heart. I'm able to deal with it, but I'm not willing. And that's okay. My life and my dogs don't mesh with a dog that needs constant management and extensive behavioral rehabilitation. I applaud those that are willing to do it. For me, I'd rather look for a dog that fits into my needs and lifestyle.

What are your thoughts? Have you had a dog experience that's made you leery of trying again?

- Dachshund Mommy



Monday, March 28, 2016

I Don't Want a Problem Dog - Real Life Confession

Hey, everyone!


This is part one in a two part series; part two ties into this post and will be up tomorrow!



Something I've finally come to full terms with lately is what I want in a dog, and almost more importantly, what I don't want, or am not willing to handle. This has been a hard realization for me, and my current pups play a big role in it. Another big factor has been my experience with Roxie (side of the road rescue, emaciated young Pit Bull) and Rule (local shelter rescue). Those two really gave me a reality check, and helped me to be more confident in my criteria going forward.


What I want in a dog is fairly straightforward: active to highly active, small to medium-large, handler oriented, dog friendly, good drive, intelligent, not too much grooming or shedding, affectionate, intense but stable.


What I don't want was fairly easy to pin down, too. I don't want: giant, drooling, excessive grooming or shedding, lazy, independent (Nola is the least independent dachshund ever created), dog aggressive, low drive, nervy, distant, or yappy.


What I wasn't willing to...well, deal with, to be perfectly blunt, was harder to see. Until I had Roxie and Rule, I wasn't certain I had a limit beyond human aggression. Turns out, I have a limit. And I'm not willing to bend on it. Where is my limit?

Well. This is going to be a brutally honest post, and it may not paint me in the best light. But it's true, and I promised you all I would never sugarcoat things, or make it out to be like things are perfect all the time.
My limit it....

I don't want a problem dog

I follow so many blogs and Facebook pages that revolve around a dog (or dogs) with issues of some kind. I'm in awe of these owners and the dedication they have to their dogs. I'm thrilled when their dogs make progress, and I mourn with them when their dog has a setback. I'm fascinated to see how positive reinforcement helps to heal and manage these dogs, and I applaud their owners in every single way. The same thing happens when I see an owner of a dog with issues in real life. 

But I don't envy them. I read the blog, I follow the Facebook, I see them out in public. And then I admit to looking at my own dogs, and saying a heartfelt thank you to whatever may be out there that that the dog I'm reading about is not mine. I am grateful beyond expression that my dogs don't have the issues plaguing so many of the dog population. Maybe that makes me cold, but it's the god's honest truth.

I love that I can take Nola anywhere and she will take in in stride. I love that walking by other dogs doesn't send me into a panic over wondering what she may do. I relish in the certainty that she'll ignore the other dogs, the kids, the people. It elates me to know that whatever we come across (festival, mall, hotel, elevator, escalator, wheelchair, you name it) won't phase her more than a second or two. I'm high on the fact that the only thing that matters to her is me, and the adventure. 

I love that Pike is not fearful of other dogs, despite being attacked on more than one occasion. I adore how he will bounce back from things within a short amount of time, despite his sensitive nature. 

It makes me smile to see gentle and kind Olivia is with my three and a half year old baby sister. 

I love that I can handle my dogs all over without a fuss. It makes me happy that I can kiss, carry, or hug them without a care in the world. It makes me smile that I can go right up to them, grab their faces, and kiss them on the nose and receive nothing but an enthusiastic reciprocation in return. It makes me feel safe to know that I can leave them in the yard together without supervision, and I won't come back out to any disputes. I love that my dogs adore children, and are gentle and kind with them.It gives me the greatest sense of relief that if, god forbid, some idiot were to grab my dogs without warning in public, they wouldn't be bitten. 

The biggest issues my dogs have is mild separation anxiety (Nola), and mild to moderate general anxiety and serious car sickness for Pike. That's it. 
I don't have to deal with aggression, serious anxiety, reactivity, resource guarding, shyness, ect. And I fully admit to liking that fact. 

Don't get me wrong: if one of mine were to develop an issue, I wouldn't hesitate to help them handle and manage it. I won't search it out or invite it in, though. I will do my damnedest to prevent any problems before they occur.

