“Do Not Hit My Dog!”

Okay, I’m a bit riled up right now and need to vent. Today I took Kora to the dog park. It’s not an official dog park, but neighbors in the area of this large park get together every day at 4:30pm to let their dogs play. It’s been going on for months and we just started going a few weeks ago.

The great thing about this dog play time is that you get to know the dogs who show up. It’s usually anywhere from 5 to 10 dogs. Today, Kora and I were the first ones there. A little dog, Sadie, a chihuahua, showed up next. Typically it is medium to larger dogs that have been there. I’ve never seen Sadie there before. A third dog, Mischa, a regular, showed up next. Mischa, a medium-sized dog, started to get into it with Sadie. Mischa’s owner was still walking over and I went over to try to break it up, but I wasn’t about to get my hand in front of a dog going at it with another dog since I don’t know Mischa well. Finally Mischa’s owner came over and the fight was broken up. Sadie was fine and the owners took her away.

Shortly thereafter, after a few other dogs arrived, Mischa and Kora (my baby) were in rough play. It was nothing to the extent of Mischa and Sadie and although I was headed over to break it up, I wasn’t concerned for either dog’s safety like I had been for Sadie. Bill, owner of Lilly, had a Chuck It stick. He hit Kora and Mischa with it to break them up. In my opinion, Bill hit Kora pretty hard with it. Fast forward to a few minutes later when Buddy the beagle shows up and Mischa goes after poor buddy – again, pretty hard. Finally, Mischa’s owner decides today is not a good day for the dog park and takes Mischa away. Clearly Mischa is the common denominator in these altercations.

So, as soon as Bill hit Kora, my mom instincts kicked in. I told him, “Do NOT hit my dog.” I said that I did not think it was warranted with how they were playing at that point. I can understand if it was a real altercation like with Mischa and the other dogs. And, I can understand if you want to hit the aggressor, but I don’t feel that Kora deserved to be hit. I don’t hit Kora like that. Ever. Bill then asks me if I have kids. I lie and say “yes”, somehow thinking that if I say “no” it will prove his point in some way. He then asks if I spank my kids at which point I say we don’t need to discuss this any further. He takes this to mean I don’t spank my kids and goes on about how it’s important to spank kids. He later talks about how dumb dogs are.

I keep repeating, “Do NOT hit my dog. If that is how you treat your dog, that’s your business, but do not hit my dog.” Finally Bill stops trying to engage with me and we leave it at that. Kora enjoys the remainder of the hour at the dog park, as does his dog Lilly. The tension is in the air, but I’m not having Kora miss out on her promised play time!

Have you ever had trouble at a dog park? Do you think I was wrong to react the way I did? I know I was coming from a place of emotion and surprise. I do think that if it’s a situation where the dogs are hurting each other, it’s okay to intervene. But, this was not anywhere close to that, in my opinion.

Thanks for letting me vent. Thoughts? Experiences? I think maybe I was more traumatized by the event than Kora. I need to go breathe and snuggle with my now-tired baby girl.

Posted in Uncategorized | 22 Comments

Rub-a-dub-dub

Today’s topic is bath time! How do you wash your dog? Do you bathe your dog in the tub? Shower? Hose? Professional? How often?

Some people I talk to say they take their dog in the bath/shower with them. Most who take their dogs in the shower or bath have a hand-held shower nozzle. Someone I met at the dog park yesterday said they fill up the bath tub with water and use a cup to get the soap off. My friend, Tracy, has her dog groomed monthly by a mobile groomer. I tried this once for Kora when we first got her, but it’s pretty pricey. It cost us $75 for dog wash, blow dry, and teeth brushing – and that was a discounted rate as a first time customer.

We also tried taking Kora to the self-serve pet wash at our local pet store, Pet Food Express. This cost us $15 and is nice because it’s warm water and the shampoo comes right out of the hose. However, Kora did not like being there. Most dogs were being bathed in the tubs. We had to do Kora on the ground. Our friends told us it was a one-person job and easy to do. My husband and I had trouble doing it as a two person job!

We don’t have a hand-held shower nozzle and Kora might be too big for tub time (plus my husband isn’t really keen on the idea of indoor bathing), so we go for the outside hose method. We’ve felt bad about bathing Kora in the winter because the water is cold, so today we figured out how to get her warm water. My husband connected the hot water heater to the spigot out front, and voila – warm water! Hard to say whether Kora appreciated it since bath time is not her favorite, but we felt better.

Because Kora loves to get dirty (not a surprise with daily off-leash hikes and dog park dates), Kora does get bathed fairly often. I think in the summer we will be able to bathe her less frequently because she won’t get as muddy. For info on what shampoo product and wipes I use, read Dirty, Clean, Dirty, Clean. Repeat. Kora gets a shampoo bath probably every 3 weeks, a water-only bath weekly, and a sponge bath (wet towel or wipes) daily.

How do you wash your dog? How often?

Bath time

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Flying Ace

Who doesn’t smile at seeing a dog’s face out a car window? Kora loves to ride with her face blowing in the wind. I wasn’t sure if I should let her, but I see a lot of dogs riding this way, so it seemed okay.

Last week, Kora had an eye infection. She could barely keep her eye open and it was oozing green stuff. I took her to the vet who prescribed streroid/antibiotic drops for a week. She said that one of the possibilities for the severe conjunctivitis could be riding with her head out the window because it dries her eyes out. I don’t know if this is the cause or not for Kora. The vet said it could also be allergies. As I’m doing research, I see that dogs with allergies that have eye irritations also chew their feet. Kora does have a tendency to chew her feet!

