Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wow, I haven't updated this for a long, long time.

So...how to bring y'all up to speed over a year or so of no updates (since the last post was basically just a huge rant).

I'll make a list, I like lists :).

1. Raw Food!

Samson is now on a 100% prey-model raw diet. Has been since late February or early March, I believe.

It requires a lot of preparation but it is worth it, and very affordable.  More expensive than kibble but I think it is vastly more healthy.  At absolute most, it costs me $2.50/day for me to feed him.  *I* can't even eat that cheaply.

The benefits have been wonderful.  The yard never requires cleaning, because his poops are small and crumble/deteriorate very quickly.  I attribute this to the fact that he is not being fed a lot of digestible...and non-bio-degradable products that are often found in even the highest-quality kibbles.  I haven't cleaned up the yard in months and it is quite clean.

The "doggy smell" is 100% gone.  He has not had a bath since April and you can still bury your nose in his fur and he smells nice.

The "doggy breath" is also gone.  His breath just smells...normal, I guess.

Coat quality has vastly improved.  It was a bit dry/flakey before.  I would say he even had a bit of a dandruff problem.  That is now gone as well and his fur is of a far higher quality.

Eye boogers are not 100% gone but there are definitely not so much as there once was.

He has not gotten any UTIs since the switch (he had two before the switch).

His teeth required scaling at about 10 months (it was done later at about...14 months, maybe?) due to a buildup of calc on his teeth from an all-kibble diet.  He has had ZERO buildup since the diet switch.

His appetite has improved, and he has also filled out more.  Getting him to eat was more of a chore on kibble, he never seemed to finish out his meals.

2.  Ear infection!

Yep.  He'd been acting very cranky, shaking his head a lot, etc.  I can't believe it took me this long to notice.  It cleared up pretty quickly though once I got him some meds.

3.  Training!

Samson has some fear issues with new people/places.  I don't believe this is because his genetics - it is all related to things I can trace back to where I failed with socialization.  There may be a bit of genetics in there from the LGD outcrosses (pyrenees and anatolian), since he is from an outcross line, but I'm more inclined to think that was me.  Hard to explain why...you just have to know Samson.  It also did not help that he had a VERY severe behavioral reaction to the rabies vaccine lasting about three months (yes, this is vet-confirmed, not owner-diagnosed)...right when he was starting to develop his protection drive (18-24 months).  I am currently seeing a trainer and Samson is improving by leaps and bounds to what appears to be far more close to his "genetic base."  He is still a wonderful dog around family but with new people in the house or strangers we have to give him a bit of time and space.

To leave off...one more picture of him and his new dinner :).  Every day brings a different combo!

I also added a mix of ground green tripe (80%) and ground trachea and gullet (20%) to the menu.  He has yet to try it because we just finished a 5-day stakeout over pork kidney (I was the victor :P).  He picked at the kidney for his last meal (stakeout ended two meals ago) but he did eat it.  Just one more kidney to go for this week and he can have some liver (which he LOOOOOOOVES).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More Samson pictures, developmental headaches.

 Samson is entering his second fear period now.  I guess this makes sense because he just got over his flight instinct period...which I didn't tolerate.  Maybe that's why it ended so soon :).  That link says they begin to lift their legs around the time they enter this period, and Samson has certainly been doing that (outdoors, of course!!!).  I actually didn't handle the first imprint period well, in terms of socializing with other dogs...and with respects to that, he's overcome that WONDERFULLY!  For instance, he used to be terrified of Jake, once even wet himself when Jake rolled him...now he gets so excited when I turn down the lane where Jake lives.  Other dogs he plays with just great as well.

  Anyway, it is taking a lot of patience on my end, but we are working through it, making sure that regardless of how he reacts...it is a GOOD experience.  I thought this didn't happen until after a year old, but it lasts anywhere from 6 to 14 months old, and can be longer in large breeds as it is tied to sexual maturity.  Things which he usually acted "aloof" towards are now scaring him.  I haven't kept up the same socialization schedule from when he was younger, either, so this might be partially my fault that he is being a bit more reactive than usual.  I just hammer home on training even harder, I figure if he has something to focus on, he'll worry less about "new people."

  Samson has never been overly excited about meeting new people - I knew this would be his nature before I got him.  He's generally aloof, really only cares about me, or his "other people."  Gives new people a sniff or two at most, a couple times he reacted in a way that I could call "excited," but fear is a new one.  I have every bit of confidence that if I keep working with him the way I have been, he will exit this period of his development just fine, and better off than he was before.  