I enjoy having safe, stable, sane dogs. I want to be able to grab the dogs for an adventure and think "this will be fun", and not worry that "this could end in a crisis". I want to have dogs that can handle...life.
You're often crucified in dog groups if you dare to say how much you enjoy your baggage free dogs, and don't even mention not wanting to seek out any problems.... I don't think that's a healthy mentality to have. It usually ties heavily into breeder shaming. That idea only pushes people into something they're not ready or willing to handle, and they either have to really buckle down and rearrange their whole life for that dog, or it turns into a dangerous situation. You have to know yourself and your honest limits when you bring a dog into your life. Only you can be certain of what exactly those limits are. 


What about you? Do you have limits when it comes to dogs, and if so, what are they? 

- Dachshund Mommy


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Friday, March 25, 2016

Fit Dog Friday: Our Fitness Schedule

Hey, everyone!


I was asked on Instagram last week what my exercise schedule for Nola looked like, so I thought I'd share it here. It's a bit hard to pin down, since my dogs are not on a schedule and it varies hugely day to day, but this is a rough idea. I've also included the type of exercise, as well as mental stimulation.


- Breakfast is usually from a food puzzle or used in training 
mental stimulation

- 1-2 sessions of training, either refining or practicing known tricks or learning something new, 2-8 minutes per session 
mental stimulation

- 1 session on FitPaws donut, 30 seconds - 1 minute
Core work 

-  2-5 sessions of rapid succession down/sit/stand/spin/turn/bow/back up/paw targets at various heights, 1-2 minutes per session 
strength building and flexibility

- 1-3 games of tug or soccer, 2-8 minutes per game 
cardio, strength building, mental stimulation

- Random parkour (i.e. walking over or under objects, climbing, balancing), time varies
Strength, balance, flexibility, mental stimulation 

- 2-8 mile brisk walk with me, which is a fast trot for her, may include light jogging on occasion 
Cardio

- Light stretching after walk, 1-3 minutes
Flexibility 

- Unlimited free play, running, and digging in the yard


- Light massage before bed, 5-15 minutes

It sounds really rigid when I write it out, but it's really not! This is a very loose approximation, aside from the daily walking. 



Something Nola and I have been working on lately is rear end awareness, and overall strengthening and toning. Rear end awareness has always been something Nola's struggled with, so we're working on it in slow increments. Backing up, backing up with me, and some paw targeting has helped her!




There's also plenty of balancing and core work, of course.


I don't do this as a core exercise for her (I use FitPaws' donut for that), but it's a pretty cute trick. 


That leads to some pretty impressive skills, like being able to stay steady on a hammock!




Pike also got in on some fun with his ever-present ball.





Muscles. <3





Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bang!

Nola is incredibly theatrical with her tricks, and "bang!" is not exception. Check out her dramatic rolling and flopping before she finally plays dead. 










Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

15 Minutes Could Save You 15% or More On...Dog Insurance?

Hey, guys!




Recently I've started looking into pet insurance, and I'm a bit overwhelmed. So many choices! I'm hoping y'all can shed some light on the issue and share your experiences.

My dogs are all under 6, young and healthy with no existing conditions. I'd like to look into it now, while they are in perfect shape, than later when things may be different. I'd also rather have insurance and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Dachshunds are generally healthy, but their big issues tend to be very, very expensive. Back surgeries alone are enough to make you choke, and epilepsy and Cushing's disease are no walk in the park. I'd much, much rather have the option of coverage in the event of an emergency, rather than having to decline or alter care due to budget constraints.

I've heard people say they put X amount of money away per month into a dog only account, but that doesn't seem like it would work in my opinion. It would take a long time to build up a nice cushion, and once it was used, you'd have to start all over again. Plus, you never know when times may get really tight and you'd be forced to dip into the dog account. For me, I'd rather look into insurance.

Since some of these companies exclude conditions your breed may be predisposed to, I've been looking mostly at Trupanion and Healthy Paws. Both have no finical limit (per year, illness or pet), both let you choose your own deductible, and both cover alternative care such as hydrotherapy, acupuncture, physical therapy ect (Trupanion as a $5.16/mo add-on for Nola's stats). Trupanion includes behavior modification training in their add-on plan. Both can be used at any vet nation wide.
Neither cover routine care, and I'm okay with that.