Nonetheless, for now, I’m not letting Kora drive with her face out the window. It makes sense that it may not be in her best interest due to particles getting in her eyes as well as drying them out. As much as she enjoys it, it’s closed windows for now.

Do you let your dog drive with her/his face out the window? Have you had any issues?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Licensing

Here’s an example of starting from ground zero of being a dog owner. I had no idea that I needed to get a license for Kora. I was walking with my friends, Tracy and Vinny, the other day and noticed that their dog Darla had a lot of tags on her collar. That’s when I found out about licensing.

In the county I live, Contra Costa County, dogs must be licensed. You are supposed to get it within 30 days of acquisition of getting a dog. Woops! It’s been over five months that I’ve had Kora. If you live in the area, you can find the information here.

Be sure to check your local area and find out if you need to license your dog. It is beneficial for you and your dog to get a license in case your dog gets lost. This way, she will be on file with the county and they can contact you. Also, the county will know that she has been properly vaccinated since you must show proof to get registered.

Does your county require dog licensing?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Those Pearly Whites

How often (if ever) do you brush your dog’s teeth? I met a woman yesterday who said she brushed her dog’s teeth daily. She said he liked the taste of peanut butter toothpaste. I haven’t brushed Kora’s teeth yet. In the five months that I’ve had her, she got them brushed once when I had her professionally washed. She chews a lot on bones, so her teeth are in good shape so far.

I’m used to being a cat owner where it is next to impossible to brush your cat’s teeth. I know dogs are more amenable to such things.

Chime in and let us know how often you brush your dog’s teeth. Any tricks of the trade to share?

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Border Collie, English Shepherd, Or ?

What kind of dog is Kora? She was originally listed as an Australian Shepherd mix on Petfinder which is how she came to be mine. I was narrowing down the many dogs on the site by searching for “Australian Shepherd”. At the time, Kora’s name was Heidi. My friend, Christy, said that I should have a name for Kora sooner rather than later so Christy found the Australian aboriginal name, Kora, which means “companion” (connecting her name to her supposed Australian Shepherd heritage).

Two vets independently determined Kora as an Australian Shepherd mix. But as we got out into the world more and more, everyone else seemed to think she was some sort of Border Collie mix. The more I looked into Border Collies (temperaments and looks), I agreed. People thought maybe she got her golden color by having some Golden Retriever in her. For the past five months that I’ve had her, I’ve been saying she’s a Border Collie/Golden Retriever mix. However, I just read online today that if a Border Collie mixes with a Golden Retriever, the pups will be black not gold.

Fellow dog owner, Michelle Murray, put me on the path of thinking Kora could be an Australian Red (aka Golden or Yellow) Border Collie. Michelle found Border Crazy Mom online and said that she had a dog that looked just like Kora. Her dog Charlie does have an uncanny resemblance to Kora. As I was looking into Australian Red Border Collies, I also came across Clear Sable English Shepherds. Kora looks a lot like them too.

Click on the links below and let me know what breed you think Kora is.

Australian Red (or Yellow) Border Collie – Goose, the golden border collie, sure does look a lot like Kora!

Another site for Yellow Border Collie

Clear Sable English Shepherd – Scroll down and look on the left below “Conformation and Colouring”. That dog sure does look a lot like Kora too.

If we had known Kora wasn’t Australian Shepherd, she’d likely have a different name. And, if it turns out she is English Shepherd and not Border Collie, this blog would not be called Border Crazy Mom! Help us solve the mystery.

Border Collie or English Shepherd or ?

Posted in Uncategorized | 23 Comments

Seat belt or Not?

When we were first buying all of the dog accessories back in August, we bought a harness for the car that attaches to the seat belt to keep Kora in place. We haven’t tried it yet. She just sits in the backseat (happily so).

Where does your dog ride in the car? Do you keep her harnessed in? I feel like it’s the right thing to do. I mean it’s the law for human passengers. I hate seeing dogs unrestrained in the back of pickup trucks. Is it that much better that I have her in a car but unrestrained? There is no risk of her falling out of the car, but if there is an accident, she is not going to fare well.

Chime in and let us know what you do.

Update: March 14, 2012

Okay, so we finally tried her car harness that we bought almost 7 months ago. Fortunately it still fits her even though she is 12 pounds larger now. We have the Bergan Travel Harness. It is a harness that goes through her front legs and around – similar to the walking harness we use daily. The top part attaches to a strap that is secured to the seat belt buckle. Bergan says that the strap should be short enough so that the dog is not able to roam around or fall into the floor boards. It was long enough for Kora to lie down comfortably, as shown in the photo above.

For our first ride, Kora just stayed in this position. I’m no longer leaving the car window open (See Flying Ace), so when we drive, Kora now stands on all four legs with her head hovering over the front passenger seat. I like it better with her lying down like this. If I had to break suddenly, Kora would be jolted to the front a little, but she would not fly through the windshield. Putting on the travel harness is one extra step, but I think it’s worth it. Personally, I think it should be mandatory to restrain animals in a car, whether in a crate or harness. If it’s mandatory for humans, it should be mandatory for pets. Why is it any different?

I don’t know if I’ll be tempted to go without the harness on short, non-freeway drives, but I’m hoping it just becomes habit for me like putting on my belt has become. Remember the early days of mandatory seat belts and it felt strange to wear a seat belt? Now I feel naked without it! If I do Kora’s belt enough times, maybe it will simply become part of the routine.

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments