Having some FUN with Antlers

The weekend of June 2-3 was our annual Chesapeake Fun Weekend. On Saturday we had a lot of activities for the dogs but one in particular was not only interesting but fun to try.

We had a Shed Hunt presentation and demonstration. Our presenter, Alberta Hoikke, was knowledgeable, and she and her dog, Sniper, have been doing very well in this sport.  She explained things thoroughly, and answered all our questions.

Alberta says…

Shed hunting is a fun sport for you and your dog. It adds another season for the hunting dog you already own and is a great way to keep your dog tuned up and in shape. You can easily train your dog for competition (UKC Elite Shed Dog or North American Shed Hunting Dog Association) and/or every day shed hunting. The competitions are family friendly and the training helps make your retriever a multipurpose dog and very versatile working dog companion. No special equipment is needed, just some old antlers you probably have lying around.

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After the presentation she and Sniper gave us a live demonstration. The sheds are placed throughout the field (the dog does not know where) and the dog has to find them and return each one to their handler. .ACC Michigan Fun Weekend 2018 (257)ACC Michigan Fun Weekend 2018 (270)ACC Michigan Fun Weekend 2018 (280)

After the live demonstration we were able to give it a try. Titan enjoyed himself and caught on quickly to what he was supposed to do. IMG-1373IMG-1374IMG-1380

So if you’re looking for something fun to try with your pooch, check this out!

Tina & the Brown Dogs

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Ear Injuries are the Worse!

On Saturday April 28 I had let the pups out as usual to do their business and play for a bit. They started barking so I opened the door to let them in, first in was Thalia. I gave her some treats and lifted her into her crate, that’s when I noticed blood on her face. WHAAAT!! I start looking around to see where its coming from, I found a cut about an inch long on the inside of her ear flap. So thinking I have it solved and injury not too bad, I then notice I have blood all over me, she in fact has much more on her than I originally found, in fact it is dripping from her ear. On further investigation she not only has a cut on the inside flap but has split the tip of her ear flap open about a half inch. I swear by time I was done going over her, looking at myself, her shaking her head slinging blood everywhere, it looked like a murder scene!

If you have ever dealt with this type of ear injury, you know it is one of the most difficult to heal. The ear is very vascular so every time they shake their head it reopens the wound and you start all over.

Of course it’s the weekend and my vet office is closed so, off to the emergency vet we go. I knew she probably needed antibiotics and maybe some pain meds. If the whole area had been split open I would have had to have her stitched but I have found with this type of injury it is usually best to let it heal on its own. A lot of times sutures make it worse because if they shake their head to much it rips them out and then you are dealing with more damage.

So, when we arrived home from the vets this is what my poor little girl looked like. Grandma Riva had to give her the once over, I think she was reassuring her as Riva has had her fair share of ear problems.

Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (1)Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (2)Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (3) 

The cone lasted for about 24 hours and then I gave up on it. Seemed like it was causing more problems than helping. She couldn’t wear it in the crate because it was just too big and when outside it acted like a big scoop. I was afraid too much dirt and debris would get on her ear so I finally just left it off and diligently kept her from shaking her head. Over the next two weeks I walked her outside on a leash to take care of business, kept her crate confined more than normal just to make sure we had her ear well on the mend. This is five days after the injury…

Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (6)

You can see it is starting to heal pretty nicely, the half inch from the edge is where the ear is completely split.

It was at this point I noticed the outer flap was not getting enough air. With the ear wrapped to her head it can cause it to become too moist. I changed the bandage regularly and inspected the injury but we still ended up with her ear getting to moist on the outer flap which caused a bit of a problem with scabby areas and hair loss. It looks wet here because I had cleaned it off and put some triple antibiotic  ointment on it. But you can see the loss of hair where I cleaned off the scabby areas.

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So, I tried using less vet wrap and using a knee high stocking with the foot cut off and one whole for the good ear to keep the ear up. After a day or so I could see that was not working either so I finally just used the stocking.

Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (4)Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (5)

Healing progressed nicely over the next couple of weeks and I could see improvement each day as I inspected it. This is May 12 post injury, you can see in the first photo there is a small notch which I figured would be the best it would get, but I could live with that compared to what is looked like originally. The last photo shows how much hair she lost on the outer flap. At this point I had been leaving all wraps off for about a week so the ear could get lots of air.

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Over the next week it continued to heal nicely, this is May 17, still a very small notch but all scabbing is gone.

Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (13)

And this is this past Sunday…sorry a bit fuzzy, she was not having anymore of the injury photos. But you can see even the small notch is almost gone and the hair is coming back in nicely on her outer flap.

Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (15)Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (14)

I am so thankful it has healed so nice, especially since we have our National Show Specialty coming up in about 6 weeks.