I'm using Nola as an example for these:

Trupanion - $200 deductible, 90% reimbursement, with the add-on of alternative care = $47.61 per month, or $571.32 per year

Healthy Paws - $200 deductible, 90% reimbursement = $39.83, or $477.96 per year.


What are your thoughts on pet insurance? Do you have or want it? If you have it, who do you use and how has your experience been?

- Dachshund Mommy


Monday, March 21, 2016

Some Thoughts About Balls - Let's Talk About Neutering

Hey, everyone!


Today's topic is one of the hottest debates in the dog world at the moment, and it tends to be an "all or nothing" type of situation. Feel free to share your opinions and experiences in the comments below, but keep it civil.




First, a few facts

Traditional neutering is the most heavily pushed agendas you'll encounter in your journey with your dog, and it is usually stressed to be done at or before six months of age. The term "neutering" is correct for both males and females, though it is generally used for males. Spaying applies only to females, as a whole.
Traditional spaying is the removal of the ovaries and uterus, and traditional castration is the removal of the testes.
Pediatric altering occurs between the ages of 6 and 16 weeks of age, and is most commonly done on rescue or shelter dogs. For most pet owners who have not bought from a shelter, vets typically recommending altering between the ages of 6 and 8 months. Spays and neuters are one of the most routine surgeries preformed in vet practices today, and -as far as surgeries go - are quite safe for healthy dogs, and generally have a short recovery period of 10 to 20 days.



I am not anti-altering

A lot of owners can't, or don't want to, handle an intact dog. It does take some dedication and a watchful eye, and some people don't want to deal with it. And that's okay! Be honest with yourself, and do what works for your situation. 

Nola and Pike are altered; Nola was spayed at 7 months and Pike was neutered a week shy of 6 months. I don't exactly regret it, but I would stop and question if I could turn back time. 

That said, I do like having altered pets. Any future dogs will also be altered, just later in life. It's hard to beat the convince of an altered pet, and let's face it: heats are disgusting and dog balls are hilarious.



The Risks and Benefits of Early Altering - The Physical

There have been a lot of studies lately on the affect of early altering, and they're definitely worth checking out. Here's one done by UC-Davis, published in 2013 and spanning from 2000 to 2009, done on 759 Golden Retrievers from the ages of 1 to 8 years. The study examined both intact and altered dogs, and the findings are interesting. 
The study showed that early-neutered males were twice as likely to develop hip dysplasia as their intact counterparts, at a rate of 10.3% for early altered males and 5.1% for intact males. Oddly enough, there was no increase difference between the early-altered, late-altered, or intact females. 

There was no occurrence of CCL tears (what would be an ACL tear in humans) in intact males, intact females, and late-altered females. On the flip side, early-neutered males and females had a rate of 5.1% and 7.7%, respectively.

Lymphosarcoma, the third most common cancer in dogs, was observed to be nearly three times more frequent in early-neutered males than in intact or late-neutered males. This one seems to only be prevalent in males.

Hemangiosarcoma, another cancer that spreads rapidly and is more prevalent in certain breeds like German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers, was found to be nearly 4 times more likely in late-spayed bitches than in intact or early spayed bitches. A 7.4% rate for late-altered bitches, a 1.6% for intact, and a 1.8% for early-spayed were found. There was no apparent difference in males, intact or altered.

There are several other studies on the subject, and it's definitely both eye opening and confusing to read. In lots of cases, you're a bit "damned if you do, damned if you don't". You have to decide what's best for your own dog

In addition to the above, this article by Chris Zink, DVM, highlights several other differences in early-altered, late-alrtered, and intact dogs. It's definitely worth looking at, especially in regards to the growth plates.

One study showed an 8% elevated risk of mammary cancer in females after the first heat, 26% risk after two heats, and increased risk with each heat thereafter. The study is often debated, and about 30% of mammary tumors are malignant. If caught early and treated accordingly, the prognosis is quite good. Early-spayed females (before 12 months of age) have almost 0 chance of developing mammary cancer.


Some benefits of spaying and neutering include:
  • No ovarian cancer
  • No uterine cancer
  • Reduced risk of mammary cancer
  • No pyomentra, a secondary infection of the uterus that is incredibly dangerous and requires emergency spaying
  • Eliminates or prevents false pregnancies 
  • No testicular cancer 

Sadly, few studies have been done on smaller breeds that mature more quickly. I'd be interesting in seeing the differences there. I firmly believe that it's safer to neuter a small breed earlier than you would a large one - a Chihuahua grows and develops much faster than a Great Dane. 


