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.

Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (7)

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.

Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (8)Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (9)Misty Shores Thalia Ear Injury (12)

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

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

The First Show

I entered the Little Bittles in their first show In January. My niece and I practiced a lot with them on moving, stacking and showing their bite. We thought we had them pretty good for 6 month old pups.

So we went to the show early to let them walk around and check things out since this was their first time. They did amazingly well, calm and relaxed and not bothered by the other dogs. We practiced just a bit more. We met up with their brother, Banner, and his mom. Hailee’s family came to watch her show Zelena, so we had a a lot of people to hang out with.

Then it was our turn to go in the ring. All went well with the initial stack and go around, then it was time to stack up the dogs so the judge could go over each dog individually. Thalia was the second dog in line and I was showing her. The judge asked me to show the bite…BOOM…she would not let me show her bite. She was fighting tooth (no pun intended) and nail against me.

Our judge, Dr. Eric Liebes, was amazing! He pulled us over to the other side of the ring and let me work her through it, at one point he said to her “this is one battle you are not going to win little girl”. Finally he caught a glimpse of teeth. I was mortified at her behavior and thought for sure he would excuse us from the ring. I am so thankful he was understanding of a 6 month old puppy in the ring for the first time and allowed us the time to work through it, at least somewhat. Hailee and Zelena did fantastic! This is the first puppy Hailee has ever shown.

After all her shenanigans we were awarded second place, Zelena was third place.

I have no idea why she reacted the way she did. I play with their mouths from the time they are very young and she had been very good about it prior to ring time.

So since then we have been checking bites all the time and she seems okay about it, but time will tell.

Misty Shores Chesapeakes (1)
This is Banner
Misty Shores Chesapeakes (2)
Second handler is Hailee and Zelena
Misty Shores Chesapeakes (3)
Me and Thalia

Tina & the Brown Dogs

Pesky Pests

Once the pups were old enough they moved to the living room to their big indoor pen and we also had a big outside pen on the porch. The set up was nice as I had the pens set up on either side of each other with a door between to let them in and out.

The biggest struggle I had with the outdoor pen was with those pesky yellow jackets. They were everywhere, so I had to watch the pups with an eagle eye to make sure no one got stung. I tried several different things to get rid of them. I cut a whole in the top of a few 2 liter bottles and filled them with apple juice and cut apples with added liquid sugar. I thought for sure this would attract them and they would crawl inside and be trapped. I think I only had about 5 total between the three bottles that fell for that. So I sat on the porch with a fly swatter warding off these pests.

Then one day I noticed that there were a dozen or more yellow jackets trapped in a partial bottle of flavored tea someone had left sitting on the porch. This did not totally get rid of them but it sure did make it more manageable. I could not find the nest, so I continued to spray around the porch when the pups were inside, but I hate using chemicals so I had to be very careful to make sure the spray did not go up on the porch and it was dry before letting pups outside. I managed to keep pups from getting stung but I was not so lucky.

Around November I received an email from a gentleman regarding one of my blog posts I wrote about Maia getting in some trouble with yellow jackets, you can read about it here. He asked if I could take a look at an article about yellow jackets and link to it. I have read through this very carefully written and thorough article written by Candace Osmond. I sure wish I had this information back in August but I have it for the future. If you have a problem with these Pesky Pests, take a look at this article, it just might help you out!

Photo from article backyardboss.net/how-to-deal-with-yellow-jackets/