  I suppose I should be exceptionally grateful that I haven't really had any significant issues with him before now...and relative to most dogs, this here isn't even a significant issue, it's just significant relative to HIM.  Samson has been absolutely wonderful to work with, incredibly easy to live with, very attentive to me, abundantly intelligent, and so easy to train.  I would barely even call this a "hiccup" when I consider what other dog owners talk about going through with their own.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Important note before I begin:  Do not confuse veganism with vegetarianism:  The two diets are worlds apart.  One is a very practical way to eat, fairly easily adopted.  The other is a political machine, and breeds pale-skinned twigs.

Incidentally, they also sparkle.

A small rant, here, now that the new pictures are up.  Okay, a bit of a large one, but I need to get this off my chest, because I'm at wit's end, here.  So, excuse the angry tone.  An unnamed dog-community I frequent online has convinced me that dog owners must be composed of the most idiotic people on the planet.  They scorn skeptical thought, believe anything thrown at them so long as it is already something they want to believe, and even condone animal abuse.  I'm honestly sick of it, my tolerance for idiocy only stretches so far.

You see this?

 Your dog is a carnivore.  Anyone attempting to prove otherwise is an idiot.  It's akin to trying to prove the sun rises in the west.  Yet there are people on this site who will fight hand-over fist to "prove" that dogs are omnivores, just so they can justify forcing their political vegan crap on their dog.  You know, the same diet that isn't even healthy for humans without heavy supplementation...humans, who actually ARE omnivores.  But, you know, it's okay when people do it, because we can choose to do that.  I may find the entire idea ridiculous, but hey, it isn't my call.  It's yours.  If you're really that offended by some video PETA made up, or some stupid blog you read on the internet, get a kibble manufactured from free-range animals.  (Yes, I know factory-farm conditions are quite terrible in some instances.  90% of the time you'll find vegans have absolutely no idea about this.  As usual, they are convinced by rhetoric and dogma, truth only stands in their way).  But, as I said, whatever:  You can choose this.  You can even choose to ignore your basic sensory input, and believe that humans are natural herbivores.  (Yes, believe it or not, there are people who believe that.  Heard everything, yet?).

Your dog, however, can't choose.  He doesn't give a crap about your willy-nilly morals, he doesn't live in human society, he is a meat-eating protein processing machine.  I have news for you:  Nature is ugly.  Get used to it.  Animals kill, maim, destroy, and eat each-other - and not usually in that order.  The most grotesque method of butchering is a hundred times more humane than the way nature works things out.

Anybody forcing their vegan ideals on their dog is committing animal abuse, and is of despicable moral character.  They shouldn't be allowed to own a dog.  Given how strongly linked veganism is with organizations like PETA or HSUS, I'm not surprised the people on those diets (with no supplementation, and even then, I am wary as to how well it can sustain life at a healthy level) are morons.  No fat or protein also stagnates the brain - your brain requires an enormous amount of calories not supplied by the caloric-ally sparse veggies that vegans dine on.  Higher mental thought stagnates, and it shows.  Panda bears are perfectly capable of eating meat (they are BEARS), but for some inexplicable reason they have chosen to eat only bamboo.  They spend almost all of their waking time foraging for massively in-efficient plant matter, and sleep the rest of the time.  We humans waste millions of dollars on breeding programs because they've bred themselves down so horribly that they don't even have sexual drive anymore.  They've been living vegan for years, and are sick of it.  They want to die.  Take that as a lesson.  (Intended as humorous commentary only, not a serious argument).

There isn't a single canid trait which lends itself to a herbivorous diet.  Your dog can live on it, you say?  Sure it can.  Dogs are opportunistic carnivores - able to survive off almost anything, in the absence of meat.  Does it make it right?  Um, no.

As for me, I don't want my dog to just live, I want him to thrive, and his biology screams that in order for that, he needs to have meat.

All this wouldn't bother me so much if the site administration didn't tolerate this abuse.  Although, I think it might be less that then the fact that they suckered money out of the vegan idiot, so they don't want to risk losing that cash.  I haven't paid a cent.