Risks and Benefits of Altering - The Mental and Emotional 


Anecdotally, a large number of people I've spoken with have seen increased aggression from their neutered males towards intact males, saying their intact boys are often the targets of snarking and fights started by neutered males. I've seen this one with Pike to some extent, but he's an asshole all around, so that may just be him.
There's also been some speculation on reactivity and aggression being affected by altering, but I'm not sure I buy that as much.

I will say that intact girls can be just vicious with other dogs while they're in heat, especially other females. There's a reason people say the most serious fights tend to be between two girls - they're called bitches for a reason. I had to be very careful with Nola and Olivia during Liv's heats, and the two of them get along perfectly otherwise. 


Some behavioral benefits of altering include:
  • A lessening of roaming behaviors in males
  • Removing the crankiness or aggression some females experience during heat
  • Lessing the "oh my god, pussy!!!" mentality of intact dogs around in heat bitches. There is nothing more annoying than an intact dog around an in heat bitch. 
  • Less moodiness in bitches
  • Can help with certain types of anxiety and generally unease


"But...overpopulation!"

We do not have a national overpopulation problem, we have a regional overpopulation problem (southern shelters transporting to up north locations just to fill the demand there, for example....importing dogs from other countries, for another...). That said, responsible dog owners - and breeders, for that matter - do not contribute to the "over"population.

Take a look at most of Europe; they don't have nearly the rate of altered dogs that the U.S. does (it's even illegal in Norway to alter your dog without medical reason). Based on that alone, who do you think has the higher rate of homeless animals, behavioral problems, and unwanted or unplanned pregnancies?
Hint: It's not Europe.
I think Europeans are years ahead of us as far as pet ownership goes (for the most part), and they take responsibility for their dogs. That's something the vast majority of American owners don't do, and that is why we have a surplus of animals. It's not because our dogs are neutered or not.


Contrary to popular belief, it's entirely possible to have an intact dog and not breed. It takes management and vigilance, but it can be done responsibly and safely. Your intact dog is not going to become pregnant or impregnate just for having all their sex organs. It's the owner's job to manage it. 

It's also not my job to alter my dog because it makes others uncomfortable. #MindYourOwnDamnBusiness. 



Management of The Intact Dog

I've never really dealt with an intact male, and Olivia is my only female to have had a heat (she just had her second and will be spayed soon). However, my mother has had several, and I asked for her input on the subject.

I think an intact bitch is much easier to "deal with" than an intact dog. With a bitch, you get a twice yearly or yearly (usually) stretch of about a month total where you have to be vigilant, and deal with mess for part of that time.
Some bitches are fastidious about keeping themselves clean, and some...aren't. It gets messy, especially if your dog has a longer coat. Unless you want your floors, rugs, furniture, clothes, yourself, and your walls covered in little spots of red (when a girl in heat shakes...it splatters.), you need to keep panties on her. 
Leashed walks only, preferably in your fenced in yard. If you can't do that, keep as close to home as possible and carry a stick to fend off any males from your girl. In and out to potty, and that's it. Don't take your bitch anywhere during this time; not only is it incredibly risky, it's quite rude. 
As I mentioned above, you may have to be very careful if you have multiple dogs, and could need to crate and rotate for the duration of her heat.

For males, it's more of a constant supervision. Nothing will deter most males from a girl in heat, even if she's three blocks over. All he needs is to catch the scent, and all other thoughts turn off. I've heard some horror stories from breeders or intact owners about males scaling fences, chewing through doors, destroying crates and walls in order to get to a girl. 
That's not to say your boy will be girl crazy all the time. Not at all. An intact male not around a bitch can be just like a neutered dog, just with those obnoxiously swaying jewels they love to display by doing a full back sprawl. 
Personally, I find intact males to have a slight and distinct smell that females and neutered males don't have. My nose is insanely sensitive though, and I haven't heard this from others.

The Visual

Intact and late-altered dogs tend to be more well developed looking, with broader bodies and less gangly legs. Males' heads and necks tend to be wider, slightly coarser in appearance, and more recognizable as male than an early neutered boy. 



In conclusion

I do not agree with pediatric altering, but I am all for altering in dogs 6 months or older as the owner sees fit. I have two altered and one intact (soon to be spayed). I will alter all future dogs between the ages of 12 months and 24 months, or after 1-2 heats in a bitch. Personally, I see no reason to keep a bitch intact long term, especially as they tend to be less effected by altering than males.


You also have to factor in your dog's future - a rising agility star is going to put a lot more stress on their body than a laid-back house pet, and that effects your decision in spaying or neutering. There's also vasectomies and ovary sparing spays that you can look into if you wish to remove the risk of reproducing, but keep some of the hormones. 

What about you? Where do you stand on this?

- Dachshund Mommy 



Sunday, March 20, 2016

Black and White Sunday


Nikon D3300
35mm lens
1/50
f/1.8
ISO 800 

Join me and my co-host Sugar for the Black and White Sunday Blog Hop! Grab the badge and link up!




Friday, March 18, 2016

Fit Dog Friday: Hard as Nails

Hey, everyone!


It's Fit Dog Friday!

Today I'm touching on something important for your dog's overall health that's often looked over: nail care! Nail length has a huge effect on your dog's structure, as well as their comfort. Overly long nails can cause splayed or flat feet, and throw off the dog's front and rear assembly, in addition to putting stress on the spine (an important thing to remember for my fellow dwarf breed owners). Not to mention that if your dog still has her dew claws, keeping them short greatly reduces the risk of injury. Keeping the nails short is one of the most vital parts of grooming.

Nola is my first dog, and once we moved where she wasn't walking on concrete every day, her nails grew like crazy. By that time though, she was terrified of the clippers and I couldn't cut them without seriously stressing her out. With weeks and weeks of counter conditioning and desensitizing, in addition to switching to a dremel, I could grind them down without her becoming freaking out. It's not her favorite thing, but she is comfortable and accepting rather than panicked and frantic.

The changes to her paws and even the way she stood was shocking to see, and definitely made me feel bad for letting them grow that long. However, I've been good about staying on top of nail care (Dremeling twice a week for Nola, and every week or two for Pike and Olivia. Their nails grow much more slowly than hers for some reason), and it she's much happier for it. ;)

For most dogs, the nails shouldn't touch the floor when the dog is standing. Some people say the nails shouldn't click on hardwood floor, but sometimes the dog's foot structure just...makes them walk clicky, even if the nails are short.
There's a recent fad of getting nails so short they're almost non-exisistant, and I'm personally not a fan. Dogs do use and need their nails, especially ones with a more active style. Not touching the floor is a good rule of thumb, and then you customize to the individual. Nola runs/walks/jogs with me every day, and climbs and hikes in the cooler months. As such, her nails are longer for gripe and traction. Pike's less active, and his nails stay quite short on their own.

Here are a few photos that really show the difference between long and short

Standing, long nails. See the extreme easty-westy feet (paws pointing in opposite direction), the long, flat toes and the slightly down pasterns (wrists).
Note: dwarf breeds tend to be easty-westy by design, but long nails exaggerate the issue. 

Standing, short nails. Her feet are still easty-westy (dachshund trait), but it's much more mild. Toes are well arched, and her pasterns are more upright with just enough give to absorb shock.

Sitting, long nails. Same issues as the first. 


Sitting, short nails! 

Long nails, with splayed and loose toes. 

Short, with tighter, well arched toes. 


A nail day collage!



And some obligatory fitness photos!

Slowly working on "march!".

Sit pretty is her favorite trick now. 

She'll offer it to me for everything!



- Dachshund Mommy


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day!




PS: Thank you all so much for the amazing support on yesterday's post. Y'all are the best. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Spring Cleaning: Blog and Life

Hey, everyone!

Not so wordless Wednesday for you all today. :

As spring is just around the corner (though it feels more like summer here in Florida....), I'm decluttering and sprucing up the blog a little, along with my life. The blog edits will be happening on and off for a few days, and won't be anything too major. Just a little behind the scenes type things for the most part, and I really need to get around to rewriting my pages. Fun times. ;)

I've also decluttered my space some, including going through my extensive bookshelf. Next on the list: the closet!
In addition to that, I've also greatly pulled back from the dog community as a whole. On Facebook for the most part, though there've been a few blogs and other sites I've stopped following. The drama, negativity, bashing, and outright viciousness has gotten to be too much. It's toxic, and I've stepped away from it. It's been such a relief!
As someone who works hard to deal with anxiety, it's vitally important for me that I don't put myself into stupid drama and unneeded stress. This brings me to my next point.

