Thursday, September 27, 2007

What's The Deal With Hip Dysplasia?

I had a very informative conversation yesterday with a person with two Corgis about hip dysplasia. I've read a bit about it over the course of my research, but before yesterday I never took the time to really learn about it and what effect it could have on my Corgi puppy. The person I spoke with told me that one of her Corgis has hip dysplasia (even though his parents tested good), and after surgery for it, he forever has a limp (but no pain luckily). Unfortunately, this is a common problem in Corgis because of how they're built. It's genetically passed, but if the parents have it, that doesn't mean the puppies will have it, and just because the parents are clear, that doesn't mean your puppy will be. It's kind of a gamble, but your odds are significantly better if you make sure you're getting a puppy from a line that isn't known to have it. Try and find information on the grandparents if you can as well.

A great resource is the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. It offers lots of information on what hip dysplasia is, when to test for it, and what the results of those tests mean. If your breeder has gotten their dogs tested, all you need is their name or registration number, and you can view the results. Just use the quick search text box in the top right corner.

When I did the search I discovered that my puppy daddy was tested when he was 12 months old and tested "preliminary mild". To understand what the different results mean, check out the explanation here. "Mild" sounded pretty serious! A preliminary test is done when the dog is too young, and its hips aren't fully developed yet. What I read worried me, so I asked my breeder about it right away, and I think what I got back from her was a very honest answer.

She said my puppy daddy showed luxation in hips, which is very common in Corgis, and there was no sign of hip dysplasia, just a more relaxed hip joint. This is basically what the OFA website stated as the meaning of "mild" as well. She also added that the vet commented that he wished my puppy daddy had shallow hip sockets, but he had great muscle tone and connective tissue. The thing that really put my mind at ease was the part where she told me that of all the ~25 puppies she's had, none have had hip problems that came up. Does this mean it won't come up with my puppy? Of course not. But it means that my breeder isn't knowingly breeding puppies that have a high chance of having hip dysplasia. I know that whichever breeder I choose isn't going to be a 100% guarantee of no problems, but I can at least make sure I'm purchasing a puppy from an ethical breeder, which thankfully, I still think I am.

PS: This is one of the reasons that it's so important to not let your Corgi get overweight. Their bodies are not designed to handle the extra weight, and the stress ends up being concentrated on their back and hips, the main areas where Corgis have problems. Everything I've read says that if you can see your Corgi's rib bones, s/he's underweight. If you slide your hands over their ribs, you should be able to feel them, if you can't, s/he's overweight. Also, the breed standard calls for your Corgi to be about 25-30 pounds (remember females tend to be smaller and weigh less than the males), so if you're beyond that you may want to talk to your vet, s/he may just be big boned.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Video Of The Week: 4

Since I was all about Cavachons this week, I decided to make the breed the subject of my video of the week. Check out Sammee, the cute little fluffball running around:

My favorite part is when the dude running around stops to tighten his belt. Heh, no actually it's the part at the end where Sammee, tuckered out from his run, just plops down, finished with the game. What a cutie!

And for a bonus, here's Sammee playing around, being cute, and chasing his own tail.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Breaking Down Food Ingredients

Click on the picture for a readable size. This is a "good" and "bad" comparison chart for dog food ingredients. I think the side by side comparison, for example the chicken meal vs. poultry by-products, was very helpful.

Right now I'm thinking that I'd like to do mostly home-cooked food for my puppy, but incorporate some human-quality dry kibble in as well. This will help keep puppy's teeth clean, and will be a good compliment to the food I'll be giving. Thus, I'm in the process of researching good dog food brands. I'll post a comprehensive list of the companies that sound up to snuff.

Another reason to research human-quality food companies, even if you are doing home cooked meals, is for treats and supplements as well. As much as I'd like to make my own dog treats, I'm guessing that I'll be a bit time constrained, and buying them at least occasionally will be far easier. And dogs need vitamins, just like people. I'd rather get them from a company that has the same philosophy on canine nutrition that I do.

Labeling Your Crate For Travel

A few months ago I found someone detailing out their step by step instructions for labeling a dog's plastic crate for traveling. It was really a cute idea, and I'm bummed I can't find it again, but at least I remember their stylish suggestion. You can find the instructions here.

Basically you get some thick paper and make a stencil. The person made a stencil that had her dog's name and a paw print on either side (very cute). She then taped the stencil to the crate, and then colored over the stencil with a Sharpie. That's it! Voila, one stylish crate! And it actually looked clean and fun. I'm definitely doing it to my dog's crate when the time comes.

Update: I found it! Go figure. I search Google for an hour prior to this post and find nothing. I search Google for 2 minutes after writing this post and I find it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

This Breed Sounds Great!

Ok, I did a little reading up on the Cavachon (ok, like 5 minutes of looking at pictures and a couple of breeder websites), and this breed looks awesome!

First off, how cute are they?

Second, they sound really sweet. From my preliminary research, they are basically loving lap dogs. They don't bark and they are most likely hypo-allergenic. What's not to like? Well we'll see next month, I guess.

Which Breed Sounds Good?

Alright, Spectater, which of these breeds, if any, sound like one you'd like me to look into?

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel -- These dogs are small and adapt well to their surroundings. They are friendly, and want lots of love and companionship. They're in the toy group.

Cavapoo -- The breed above mixed with a poodle.

Cockapoo -- This is a cross between Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. Cocker Spaniels are supposed to have a bad temperament, partly because they're so inbred. That's just what I've heard. If you wanted one of these, I would get to know the temperament of the parents (and past litters if possible) to make sure you know what you're getting.

Even better might be a Cavachon, which is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mixed with a Bichon Frise. The Bichon Frise also has the hypo-allergenic fur, and from what I've read, I think I would prefer their temperament to a poodle's.

Ok, I just got completely overwhelmed by all the breeds out there. I came up with 4 by only looking at Spaniels. I would suggest first, taking this breed quiz, second, crossing off the list given after the quiz all the breeds you know you don't want (based on size, temperament, looks, etc.), including any breeds within the hybrids suggested, then third, giving me the list to hack down further. That at least can give you some idea of where to start. Since you're not planning to get a dog for a long time, that gives you plenty of time to leisurely hunt around for a good breed. It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the breeds out there, so these quizzes help narrow it down (there are other websites with similar questionnaires). If there's a type of dog you tend towards (like I tended towards the Spaniel just now), let me know that too.

Or, you know, just get a labrodoodle or goldendoodle and be done with it. ;p

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Want This: Puppy Packs

Amanda, the woman who is responsible for the blog with all the adorable pug pictures, just started a business selling gift packs for dogs and cats, and they are so cute! There's one for bringing home a new puppy that is totally adorable. They are a bit pricey, but all that stuff can really add up. I'll have to do some price comparing, but if it adds up, I'll definitely be picking one up for my new little guy. I hope the business does well, that way maybe she can expand the product line and add some more color options. Anyone want to get me one for Christmas? ;p

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Can I Have A Dog Treat Too?

Since I'm planning on feeding my puppy a home-cooked diet, would it be weird if I ate my dog's food too? I just saw a recipe for pumpkin biscotti cookies, and they sound delicious! I would probably substitute whole wheat flour for the all-purpose, but other than that, I'll bet they're pretty darn good. Would my puppy get mad at me if it saw me eating his/her treats? *sheepish grin*

Breed Of The Month: Miniature Schnauzer

**Disclaimer: All of my Breed of the Month posts consist of information that I have collected from sources on the internet. It is the result of just a few hours of researching (per breed), not an entire month's worth. Nothing I say is gospel, it's just what I've read or inferred from what I've read (the inferred parts consist of an "I think", or something along those lines). If you have a different opinion than what I state, or just want to add something, please feel free to post in the comments section.

The Miniature Schnauzer is part of the Terrier group. Terrier dogs were bred for killing vermin (ew!), which explains why they're all over the place. I wouldn't be surprised if this meant terriers were more prone to digging as well. The group is also known for their comical and energetic personality. Since terriers were bred to chase vermin, they are good at things like catch and frisbee, but it also means they're more likely to chase after passing squirrels or other dogs. Keep a handle on your puppy when you're out of your house until you get a sense of if s/he's likely to run off.

First words to describe this breed is energetic (read: hyper!), but also sweet, loving, and humans. They can be dog-aggressive, so make sure you socialize this dog early and often, and make sure your dog doesn't decide to pick on a dog twice its size! They are ok indoor dogs, but they also have healthy (read: heavy) exercise requirements. Only get one of these guys if you're committed to giving him/her a long (can be shorter if brisker) walk everyday and lots of play, otherwise you'll likely wind up with a crazy, neurotic dog. A leisurely stroll won't cut it, you need to let this dog run around. Also, they gain weight easily, so watch what s/he eats, and give plenty of opportunities for exercise. Obesity is very unhealthy for dogs, as it increases the strain on their joints, hips, and backs, sometimes causing a much shorter lifespan.

They are described as a good watchdog, but be careful, this is sometimes code for they are big barkers! Make sure you read up on how to train your dog not to bark unnecessarily. When I say unnecessarily, I mean that if someone rings the doorbell your dog most likely will bark. That's ok (to me anyway), but when you show that the guest is welcome, your dog should no longer keep barking. They are obedient, intelligent, and want to please you; all good things. They are good family dogs, and want to be with you all the time. They are small, but not a toy breed. If you get this breed, definitely get him/her some obedience training. It sounds like this dog can make a really great family pet, but only if you teach him/her how to live with you. The obedience training is also good for dogs because it makes them feel like they have a job. With Corgis, this helps satisfy their herding instinct. With Mini Schnauzers, this will probably help satisfy their constant need for attention and play.

In terms of health, this is a pretty sturdy breed. They are prone to the same genetic eye problems that most breeds have, so make sure you check with your breeder that their dogs have been tested for this, or at least that they don't know of it popping up in their line. I've also read about kidney stones, liver disease, cysts, diabetes, skin disorders, and von Willebrand's disease (this is similar to anemia, it's not usually a serious issue, just something to be aware of). Do a quick google search if you want more information.

Make sure you check out the parents of the puppy. You can check for skin disorders, and also for temperament. They vary a lot from dog to dog, but the parents are likely to be a close temperament to your puppy. I read that there isn't a big difference in temperament and behavior between males and females, and that the personalities of the parents are better indicators than sex of what your dog will be like.

This is a breed with heavier grooming requirements. You have to comb them daily or their fur will get matted, though if you suffer from allergies, combing may be recommended anyway. Since they don't shed, that means their fur needs to be trimmed every so often. In terms of looks, they are small, but sturdy. Since their fur needs to be shaved, they can pretty much look however you want. The standard is to leave the fur on the face (like a beard!) and legs long, and short on the body. This breed normally has their tails docked, though I don't think their tail is full size naturally (three quarter tail?). If you're against tail docking, make sure you ask prospective breeders if they will forgo it for your puppy.

Schnoodle - the Miniature Schnauzer, according to, was bred as a cross between the standard schnauzer, affenpinscher, and perhaps the poodle. If this is true, it makes sense to me that there wouldn't be a huge different between a Schnauzer and a Schnoodle (in terms of hypoallergenic-ness). As with all hybrids, you can't pick and choose the qualities you get from each breed. Will it be hypoallergenic? Probably. Will it be a schnauzer in every other sense? No. If it's a standard poodle mix, it'll be larger, perhaps more independent. If it's a mini poodle mix, it might be more neurotic and hyper. I really don't see the point of a schnoodle. The schnauzer already doesn't shed, and is recommended for people with allergies. I recommend interacting with a few schnauzers to get a sense of your sinus' sensitivity to the breed before you go with a hybrid.

Even more trendy than the hybrid breeds are the "toy/teacup" breeds. The standard for the Mini Schnauzer is something like a 12 inch height minimum. But, of course, you can most likely get them smaller than your hand if you go to the right breeder. I wouldn't recommend the tea cup style puppy because it's against the standard of the breed, and I think the whole big SUV/small puppy trend is gross. By definition, a good breeder will not purposefully breed dogs that are not of the breed standard, since a good breeder is in the business of breeding for the betterment of the breed.

Bottom line: this dog with be as good as you let it. If you cram one in your house while you're at work all day, and don't give him/her enough exercise when you get home, you're probably going to end up with a crazy dog you have trouble living with. This dog needs and wants to be part of the family. If you spend the time to play with and train your schnauzer, you can expect to great companion and member of the family. I've heard them described as cuddly, but I would imagine you have to give them their walk first to get some of their energy out before they'll settle down with you. If you already own a dog, or there are dogs living very close by, this may not be the breed for you, unless you're willing to spend the time to socialize the puppy when it's young. If you want a dog that will sit at your feet while you watch tv all night, this may not be the breed for you. Schnauzers are energetic, and want lots of attention and playtime. Overall, they sound fairly well rounded. If you don't mind exercising, playing with, and training your mini schnauzer, you'll get the reward of a loyal, obedient, and loving companion.

Up next month: Pugs! -- Unless I hear a request for a different breed.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Video Of The Week: 3

More Corgi puppies! I love watching puppies play together.

And it's better they play-bite each other than me. Ouch! ;)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

To Tulsa, Or Not To Tulsa?

The breeder for my yet-to-exist PWC puppy is located about 30 miles outside Tulsa, Oklahoma. Originally the plan was to have her choose a puppy for me based on a "want/don't want" list of qualities that I've given her. I figured she would know the puppies far better than me, and would be better to choose a puppy that suits me. I never planned on making a trip to Tulsa, thinking it was too far, and it wasn't really necessary.

That was in the beginning. Now I've been thinking a lot about it, and I'm starting to change my mind. What if the breeder sends me the lamest puppy because she wants to get rid of it? Ok, probably not, since she's only been responsible and kind so far. But what if she just doesn't get what I want? What if she sends me the puppy I asked for, but we just don't bond like I might have with a different puppy? The more I think about it, the more I feel like I need to go there and choose.

Am I just being paranoid, or am I crazy for even thinking of not going? Even just to stay overnight, it's going to cost a pretty penny. I did some calculations today, and assuming airfare costs don't go up anytime soon, it'll cost me about $600 to fly out and stay there for the weekend (which is actually more than the puppy itself costs!). I'd also be going alone, since Husband isn't willing to pay for both of us to fly out there. I keep thinking, what if I go there and choose a puppy that is all wrong for me? But then I think, what if I go there and find the perfect puppy? I read stories about people bonding with a certain puppy of the litter, and end up having a perfect partnership. I want that!

What should I do? Would you let a breeder choose a puppy for you?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Book Review: Welsh Corgis: Pembroke And Cardigan

My latest read is Richard Beauchamp's Welsh Corgis: Pembroke and Cardigan (Complete Pet Owner's Manuals). It was definitely a step up from the last Corgi-specific book I read. Again, it didn't have a lot about what makes Corgis unique (which is what I was hoping to find from these books), but there was so much good general information that it made up for it, and there were a few useful snippets about Corgi behavior.

This book is fairly short (only about 120 pages), it covers the usual bases like feeding, grooming, housebreaking, etc., and it has dozens for amazing pictures of adorable Corgis. As you can tell from the title, the book covers both breeds of Corgi (Pembroke and Cardigan), and actually spends a little time covering the minor differences between them. Other than the obvious physical differences, and the fact they were bred in different areas of Wales, Cardigans tend to have a more calm, friendliness to them, while Pembrokes are more bold.

This book, like the last I reviewed, tried to do too much, but it did what it did better, I think. There was information in this book I didn't already know, and while it was all interesting, it wasn't all necessary. The end of the book covers how to breed Corgis, which I don't think should have been brought up at all. It was interesting to read, but I would hope anyone looking to actually breed Corgis would find much more in depth information from difference resources than this book.

The book did have some interesting and very detailed information on health, specifically vaccinations and parasites. It not only explained all the different parasites that plague dogs, but also what they look like. Eww! It also detailed the different vaccines that puppies need and why they are needed.

I would recommend this book for someone who is thinking of getting a Corgi, but mostly for people who have never had a dog before and haven't done much research yet. It's a good starting point for getting an idea of what own a dog entails.

What I learned (or confirmed) about Corgis, they are friendly and devoted. They want to be with you all the time. They need something to do, so if you don't live on a farm, it'd be good to do some classes: obedience, agility, herding, conformation, etc. They are small, but they don't know it. They won't back down from a fight with another dog, which I think makes them pretty fearless. They will rule your house, they will rule the dog park, they will rule anything and everything you let them. They won't be content to just curl up at your feet every night, so be prepared to play!

New Update: Added My Current Reading List

I added a section that has all the books I'm currently reading/plan to read called "In My Reading Queue". I've said it before, the library is such a great resource when researching this stuff! I went online, found the books on doggie nutrition I wanted to read, found them on my library's online catalog, and added them to my request list. The library will send the books to my local branch, and I'll get an email notice when they're ready for pickup. So easy!

Of course, I'll attempt to review these books as I read them. I've been reading them so slowly, and I've been so busy, I haven't kept on top of it as well as I should have. Hopefully I'll be posting my latest review tonight! *fingers crossed*

If you've read any of the books you see in my queue, please don't hesitate to let me know how they are, good or bad. I'm going solely off of random references, what I've found just perusing, and instinct. I'd rather not waste my time with a good that's useless, or put a good book at the bottom of the stack.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Video Of The Week: Bonus!

While I was on YouTube, I decided to search for "Corgi puppy" and see if anything new and interesting came up. I lucked out and happened upon the cutest mess of Cardigans torturing a poor defenseless cat. See the herding instinct at work!

I love seeing the white tips of their tails flying around.

Video Of The Week: 2

In honor of the September "Breed of the Month", I give you Miniature Schnauzer puppies!

I like the part at the end when the puppies are trying to jump on the couch. They're so cute!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Doggy Septic Tank

Check out the future of doggy waste. It's a septic tank for your dog! They are sold at Petsmart, and the design is ingenious! How it works is you dig a hole in your backyard, and drop in the Doggie Dooley. When your puppy poops, scoop up the turd and drop it in the tank (foot operated). The enzymes in the tank break down the poop, where it then drains out of the whole in the bottom of the tank and dissolves into the surrounding soil. It's good for your soil and eliminates the smell. And it's only about $35!

My trash can smelled so bad after just a weekend's worth of doggy poop, I think this definitely could be worth checking out!

Courtesy of The Food Bowl.

Update: I know my housing association would never allow it, but how awesome would it be to put a couple of these in your front yard, that way people walked their dogs by your house, they could drop in their dog's poop and you would get a nicely fertilized front lawn? Talk about recycling!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Vets Agree: Buy Commercial Dog Food Or Your Dog Will Die

I found this article very interesting...and not in a good way. I find this to be a good example of why the attitude of "a vet said it, so it must be true" is dangerous. This vet claims that commercial dog foods are the only way to give your dog a balanced diet. Canine nutrition is so complicated the average person couldn't possiblly figure out how to handle it on their own.

So then how did wild dogs stay healthy before humans came along to overly process their food for them? How did they manage to perfectly balance their requirements for meat, carbohydrates, fats, and minerals? And if we can't keep a dog healthy with a nutritious diet, how do we keep ourselves healthy? Don't humans too have requirements for protein, carbs, minerals, vitamins, etc.? Maybe Iams should expand to people food as well.

I think the only thing in this article that makes any sense are the comments at the end calling this lady out for selling out to dog food companies.

The "Never feed your pets..." list mostly consists of food that give indigestion, nothing worse. In fact, the only things on there that cause anything worse than indigestion is chocolate, onions, and raisins, at least from what I've read. I've read dogs can't digest milk very well, but that cheese and yogurt are actually a good source of calcium for them. And while onion is bad for dogs, some garlic can be beneficial. This list is very misleading and I've found a ton of sources that contradict half of the items on it. My personal favorite is number 15: Moldy Foods. What does she think is in commercial dog food?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Video Of The Week: 1

We'll see if I can make this a weekly thing. My work blocks YouTube, so I'll have to find the time when I'm at home. But there's lots of cute videos on Corgis out there, so I think it will be a fun thing. If I run out of material I can always expand it to non-Corgis.

To start us off, here is a video of someone trimming a Corgi's nails. It sounds boring and mundane, but it's hypnotizing, and the adorable puppy playing in the foreground really spices it up.

Considering Corgis are known for not liking their feet touched, that little guy is mellow, not to mention cute!

New Take On The Corgi

I saw this quote on someone's blog, and thought it was cute:

"Humans love to refer to corgis as 'big dogs in a small dog body.' This is terribly wrong. Papillions are big dogs in a small dog body. Corgis are big dogs with no legs. If one jumps on you, you will know this is true. Knock off the 'small dog' stuff!"--Laughing Dog Press


Update: Since this was brought up in the comments, here is the article that quote is based on. I love it!

Monday, September 3, 2007

I Spent The Weekend With A Dog

This weekend was heaven. My Husband's parents came to visit with their shepherd/lab mix, Mickey. He is very old, so it was sad to see him to run down (his back leg shakes, he can't sit down, and he pants like a pervert). But he's still the same cute, happy puppy I first met years ago. I loved having him in the house all weekend. Husband's Dad commented to me "This is what you have to look forward to." when Mickey was asking to be let in, then out, then in, then out, etc. I know I'm ready for a dog because I was so excited to be spending time with him, I didn't care that I had to keep getting up to go to the door.

Dear my puppy's mamma,

please go into heat soon, so I won't have to wait so long to get my puppy!

Thank you.


Sunday, September 2, 2007

Book Review: The Pembroke Welsh Corgi : An Owner's Guide To A Happy Healthy Pet

Probably the biggest inconvenience with the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, is that they are not a trendy breed. There is virtually nothing written for this breed, and from what I've seen, the books that are out there aren't very good.

The main problem I had with this book is that it didn't feel like a book specific to the breed. It was a short book, and a lot of it focused on training. The pictures that went along with the training explanations weren't even Corgis!

The book starts off with information specific to the Corgi, but it's information that 10 minutes on the internet can give you just as easily. It gives the general appearance and temperament of the breed, and information on the origin of the breed. There is some good information on living with a Corgi, but the section is less than 10 pages, so it still leaves something to be desired.

The next chapters in the book cover raising, feeding, and grooming your Corgi. It's pretty good information, but again, it's nothing that's Corgi specific. The chapter that had a lot of good information was the chapter on health. It covered vaccinations that are needed and why, pests like fleas and ticks, and general care. Still nothing Corgi, specific though.

The last third of the book covers the training I mentioned above. It's basically a waste of time compared to other books out there, or even the internet. Overall, there is some good information in this book, but I wouldn't recommend it. There's nothing in this book you couldn't find elsewhere, and after reading this book I don't feel like I know much more about Corgis.