As far as the first two links go:  Look, the pet food industry can be really disgusting.  But there is absolutely zero logical thought behind the idea that Mr. Bigglesworth ends up in your next bag of dog chow.  There's plenty of disgusting and/or nutritionally dead ingredients in pet food without needing to invent more, and resort to flights of moronic fantasy.  Ann Martin fans, spouting off her book (Food Pets Die For) like it is biblical truth, don't care about reason or rational thought, however.  She tells them what they want to believe, and like gullible simpletons, they eat it right up.  I'm not talking about the people who read stuff like this, and simply believe it is true.  Anyway, that's natural and rational - read something from a source which sounds authoritative, and you're probably going to adopt it into your circle of beliefs (let's be honest, most of us don't go to great length to fact-check and look at sources).  But when confronted by rationality, you continue to repeat the same tired crap over and over again...that crosses the line from being misled, to being an idiot, finally winding up with nothing more than "Well, it's just my opinion, we're allowed that."

Sure you are.  But that's not a matter of opinion.  You're still wrong, you've just been finally backed into a corner and have nothing else to say.  Although not proof in and of itself, it is quite damning in its own right:  Ann Martin self-published her stupid book in '96, meaning that the public has been made aware of this for nearly fifteen years.  Why has not a single case of this ever been found?  Nobody has ever found dogs or cats winding up in pet food.  Ever.  Not once.

Funny she had to self-publish her book - you'd think every newspaper in the world would be grabbing at her, trying to get exclusive rights to the story if there were actually anything of substance to it.

As I said before, there are plenty of disgusting ingredients in some pet foods.  You don't need to make things up to make it worse.  Oh, but what is the harm in thinking they do?  Well, for one, you're believing post-melamine recall hype with no logical substance to the arguments, nor any physical evidence to support it.  That should concern you more than anything else.  But, as a lesser reason...if these pet food companies ever do have to answer for using low-quality ingredients, I don't want them to be able to shrug off all those "lesser" charges by easily dismissing flights of fantasy (pets winding up in pet food).

So, there you have it, harsh words.  But I had to vent, and maybe it's just evidence they've won that they got to me like this.  I should remain detached.  Why do idiots anger me so?  Reason is lost on some people, I should just leave it at that.

Long time, no see...

No lengthy post this time, just a few pictures from the last several months.  The last time our bathroom scales were able to weigh Samson correctly he was somewhere between 75 and 80lbs.  He is much heavier now, but I'm not sure as I've not been able to get him to the vet on their scales.

Samson loooooves to play with Jake.

He is also out of his lanky phase and is no longer referred to as "coyote" :P.  Very thick, especially up front.  Massive dog, and he's only 8 months.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Samson is now about five and a half months old.  At the vets, when he was precisely 5 months, he weighed 54lbs!!!  Today I weighed him and he was about sixty.  It is very hard to carry him anymore :).  I can still just barely manage it!

Flea/Tick season is in full swing, and it seems to be worse this year, probably because of all the torrential rain we've gotten lately.  I have found none on him yet, hopefully the K9 Advantix is working as advertised.  I did find one crawling on me however today, while I was sitting in the truck with him.  I am not sure where I picked it up as I have not been near any wooded areas for quite awhile.  Certainly not that morning, at any rate.  I am still checking him vigorously.

He recently started sleeping in his cage again, I think that has to do with the fact that it is the coldest part of my room :).  We are going to move my room down to the basement next month where it is much cooler and much more appropriate for a dog.  When my room gets too hot we have a baby gate set up to section off the laundry room and he sleeps there.

Today in under fifteen minutes I taught him what "shake left" and "shake right" means.  He doesn't get them 100% yet, but he does understand there is a difference, and he knows exactly what to do if I tell him that he got it wrong.  I have never had any problems teaching this dog to do tricks, he picks things up and understands them so quickly!  I think the reason he did not get shake left/shake right as fast this time is because there isn't a clear, distinct hand signal for each.  He is used to watching my hand for commands, not listening to my voice.  I could tell he had figured out that is precisely what he needed to do, though, sometimes I would stick my hand out, say "Shake Left!" and he would hesitate, shifting his weight back and forth, and I could see his brain churning, trying to figure out which paw to lift up.  This is a very different behavior from normal, as usually his right paw goes up immediately after he sits down, whether we have our hand out for a shake or not!  He loves doing shake!

Tomorrow I think I will head into the vet's to get a year's supply of heartworm pill, and four or five months worth of K9 Advantix.  Pricey, pricey, especially since he needs a new collar and probably another couple bags of dog food.  He is on a brand called "Taste of the Wild."  It is grain free and very meat-heavy.  More calcium than is appropriate with a growing large breed pup, but his bones are so much larger proportionate to his body size (compared to other similar breeds) that I worry more about too little calcium than too much.  He is growing at a very even rate anyhow, so it seems to be doing good for him.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Another Update!