Recently I've been contemplating where the blog is at now, and where I want it to go. It's been on my mind a lot lately, and for the most part, I think I have it worked out. I've dropped downed to posting 6 days a week rather than 7, and I've been really enjoying the Instagram aspect of the blog (#IMayBeABitAddicted).

I've also been really considering how much to share on here. While yes, I have had this blog for 5 years now and have shared most things, I'm not sure how keen I am on the moderately popular idea of bloggers owing their viewers every last detail of their existence. That makes me...a bit uncomfortable, to be honest. It sits wrong with me when people are that invested in a blog. Blogs are wonderful, but at the end of the day, it's a blog, at least in my eyes. I write for me, and me alone.

Whenever I write anything more than a few sentences (I hesitate to call them "articles", as they're nearly always just spur of the moment rambles), especially something that's more controversial, I tend to stress about it a bit. I do value your opinions, and I'm always curious to see what you have to say. However, I have had some shitty people acting like children filling up the comments section. I remove it, but it still sits weird with me. I don't like feeling like I need to cherry-pick my words in order not to provoke people.
This blog shows my life. I don't want to be a person that glosses over the bad or the difficult in order to make their life, their dogs -or their relationship and experiences with those dogs - perfect.

I am, by nature, private and work hard to deal with anxiety. I love sharing aspects of our lives with the blog world, but when comments become mean spirited it makes me want to shut it all down. I strive to share the real life struggles and joys of living with dogs. Sometimes it's amazing, gratifying, and fun, and sometimes it's heartbreak, failure, and upsetting. It's real, though.

Here are a few of the most resent FAQ. I won't be constantly answering the same thing, this is a one-time thing. :)


1. "What is Pike?"
Pike's an unusually small mini Aussie. His parents and siblings are all nearly double his height, but he's always been tiny.

2. "What happened to Boston, Auggie, Ellie and Phoenix?"
This one is for people who've been following from the very start, and the answer is nothing. They're my parents' dogs, and Nola used to play with them a good bit. They don't do that much anymore (Nola and Boston don't get along well anymore), and that's why I don't write about them.

3. "Don't you feed homemade?''
I did feed Nola homemade from 15 months to 2.5 years due to food allergies. Initially it was to figure out what the problem was, and then it just became a habit. It was quite time consuming and I wasn't entirely pleased with it. I now feed a mix of high quality kibble, canned and freeze dried raw, with an occasional addition of dehydrated and prey model raw.

4. "Where's Rule?"
It did not work out with Rule. Once she started to settle in and become comfortable, several behavior problems started to surface. Some of which I was willing to manage (resource guarding and separation anxiety) and one I was not. Suffice it to say that the problem made Roxie's issues look like a walk in the park, and I am fully aware of what I'm able - and willing - to handle. That was not one of them. I don't need bashed for knowing my limits. If it's something that bothers you (and trust me, it can't bother you more than it bothers me), I sincerely hope you never have to be in that situation, and I remind you that no one is forcing you to read this.

The shelter she came from recently started doing a trial period of up to one month, and after speaking with them, they found her a better suited home. I fostered her and continued to work with her until a well suited home was found. She went to them crate and potty trained, leashed trained, with basic obedience and a few tricks, as well as the layout for repairing the resource guarding and anxiety and a recommendation for a positive reinforcement out of town trainer for her more serious problem. I'm still in contact with her new owners and get updates every couple of weeks, and she is doing well.

5. "How many dogs do you have?'
Three: Nola, Pike, and Olivia. Nola and Pike are always with me, while Olivia oscillates between me and my youngest, four year old sister. She adores Olivia, and Olivia she.


To wrap up a longer than intended post, these are the main points of the spring cleaning:

* The blog is called Dachshund Nola, and will always be focused on Nola 90% of the time.

* Tiny changes may be noticed, but nothing major. Note to self: rewrite the pages!

* Posting 6 days a week, and enabling comment moderation to watch for spam that Blogger isn't catching.

* I will be doing occasional "real life" posts that will tell things like they are, and will also sometimes post about non-dog related plans and updates.


