Kora and the Coyote

I think my adrenaline is still working its way back down from today’s scare. Kora and I were out on our favorite local hike and Kora ran off to herd some nearby cows. Just as she was about finished getting the cows where she wanted, a coyote (grey fox?) came trotting over and Kora gave chase.

Kora chased the coyote with me frantically running after both of them, screaming at the top of my lungs. Of course, I was no match for either of them, but running to protect my baby was instinct. Fortunately the coyote was pretty fast, though Kora was hanging with it. As the coyote went over the hill, I think Kora realized that the panic in my voice meant something serious was going on. She stopped chase and came running back to me, though she was pretty far away at this point.

I’m so thankful that the coyote ran rather than turning around and attacking. I’m so thankful that something made Kora stop giving chase and come back to me. I’m so thankful that my baby is safe and sound at home.

That was quite the scare. I’ve looked at photos of foxes and coyotes to try to figure out what it was and I’m just not sure. I got a very good look at it as it ran right by. This happened over an hour ago yet my heart is still pounding and my vocal chords are sore.

Have you ever had a scary experience like that?

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Dog Care Review – For Day and Night Stays

I’ve checked out many dog care places in the area, both for day and night stays. I know that many dog owners choose to have a pet sitter stay at their house, but because Kora is not able to be left unattended for any length of time, this is not an option for me right now. Here is my experience of local dog care places.

Happy Hikedog Pet Sitting, San Ramon, CA (House)
Bill and Sue run Happy Hikedog out of their house. Their rates are extremely reasonable at $20 for day care (for up to 12 hours) and $30 for overnight. They even have free pick up and delivery for dogs who stay at least two nights. They also do dog walking and pet sitting if you want them to come to your home.  I am thrilled to find out about them and I already have Kora lined up for regular day care visits. Kora loves her time with Bill and Sue. I went to pick her up today and she didn’t want to leave. Now, that’s a good sign! They take dogs for walks daily. Today, they took Kora to the dog park. Kora comes home from day care pooped, which is quite desirable (and impressive!) for a dog mom of a high energy pup. Bill takes great photos and sends them to dog parents every day. Sometimes he posts a video of your pup’s play on YouTube. Their yard is completely fenced in and they host large and small dogs. They have a 2 year old Golden Doodle, Shasta, who is a built-in playmate for your dog. They have a max of 4 to 5 dogs at any given time. Dogs can come in and out of the house as they please. There is 24/7 supervision which is a plus for Kora since she doesn’t like to be left alone. There are no crates (unless your dog likes one and you bring it) which is a must for me since Kora does not like to be crated. I recommend Happy Hikedog Pet Sitting for both small and big, as well as active and inactive dogs.

Cynthia’s Canine Inn, Alamo, CA (House)
Cynthia’s Canine Inn is great. Kora has stayed here many times for both day and night care. There is plenty of indoor and outdoor space for the dogs to play. The dogs are not crated, unless your dog likes to sleep in the crate. Sometimes Cynthia and Gene take the dogs for a hike in nearby open space. Dogs staying for boarding get a welcome sign on the door and a treat bag when leaving. Gene and Cynthia are great with the dogs. Even though Kora is high-energy, they always welcome Kora with open arms, which I appreciate. Pricing is fair and reasonable in comparison with the other dog care places listed here, though not as reasonable as Happy HikeDog Pet Sitting. They charge $25 for day care up to 5 hours and $35 for day care up to 10 hours. They charge $45 for overnight (once you hit VIP status which happens after 3 visits). They allow up to 10 dogs at a time, so it can be a little hectic, but they have plenty of space. I recommend Cynthia’s Canine Inn for high energy pups who like to play with other dogs.

Pampering Paws, Danville, CA (House)
Kora stayed here a few times during the day. Kris is great with the dogs. She has a wonderful back yard. The problem is that Kris leaves the house 1 to 2 times every day for up to 1.5 hours. When she does, she puts some dogs in x-pens and some in crates. Kora, being a larger dog that could jump the pens, was crated. Kora does not like to be crated. Kris was kind enough to video Kora while crated. We thought maybe being tired from dog play would make the crating different than when Kora was crated at home. Nope. Kora cried the entire time, chewing violently on the metal bars. If your dog doesn’t mind being crated a few hours during the day and overnight, this is a good choice.