Samson is doing great on obedience.  Just now I dangled a piece of MEAT in front of his nose, and he did NOT take it until I told him to "take it."  Good boy!

He and Jake are getting along great now.  Today they spent about 40 minutes in the truck together while I was draining diesel fuel out of an old tank in the basement of the farmhouse.  I was only supervising them about maybe 25-30 minutes of that time, and I wouldn't have really needed to watch them.  They didn't want to get out of the truck (door was open) and they got along great.  They love playing "bitey-face" with eachother which is very fun to watch :).

Yesterday Jake's breeder came down to visit Tim with Jake's (half-sister?) Guardian.  She is very sweet, very quiet, and Samson loved playing with her.  She was very protective of her food, however, hehe.  Samson is a bit aggressive in playing with bigger dogs, it's something I'll have to watch.  Now that he has learned that Jake won't ever hurt him (took quite a few interactions) he doesn't get mean, but I think he doesn't feel safe because of his size.  I'm not sure if it's just rough play or him being "mean" to look tougher.  Nobody gets hurt at all, though, and he's "friends" after all is said and done.  Samson is VERY excited to see Jake when I pull up to the farmhouse.

He lost 4 teeth yesterday, 2 molars when I tossed him a sock, he grabbed it, I pulled...and out came 2 molars.  Mom said she saw him chewing one up later on.  Then he lost an upper canine.  Today he lost his other upper canine, his last canine to lose.  It came out a bit early I suspect, I think it caught in something he was chewing on, because he bled quite a bit.  Blood all over the dining room floor =/.  He did not seem to be in any distress, however.  I have a toy in the shape of a bone that you soak in water and then freeze to help with teething.  It seems to make his mouth feel better - at the very least he enjoys chewing on it :).

Some weird formatting problem is messing with the alignment of the pictures, but oh well...not a big deal.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sorry, such a long time since an update, I know...well, here goes:

This is a story I wrote down from about a week ago.  Samson had been looking like maybe he wanted to try and solve "problems" himself, and I would much rather he look to ME to decide - and then act.  This event convinced me he is doing exactly that.

I went out into the garage this morning, like I do every morning, to get my boots on for work.  The garage door was open, usually he likes to run around inside the garage (if there are no cars in there, there was this morning), or on the cement in front of it in the sixty second it takes me to tie my boots.  This time he ran out, then right back in, and waited by me.  I didn't think this was too unusual as sometimes he does this, I think he just gets over-excited about the truck ride and forgets that I need boots to walk around outdoors, I can't (or don't want to, anyway) go barefoot, hehe.

Anyway, I walk out there with them, and about three feet away from me is a coon in the flower bed.  I think it had distemper, it was disoriented, and not acting right.  Anyway, it sort of lazily ambled off into the front yard, and Samson just stood up very straight and stared at it, but THANK GOD he did not charge in to investigate.  I said "Samson, Leave It!"  I am not sure if he heard me or not...I suppose it didn't matter too much in this case as it is not his nature to investigate something with his nose right in it.  He wanted to watch this "thing."  I quickly got him in the truck, ran back into the house, loaded the .22 semi-auto.  By that time it had slowly ran its way back into the woods, though I could still see it (especially with the scope) so I lined the rifle up and planted a round right between its front legs (it was staring right at me).  I'm not he best shot I'll admit, so I'm glad I made that shot.  Even if it was already sick, and even if it was a coon (I hate these pests!!!) I don't like to see them suffer.


Samson does play around a little bit with Jake, now, if they are indoors, and I'm there to make sure Jake doesn't get carried away.  He doesn't know how to play around any way except "rough."  He tries for Samson, but them Samson gets his courage up and plays rough, then Jake things..."oh boy, now I can REALLY play!"  He does not back away from Jake when he hops up on my lap in the truck (just his front end, I hold his collar to make sure he can't get in entirely).  Instead, he will bark, bat his nose, jump up on him, etc - I think he is telling Jake in no uncertain terms will he ever be the boss inside "his" truck!


He is coming along incredibly in obedience training.  He will now "stay" for someone when they turn their back, go around the corner and out of sight, etc.  We have even tried distractions in there - someone else saying come, etc.  When my mother told him to stay, >I< even told him to come (when I was between him and her, at that) - and he REALLY wanted to, he jerked forward, once even got to his feet, but still stayed put in the same spot, and waited for mom to say come - and he was waiting for that word, specifically.  I didn't imagine him being able to do this until much later, but it seems I always underestimate him and he always surprises me.