Thank you, everyone!

- Dachshund Mommy

Monday, March 14, 2016

Too Much of a Good Thing? - Thoughts On Multi-Dog Homes

Hey, everyone!


Today's post is something that's been on my mind on and off for the past month or two, and it involves multi-dog households. Recently several friends and acquaintances have gotten puppies (lucky bitches! The end of April will mark 2 years since Pike was a puppy, and my puppy fever is at dangerous levels), and it's made me insanely jealous ponder the best number of dogs to have, and if there's such a thing as "too many". Eyebrows start to raise when you have more than two dogs, and it's made me wonder why.


I will say that you have to be able to provide for however many dogs you have, regardless of if it's one or twelve. You have to provide decent food (and remember, what is decent for one dog isn't always decent for another), shelter, vet care, training, and interaction, not to mention basic cleanliness. I'm not talking about hoarding situations in this post. This post is questioning whether or not competent, responsible dog owners have - or should have - a cap on their dog number. Let's keep it friendly, alright? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but don't be a dick.


In my opinion, I don't think there should be a limit on how many dogs a good owner has. The only person who can decide that number is the owner, and the other members of the household. Only they know their budget, limitations, expectations, and capabilities. No one else has the power to say otherwise (unless they're under pet limitations by city or home owner association ordinance). It's no one's place to criticize someone in real life or on the internet if the dogs in question are well cared for and happy. Just smile, nod, and move on. Unless you're paying food and vet bills, it really just... doesn't concern you.


Some people can't handle one dog, and some people are fine with ten. It depends on the owner and the dogs. You also have to take into account the type of dog when looking at a 3+ dog household - four Border Collies or Malinois are going to take a lot more effort than 6 Mastiffs or Chihuahuas. Even still, some people can handle a baker's dozen of high energy, intense dogs without breaking a sweat. More power to them!
The only time I pause at a large group is when it's of bully breeds, and the owner is dealing with a crating/rotating situation. Not because I think it's wrong, but because I've dealt with crating and rotating. It is, to be perfectly blunt, fucking miserable to me. Not necessarily for the dogs, but for the owner. The stress of it is too much for me, and I admire those that can handle it. I hope to god I never have to be in a crating/rotating situation again. I can't manage my anxiety when I have that much stress in my home.

Certain people will say that you shouldn't have more than one dog if you've rehomed, or you've bought from a breeder (yes, I've actually seen this). That's such a load of BS that I can't even wrap my mind around it.
Rehoming does not equal a bad owner. It just doesn't. While there are people who abuse it, the vast majority of people do it responsibly and for the right reasons. Just because it doesn't work out with a dog doesn't mean it won't be perfect this time around.
As for the breeder thing... I am so pro breeder, and whether or not your dogs are from one shouldn't factor in how many you have.



Personally, I would love to have a large group of dogs. Six, or up to eight for the right group. Especially with my future plans, it's quite feasible with my lifestyle. A mix of high energy and intensity and laid-back and lazy would do me just fine. I'd like to add one to the gang this summer or fall.



While all dogs do well with training and interactions, some need more than others, and so long as everyone's needs are being met, I see no problem with having a dog you work more than another. Pike, for example, I hardly train with at all. Even my gentle method of positive reinforcement training  can send him over threshold with the slightest mistake, and it stresses both of us out. As such, we play instead, and work minor training into our play time. Nola, on the other handle, is worked all day, everyday. Her mind needs to be kept busy, or she'll find ways to keep it busy.
Most dogs really aren't as demanding as people would like to make them out to be. Dogs that need you to really to constantly work and exercise them are the exception, not the norm.

Another point people bring up is what age gaps are in your group. People fret about the heartbreak of a group of seniors, while others think it unfair to have younger dogs around seniors. To me, you do what works for your own situations. I personally like having my dogs close in age. Seniors will break my heart whether I have one or four. I would rather have them close in age because it works best for us, and because that most of their lives will not be lived during old age, if that makes sense.


So what about you? Where do you stand with this? What's your ideal dog number?


- Dachshund Mommy









Sunday, March 13, 2016

Black and White Sunday


Nikon D3300
35mm lens
1/500
f/1.8
ISO 200 

Join me and my co-host Sugar for the Black and White Sunday Blog Hop! Grab the badge and link up!