Remember Gypsy? The puppy I adopted last November. Next month she will be celebrating her first year birthday. She has come a long way from being that scared and skittish puppy I drove home across three states. As most GSPs she is very active but also enjoys her downtime more than Simba ever did. My biggest issue is that she tends to get bored. While I’m home, she enjoys playing with her toys. They have a large toy box and she will pull out each one and play with it a while or get Simba to play tug-a-war with her and then she goes for the next one. They also have a basket with about 50 chew bones which she tends to do the same with. She also likes to annoy Simba when she tires of entertaining herself. Simba likes to play when she feels like it and it’s not always when Gypsy feels like it. The both get along beautifully. They do play quite a bit, however, Simba is now nine years old and gets tired more. When I am away from the house, it’s a whole other Continue reading →
After a couple of months of Gypsy being home I noticed that she was beginning to scratch and nibble on herself more and more. GSP’s are known for having more allergies than other breeds. When Simba was younger, she too suffered from different skin allergies. The next couple of weeks, I noticed Gypsy was beginning to show bare spots around her face and some spots on her back legs. Gypsy was diagnosed as having Puppy Mange by her vet after performing skin graphs from a couple of areas. Puppy Mange (Demodectic Mange” also known as Canine Scabies. It is caused by Continue reading →
Simba and Gypsy are two very active GSPs. As all GSP owners know, this breed must get all the exercise they need daily or your home will be a war-zone. It will also look like one as told by Simba. I recently had a full hip replacement. There was quite a bit of planning for this big occurrence in my life. First of all, I had to finish fencing off the backyard for Gypsy. Simba is well behaved and also more mature than Gypsy. Gypsy is still only 7 months old and I can’t take the chance of her puppy brain taking over and deciding to explore more ground (especially the busy street in the front of the house). As painful as it was, I finished the fencing. The next item was installing a doggie door so that they could now go out without needing me to get up every 30 minutes to open the door (every 5 minutes for Gypsy who likes to be controlling/annoying at times).
Installing the doggie door should have only taken ten minutes. However, once I opened up the wall this is what I found. Electric wiring in my way, augh.
The project took a couple of hours of rewiring resulting with happiness and satisfaction.
It only took Gypsy a couple of days to get comfortable with going in and out of the doggie door by herself without coaxing. Simba on the other hand is more apprehensive and always has been. It took her about a week of going through the door with me holding it open, on my hands and knees on the opposite side of the door with my head through the door as I pleaded with her. An entertaining moment for my neighbors who don’t miss anything.
I am glad they have each other to play with. They usually do a pretty good job wearing themselves out chasing each other around and wrestling like world champions. However, since I have returned from the hospital Simba won’t leave my side. Gypsy still comes and goes and actually enjoys spending lots of time outdoors trying to find different escape routes. Simba has always been very intuitive and knows something’s wrong; so there’s no playing or chasing each other around going on. My son sent us the BazooK-9 that he purchased through Amazon. What a fantastic and fun contraption, not only for the dogs but me too. This shoots tennis balls across two rooms with the pull of the trigger and the best part is that you don’t have to bend down to pick the balls up. All you do is push the barrel over the ball and it scoops it up. When the ball disappears into the barrel Simba just goes insane trying to figure out where it disappeared to all the while making a funny and dramatic whimper cry. Gypsy has never gotten the jist of fetching. She likes chasing the ball and then prancing around with it in her mouth chasing Simba back and forth who does fetch and return the ball. They both love it and are getting quite the exercise. They love it so much that they don’t want to stop playing making Simba whimper for a while when it’s put away.
The puppy saw her reflection on the fireplace glass door today. She must have stood there observing it for at least an hour. She would back up and sit next to her sister for a while and go back to show Simba this strange dog. What I found strange is that she has seen her reflection in my full length mirror. She stops for a couple of seconds and then realizes she can see me in the mirror too. She’ll turn back and forth a couple of times and leave it that. But the image on the glass had her really perplexed. Maybe it was because this image was translucent. It was fun to watch.