Now for how this happened, I can only speculate. Once we came home from the er vet I inspected the backyard and discovered they had pushed the part of the fence next to the garage away enough that I think she stuck her head through and caught it on a nail. There was blood spatter all over the side of the garage and the trash can that sits there. My brother and I fixed this right away and reinforced it so they couldn’t push it away again. I still haven’t let her and Zelena out to play together in the yard, I want to make sure it is healed really well because if it were to reopen now I’m sure it would be a big mess and not heal so well a second time.

So that’s been our drama the past month! We hope y’all have a great holiday weekend!!

Tina & the Brown Dogs

Little Steps

Back in January my friend Robin who has one of the pups, Banner, entered him in the Livonia Kennel Club show in Novi, MI. He was six months old and his very first show. He did pretty good for his first time out and received a Reserve Winners ribbon. You can learn more about Conformation Shows here.

Banner..

Last Saturday she entered him in the Ann Arbor Kennel Clubs Sanctioned B-Match. These are great educational and informal settings for novice dogs and people who are just getting started in showing, getting a puppy socialized, meeting other people who have a similar interest in dog shows, but most of all they are fun. There are no Championship points or titles awarded at these events, they are simply for one to gain experience for the licensed shows. You can learn more about these events here.

I was very excited when Robin texted me to say that Banner had received a Group 2. Dogs make it to group when they are chosen Best of Breed in their specific breeds. There are seven groups, Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are in the Sporting Group. The dogs in the Sporting Group were bred to hunt game birds both on land and in the water. The breeds in this group include Pointers, Retrievers, Setters and Spaniels.

She said he needed the practice as he was a bit nervous about standing for inspection, but all in all I say he did pretty good.

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Looking forward to watching this boy mature and see what he accomplishes.

Tina & the Brown Dogs

Senior Dogs

I find myself thinking more and more about my senior dog and her brother; Riva and Reveler will be 13 this July.

It is hard to wrap my head around that! How could it be almost 13 years since we saw these little burr heads come into the world??

Riva came home with me when she was 8 weeks old and I knew immediately she was going to be very special. At 8 weeks old she looked at me and gave me a huge Chessie grin as if to say, “you better hang onto your hat because I’m going to be a handful”!

Riva puppy2  Riva puppy (2)  Riva & Jimmie puppy1

My niece, Hailee, grew up with Riva. She is her dog for sure. Hailee doesn’t like to talk about Riva getting old, she’s a very emotional girl when it comes to the dogs. She was the first dog she showed, albeit only once, but they had a good time and did very well with each other. Hailee has always been my dog helper.

Hailee & Girls

Hailee & Riva  the retrieve    Hailee and Riva    Hailee and Riva first show

In my 25+ years having this breed and eight dogs I have only had two that were true counter surfers, but Riva holds the title of “Counter Surfer Elite”. This girl can manage to get to things you thought you had well-hidden and pushed back out of reach. Over the years she has eaten half pans of brownies, ate half my special apple pie that was for my Smiling Rivafamily reunion, cinnamon rolls, and breads just to name a few. One of the most memorable counter surf incidents was when I was visiting my friends for the weekend and Riva stole the butter.  My friend Michelle’s father was preparing dinner for all of us and the dogs were roaming around. He placed a stick of butter on the counter, turned around to stir something on the stove, turned back around and the butter was gone (wrapper and all), he had his hands on his hips and a look like “I could swear I just put a stick of butter there”. This was years ago and we all still laugh about it to this day. She never has any true guilt or shame about what she does, oh yea she gives you a sheepish grin with the ears back because she knows she looks cute and you will just laugh and say, “well I should have done a better job putting things away”. Even at almost 13 she still steals things off the counter.

Riva also has selective hearing. Now according to my nephew when he was about eight years old this is a real disease, lol. There was one time we were camping at the same friend’s house for a big Chessie event; another friend, Jan, was in her camper right next to our tent. Well somehow Riva got out of the tent in the late evening, so it was starting to get dark. Here I am out there with food trying to get her to come just close enough I can grab her collar. Not even once did she acknowledge me and look back, she just kept sniffing around making sure to keep just enough distance between us. You would think this food motivated dog would be easy to catch with food. Finally, after about 15 minutes I managed to wrangle her. The only comment Jan had to say, “only a mother could love Riva”. So,  from that day forward that comment has stuck.

She also thinks if the door opens she must exit! I can’t tell you how many times this girl has taken herself for a walkabout around the neighborhood with me and sometimes others following. One particular incident that stands out in my mind was just a couple years ago. I came out of my bedroom to the living room and I just knew immediately she was not in the house. So, I grab my shoes, a leash and treats and rush out the door only to see my brother rounding the corner with no shirt or shoes, Riva in his arms, yes, he was carrying this 75-pound dog back home.