The Fairy Dog Mother Inn & Day Spaw, Concord, CA (House)
I only visited The Fairy Dog Mother. Kora never stayed here. This place was pretty pricey and I did have concerns about Kora wandering off in the open space adjacent to the property. If your dog is not a jumper, it’s not a concern. It is also kind of far from my house. The dogs seem well-cared for here and are not crated.

DogMah Doggie Care & Spa, San Ramon, CA (House)
DogMah is by far the most convenient place.  It is out my back gate and to the right three houses down. Unfortunately, I’m not sure Rachel at DogMah could handle Kora. Kora stayed with Rachel one time in October for a few hours. Rachel had one other dog there that day. When I picked up Kora, I asked Rachel if Kora was welcome back. She said only if the other dog was not there. It seems the two dogs together had been a handful. Dog watching is not a full time job for Rachel, so I think she does best with mellower dogs that don’t need such constant supervision. Kora was put in a room for a few minutes while Rachel was feeding the other dog. Kora got into a bag of treats and came home with diarrhea. I called Rachel one more time to see if Kora could come over and she said she could not accommodate. I got the feeling that Rachel was not interested in my business, so we haven’t been back. Dogs are not crated.

WOOF  San Ramon, CA (Commercial)
Nope, I’m not leaving Kora here under any circumstances. It is in an industrial park, so it’s not very inviting. There is separate housing for day care and boarding dogs, with an automotive shop in between. The “outside” area is not very big or pleasant. For that matter, neither is the inside. Sure, it’s economical, but it’s not for me. Dogs are crated at night which doesn’t work for Kora.

Doggy Day Care and Stayovers, Danville CA (House)
This place came recommended by a friend. It is conveniently located for me and reasonably priced. Linda does not crate the dogs which is good for me because Kora does not like to be crated. I had a less than positive experience here. I dropped Kora off and 10 minutes later found myself climbing over their fence to rescue her. Unfortunately Linda is not home often (she works most days at Shampooches washing dogs), so the dogs are left with her father. Her father is a very sweet man, but can’t hear very well (he is 85 years old). When I rang the bell to get Kora (because I just didn’t have a great feeling about leaving her with the dad), he couldn’t hear the bell. The dogs barked because they could hear the bell and he would yell at the dogs for barking (because he could not hear the bell, he had no idea why they were barking). I do not trust him completely to be able to handle 10 dogs. The dogs have a small area in the house. The backyard is entirely concrete. It is okay in size, but not huge and not interesting since it is all concrete. I did not give it another try with Linda there. I had purposely set up a time when Linda would be there only to find she had been called to a dog washing appointment and would be home “shortly” which is why I found myself in the predicament of leaving Kora with the father. Personally, I would not recommend this place.

Two other popular options that I did not visit because they crate dogs are Dogtopia and Kamp K9. If your dog does not mind being crated, these could be options for you:

Dogtopia, Pleasanton, CA (Commercial)
Dogtopia crates for two hours during the day for nap time and at night for sleeping. This doesn’t work for Kora who does not like to be crated so I never visited Dogtopia.

Kamp K9, Castro Valley (Commercial)
Kamp K9 crates at nights and crates during the day for dogs who are staying overnight. They said that they might crate day care dogs as needed when it is raining. Because of the crating, I did not visit Kamp K9.

If you live in the area, please share your dog care experiences! And if you don’t live in the area, feel free to share any crazy dog care tales you might have.

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Kora Meets Snake – Training

Today, Kora and I went to snake aversion training with Natural Solutions. They hold training sessions all throughout California. It cost $75 and took about 15 minutes. Personally, I think it was well worth it.

The trainers seemed very knowledgeable and were good with the dogs. The dogs go one at time through the snake circuit. The snakes are all muzzled so they can’t hurt the dog. There are 4 snake stations. The first is a baby rattlesnake. The handler has the dog on a long lead and gives correction, if needed – for as many times as needed until the dog stays away from the snake. The correction is not an electric shock that goes through the dog. It is more like a pinch to the neck. It is a “low-level electronic correction collar.” They have different levels depending on the reaction to the snake.

Kora needed three corrections at the first station. Kora went right up to the baby snake. The handler said she would have been bit. I have no doubt, which is why I was so motivated to take her. Kora is very inquisitive and sticks her nose everywhere. And, we go off-leash on the trails often. The handler said he had to give her correction level 4 before she responded. She then had no desire to go near the snake.

Station 2 had fresh shed skin for the scent. Kora needed one correction here and then wanted to get away from it. Station 3 was a noisy adult rattler in a rock. Kora needed no correction here and kept away from it. For the final test, they put an adult rattler in between me and Kora, a distance apart. As I call her to come to me, they want to see if she will go around the snake to get to me (versus going right over it). She does. She has no desire to go near it. Success!