Mum is training Gypsy how to poo and pee outside. I don’t think Gypsy gets the idea yet. Mum got home from work yesterday and quickly let Gypsy out of her crate. Then ran to the back door which is about ten feet away from the crate. Before mum got the door open, Gypsy had found a nice spot to pee on the brand new rug. Mum was not happy but had an understanding look on her face. Today when she got home, she opened the crate and carried Gypsy out the door. It was an exciting moment when Gypsy peed outside. Mum clapped and celebrated like it was such a big deal. She gave her a little tiny treat. I don’t understand why she never celebrates like that when I pee outside. We were outside for a while. Being such a good girl, I peed and pood out in the yard. Mum and I played catch for a while. Gypsy doesn’t like to play catch. I think she’s lazy because she stands by mum and waits until I get close enough to chase me, As she’s chasing me she’s jumping at me trying to get the ball out of my mouth. What a cheater! Mum said she is just a confused pup! We all went in excited to get our treat. Mum locked the back door and turned around and started gasping! Gypsy was pooing on the brand new rug. Kind of funny if you ask me. definitely a confused pup.
I know Simba gets very excited on Halloween. If you take your pooch out at night make sure the costume, collar, and/or leash is reflective. Dogs can get spooked at night if approached by a masked individual. Know your dog and don’t put him in a bad situation where he might end up biting someone or trying to run away and get loose. Simba loves going to doggie costume events in daylight. She is great around all kinds of other animals so I find Halloween events specifically for her. She does not do well around young children or people dressed up in animal costumes like a big Clifford. It spooks her and she barks like she is ready to devour them. I don’t think she would but I’m not going to take the chance or put her through such an ordeal. Therefore, I do not take her out on Halloween night when trick-or-treaters are out. Also, please no candy for your pup especially chocolate! Carry special treats for them in your pocket. You can also carry healthy stuff like baby carrots, or Sweet potato Chews. If you want to give out doggie treats to visiting dogs, check out our TREAT RECIPES? A great idea for a pet costume is using an old stuffed animal. If you have a stuffed animal about the size of your pup, cut along the underside (belly) from about 6″ from neck down. Remove the stuffing and cut open the face mouth area to fit your pup’s head in. You want the face and/or head portion of the stuffed animal to lay on your pup’s head as in Simba’s picture above. The costume will lay over pup’s back, you can sew on some sort of tie or velcro under the chest area to keep the costume still. Stay safe and keep your pet safe.
In the past couple of years, Simba has really turned grey around the face. It reminds me how quickly time is flying by. Simba and I are aging together. I can’t go by my grey because I’m vainer than Simba and go through the monthly chore of covering it up. I see her slowing down as I have. She likes to sleep more as I do. She doesn’t jump off the 3 1/2’ patio wall all the time anymore but goes all the way around it. There are still days she’s feeling young and energetic and will leap off but those days are becoming sparse. I have stopped jumping off walls years ago; just about the time the doc told me I need a knee replacement in the near future. We both used to love running a lot. She could chase that ball or Frisbee forever and I used to love running 5K several times a week. Now I walk 5K every day and she lets me know how she is feeling on a daily basis. There are days, especially if they’re cooler, that she will continue chasing the ball until my arm gets tired. Other days, including all hot days, she chases the ball on the first throw but doesn’t bring it back. She will stand where the ball was caught and just stare back at me until I get tired of waiting and say “Okay, let’s go in.” or she catches the ball and pretends she’s bringing it to me and keeps on running all the way back into the house. Both of us get up slowly from the couch, have lots more stomach issues and can’t quite see or hear as we used to. Our patience with each other has also changed with age. Although I know I’m late for work, I patiently wait for her to do her business in the morning which now seems to take much more pacing and she waits at the bottom step without any more whining as I slowly descend the stairs. It saddens me to think that half our lives are behind; but makes me appreciate every time she makes me laugh or smile even more now. Dogs live in the moment. If we learn anything from our dogs, this should be it. I enjoy every cuddle, every moment she makes me smile or laugh, and how lucky I am to have her with me here and now.