Riva had one litter of pups, which is where Maia and Titan came from. She wasn’t a bad mother, but she wasn’t what I would call maternal. She would feed them just fine but Chesapeake Bay Retriever Puppies (1)when it came to cleaning them she looked at me like “I am not licking their butts”, so that job was left for me for the most part. When they were old enough to be weaned I could tell she was glad to be relieved of that duty. She never even noticed when they started leaving for their new homes. I think she might have been a little disgusted when two of them stayed behind.

I tell you about all this, so you can have a sense of who she is; a dog with her own agenda! Some of you might say, “well you should have trained her better”, believe me I did my best with her. But honestly after several years I just resigned myself to this is who she is. You all might think this is strange, but I find these qualities endearing because at the end of the day I knew she loved me when she would snuggle up close to me and want me to put my arm around her while she slept. It’s Riva’s world, I just live in it!

When I look at her now graying face and watch her moving a little slower and stiffer, I remember all the antics she has done and how I would be so frustrated with her at times and think, what I wouldn’t give to have that young dog back and do it all again. It’s these memories that really fill my heart with joy even though I know her days, months and maybe even another year or two or waning. Dogs live in the moment and I would like to be like that with her, not thinking about the future but just enjoying the here and now with her. Living each day in the moment with my special Riva Diva!

Riva Fall Photo Shoot 2016 (3)

Riva Fall Photo Shoot 2016 8-3

Tina & the Brown Dogs

Raising Puppies the Puppy Culture Way

 

I have been interested in the Puppy Culture program for several years now. My friend, Deb, let me borrow her DVD “The Powerful First 12 Weeks That Can Shape Your Puppy’s Future,” so I could watch the program prior to the birth of the pups. I watched it a dozen times, took notes, wrote a complete outline that I shared with my niece, Hailee, who would be my whelping partner.

Now for Riva’s litter I didn’t know about Puppy Culture but I was aware of Early Neurological Stimulation (ENS) by Dr Battaglia. I did this with all the pups in Riva’s litter. This is a great method that has a lasting effect on a dogs ability to handle stress, it is also a great way of bonding with each puppy. When I discovered Puppy Culture I was delighted that the ENS is part of the program.

So on day three we started the ENS and continued it every day through day 16. It was fun to watch how each pup responded. Then we continued with each week of the program as it is laid out. My favorite part was obstacle training. I used an x-pen to block off the doorway to the outside, each one had to figure out they simply needed to walk around the barrier and they were outside. I only had one who took a little time to figure it out. It was hard to restrain myself as I watched her go back and forth and whine but I held out and she soon figured it out.

Using Jane Killion’s Puppy Culture Program I feel gave my pups a great start by building strong confident puppies that do not get overly anxious or stressed by things they encounter in life. Not to mention how much fun we had and what a great bonding experience.

As I had potential puppy buyers, family and friends visit the pups the one thing they all commented on was how confident they were. I think my biggest compliment came from my vet when they went for their first check up and vaccine. I took all nine but we only took three in at a time. My vet, Dr. McAllister, just could not get over how calm and relaxed they were. She commented “what great temperament, so well behaved”. While temperament is genetic it is also in how a pup is raised. I told her about the Puppy Culture program, she made a note of it in my chart as well as noting the temperament. The techs were pretty pleased as well, they told me of other breeders who would bring their pups in and just let them loose and they were all over the clinic, barking and carrying on.

We used different stuffed toys, baby items, a trash can lid (this served as my unstable floor), an agility tunnel, crates, noise makers, a kiddie pool with balls and many other things to provide daily stimulation. I didn’t do all the things I had planned but as I did this program I learned as well as the pups. So the next litter we will try some of the things I didn’t get to this time.

Did we do everything perfect, no, but we learn as we go. I am just so pleased with the outcome from using this program, I highly recommend it to any breeder.

Now for some fun photos.

Their first home.

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The girls!

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The boys!

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Our outdoor pen, I added more toys as we continued to get things set up.

Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (2)Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (4)All of the pups loved this big stuffed tiger!

Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups

This was great fun! One of the cheapest large activities I had for them. Two huge net bags full of these balls from a yard sale, $5 and the pool was $6. They would stand on the side and dive right in, chase each other around the pool and then jump in. Entertained them for hours!

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Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (5)Introducing them to water.

Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (22)Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (23)Misty Shores Buddy X Maia Pups (24)Being a retriever breed we bring out ducks and wings to check for birdiness and see how pups react. I thought this still fell in line with Puppy Culture for introducing new things to the pups.

Click to watch 3 short videos

Puppies at Play

Puppies, Pool, Balls = FUN

We Love Water

Tina & the Brown Dogs