I saw the effect with my own eyes and I know that without the training, Kora would have gone right up to a snake on first encounter. Now I believe that she will think twice. The handler said that Border Collie mixes typically learn pretty quickly. Kora went to the training with her boyfriend, Oscar. Oscar, a Cuvac, only needed a level 2 correction and picked it up very quickly. Now Christy (Oscar’s mom) and I can do our off-leash hikes with less worry!

The trainers recommend doing the training once a year for 3 to 4 years in a row. They say the memory lasts 8 months to 18 months. I plan to go again next year.

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Can dogs smell illness?

I’ve heard about dogs who can smell illness and I’m wondering if Kora is one of them. My neighbor, Brenda, has advanced cancer and Kora goes ballistic around her. Brenda is a dog-friendly person (she has a dog herself), but anytime Kora and I go near her, Kora barks uncontrollably. It’s not a friendly bark, either. She won’t quiet down no matter what I do. Even if I’m 6 feet or more away, Kora barks, barks, barks.

Today, I went over to a friend’s house to get something from her. Kora has met my friend previously, and there was no issue. My friend’s husband is very sick right now and he was at the house. When my friend opened the door, Kora went into her crazy dog mode, barking uncontrollably. My friend tried to give her a carrot, and Kora just kept barking. The bark is threatening, it’s not a friendly bark.

It’s very embarrassing to have a dog that kicks you while you’re already down. When people are sick, you want to show them kindness not meanness. Has anyone experienced anything like this? I’m thinking of hiring our dog trainer and having her witness Kora in these instances to help me in these situations because I’m at a loss as to what to do other than to leave.

It’s frustrating to have an unpredictable dog because I feel like I have to be on high alert all the time. Kora is an angel about 95% of the time, but 5% of the time she will meanly bark at someone and I just have no idea why. I don’t think she would ever bite someone, but she does get aggressive enough that people are scared by her.

Any and all help and insights appreciated.

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Dental Chews

Do you give dental chews to your dog? This article certainly makes the case for Mercola brand. Since I’m not brushing Kora’s teeth, I like the idea of at least giving her a dental chew which vet Dr. Becker at Mercola says is a good second choice.

If you do give your dog dental chews, what brand do you give? How often?

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Ssssssssnakes!

I’ve done very little research on this topic, so I’m just throwing this out for discussion. It would have never even crossed my mind so thank goodness for fellow dog owners. I do take Kora off-leash a lot and I understand from my cop friend that in high season, they get a lot of calls about dogs being bitten by rattlesnakes. Given that Kora likes to wander off the trails and stick her nose into everything, I fear that she may be more likely than other dogs to encounter a snake.

My friends, Vinny and Tracy, get a vaccine for their dog to help against a snake bite. My friend Bev suggested a Rattlesnake Aversion Training. This training uses a low-level electronic correction collar when the dog comes in contact with the scent and sound of a rattlesnake. One friend was concerned with the shock element since her dog is sensitive. I have never used shock training for Kora. A friend even gave us an electric fence to keep her from jumping over our 6 foot fence, but we decided against it. However, I do feel like the threat of rattlesnakes may justify the shock training.

When I asked the instructor what he knew about the vaccine, he said:

“I’m told the vaccine is about $20, and is about 30% effective at buying the dog some time to get to the vets office, and it also usually requires less anti-venom for the dog. Less anti-venom=less $$. Of course the smaller the dog, the higher the risk of serious injury. Usually what happens is the dog gets curious, walks up to the snake, smells it and gets bit in the face. This leads to a swollen airway, and they can suffocate. If they are bitten anywhere other than the face, most of the time they will live through it. Of course they will have swelling and possibly necrosis (dead tissue) around the bite area, but unless the venom is injected directed into a vein or artery, which is extremely unlikely, the dog should do fine.”

Have you had any experience with snake training, vaccines, or bites? Chime in and let us know.

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Dirty Dog Contest

Okay, bring it on! Let’s see photos of your dogs at their dirtiest! Here are two photos of Kora after a day at the park. There is a mud puddle that Kora knows exactly where it is. She now heads straight for it as soon as we go to the park. She plops right in it. The other dogs are curious and huddle around, but she is the only one that dives right in.

Let’s see your dirty dog photos. Post them on Border Crazy Facebook Page.

Fun in the mud puddle

Mud dipped Kora

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