Bloggers have gone back and forth on the issue of do dogs experience menopause. According to veterinarians dogs cannot go through menopause because they don’t menstruate the same way as humans do. I found many posts of dog owner disagreeing with the professionals, for example these are from http://community.dog.com.
• Since dogs don’t menstruate, they can’t have PMS. However, they do go through an estrus cycle, and their hormones change, which is what causes PMS symptoms in people, so I see no reason why it can’t effect dogs. Morgan had horrible heat cycles – she would get diarrhea, vomiting, mood swings, hot and cold flashes ~ she would shiver one minute, and be panting the next ~ she would pee more often, she would just kinda look blah. Pretty much the same symptoms that can occur with PMS.
• Well, dogs have hormones just like we do. Although I don’t think we can compare the symptoms between humans and canines…I believe that they are affected by their hormonal changes, just like we are.
• My 14 month old GSD is showing signs of coming into her second heat. She shows symptoms ranging from clinginess (is that a word?) all the way to downright obnoxious (PMS? I dunno, maybe). Also, one minute, she doesn’t feel good at all, just wanting to lay down; and the next she is bouncing around like normal.
• They can from what I understand have mood swings and be somewhat unpredictable during that time though.
Then we have Simba who is 8 years old. As I stated in my last couple of posts, her behavior has gone through some changes. She has had a couple of pee accidents, has become overprotective of me in an aggressive manner, has become even more clingy (if that’s even possible with GSPs), her anxiety level has increased, does not eat when I’m not home, she’s lost some muscle even though she exercises every day, wimps and whines as she sits in front of me just staring, wakes up several times a time to get out of the covers because she’s hot and then gets cold, is fatigued during the day and can fall asleep standing up and rip out truck sized snores and has become disoriented on two occasions where she went around to the front of the house to come back in instead of the back.
Now speaking from experience (unfortunately) if I compare her symptoms to my menopausal symptoms I would say she’s right on cue. How about it ladies? I know I can’t be alone when I say I would like to strangle these young girls who say to me “I can’t wait to go through menopause and not have a period”. Who want to gain weight and lose muscle even when you’re killing yourself working out? Who wants to be driving and suddenly forget where you were going or worse where you are? Who like to get up in the middle of the night to change because you’re soaked? Who wants to be laughing hysterically and suddenly burst out in tears? Who wants to suddenly turn into the Tasmanian devil without any warning? To all those 20 year olds, I say, “Enjoy your periods, it only gets worse.”
I have lost track; back to dogs (blame menopause). My conclusions are that although they may not experience menopause or PMS in the human sense there are hormonal changes going on. I can attest that anything that hormones control can wreak havoc!
I found a great article on behavior changes in aging dogs http://pets.webmd.com. They specify that aging dogs show a decline in several different functions. They can be cognitive and physical functions but they all will have repercussions on their behavior. For example, a loss in senses and awareness can cause sleep disturbances. Also, loss of memory can cause forgetting learned commands. These can also cause their anxiety levels to increase which in turn can cause more aggressive behavior, clinginess, or becoming less affectionate. It recommends always taking you dog to the vet first to make sure there is nothing serious going on. They also mention there are medications available that can control some of the behavior like anxiety. They stress to keep your dog active with playful exercise and keep teaching him fun new tricks. For some ideas on new tricks you can go to www.trustingpaws.com. For more information on aging dogs the article I referenced above is full of great information.
I have been researching what could be the possible reason that Simba has suddenly become over protective of me and what to do about it. The first article I came across suggest that dog’s become over protective when do not respect their owner. I was shocked, my dog doesn’t respect me! The article stated that when a dog does not respect their owner they feel they have to take matters into their own paws and make decisions of what is best for you because they feel you can’t or don’t. I thought about this and thought about when my kids were young and even through their teenage years and into young adulthood. Some of you may be appalled that I am comparing my dog to my kids but Continue reading →