Sunday, September 27, 2009

My spoilt brat

I had my mosquito netting fixed up this weekend. I was finally going to have a mosquito-free night and wake up to the sound of bird outside my window.

So, I was in bed with my fan on and the windows wide opened for the first time. It was slightly warm tho... and my boy became whiny and restless. so, tit-tit...and the air con came on...and all was well for the night.

Tonight, determined not to concede to another night of closed windows and air-con, the fan was turned up a notch. In minutes of plonking into bed, the boy was perched on my bedside wanting to go outside. Out he went. Soon, he came in again. Walked about the room trying to find a cool spot to sleep...but couldn't. Poor thing...

So, tit-tit...the air con is turned on for yet another night.

Friday, September 25, 2009

what the *toot* *toot*

I read a question on my American dog forum today....

I know you are not supposed to force run a lab before age 2 or so. What is everyone's advice about picking up the pace of the walk to a run for 100 yds or so and then resuming the brisk walk? My boy is 13 months old. I strongly suspect he has a good bit of growing left to do as his Dad was significantly larger. I DEFINITELY don't want to put excess strain on his growing joints, but we could both definitely benefit from a little sprint now and then. Your thoughts?

we are talking about the long term health of the dogs here. Yes, it is a decision each owner will have to make balancing both sides of the issue but it is important they KNOW the health issues it can cause.

I definitely see your point, I guess the difference for me is that when they are running free, it's under their control how hard, how fast, and when to stop but when they are on lead it's not and the fear is you may push them to do more than their bodies can handle.

I dunno .. I never run with my dogs even when their growth plates are closed, so don't have any advice on way or the other.

Is this the reason why my boy looks like this evertime we reach our running stretch? Lately, he literally lies down and refuses to budge at the starting point.

I thought maybe the road was hot or something. Each time, I stick my hand on the road to check the temperature before we start. All this while, I thought he was just plain lazy.

Have i advanced his hip dysplasia? *gulp*

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rainy days and Mondays

....always brings FROGS to the garden.

Last week got off with a good start. The boy dilligently slept indoors when it was bedtime. By the end of the week, nightly rain made it cooler outside. So, he decided to sleep outside. It doesn't end there though.... I have a faint feeling that he wants me to camp out with him...HAHA..

Every night without fail, he will start with his whines and then pace around the bed. If that doesn't work....he will bark and bark. If that doesn't work, he will half-climb on the bed and start to play-bite on my feet until I get up.

Once again, like many moons ago, he has come back to the phase of wanting my company outside as he jump around with the frogs in the garden.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Those were the days

On days when my boy looks a bit scruffy (like today), I reminisce his glow and silky touch after his grooming session. I guess it's like coming home from your hairdresser. You look good until you wash your hair and you can't re-create the same look on your own. Darn!

Photo on 23 August 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Longest Week of the Year

Our daycare center was left unmanned for 3 days this week. After all the excitement from the furkids' weekend, things came to a total standstill in dog's terms. Ruki was home alone on guard dog duties from sun up to sun down. So every morning, my boy had this dreaded look as he waited outside my bathroom as I got ready for work (well, he too had to get ready for duty!).

Every evening, he stuck to us like glue when we got home. Poor boy. Luckily, his solitary confinement time ended and he was back to his normal self again at the end of the week.

Photo on 9 September 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Meet the children and Ruki's first love

Today, Ruki made his first therapy visit to El Shaddai in Old Klang Road. The shelter houses 20-over kids (I think) from 4 to 17 years. He did a splendid job with the children and fell for a basset hound in the process.

The day didn't exactly start out all that exciting. Look at his sulky face. I think he was looking forward to a laid-back sunday.

But, things picked up as soon as we got there. The kids were totally unafraid of the dogs. They took to my boy like fish to water.

Just then, Ruki saw her...

It love at first sight or rather..sniff. He became more interested in the girl dog than anyone else in the party. So, for the rest of the time, we were all on hump-prevention mode.

The children were all eager to handle the dogs themselves. I was worried at first because Ruki is really strong. I can hardly hold on to him myself. But soon, the children got a hand of things....

The kids seem well loved and doing well in school. I spoke to their caretaker. The children are not only orpahsn...some were either abandoned or abused or come from poor families. The Shelter is sponsored by Mercedes Benz Malaysia. So, it's good to hear that their expenses are largely taken care of. The oldest child is 17 and will be sitting for her SPM this year. She will likely enter into a program with the company to study to become a teacher or a nurse. The boy (below left) is Muthukumar or Joseph. He is 13 years old and took an instant liking to Ruki. He knew quite a bit about dog breeds and asked how big is a bulldog and a doberman. He wants to have a large breed dog when he grows up. Below right is El Shaddai's wonder boy. He's really talkative and outgoing. He's brilliant in math and apparently is tackling math three levels more advanced than his age. According to the caretaker, he's Mercedes star resident.

Ruki had a great time and was totally exhausted from the outing. I think he'll be having hush puppy dreams for the next few days...hahahaha... >:)

After his nap, he was back to his good old self again. All ready to go for his evening walk.

Photos on 6 Sept 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

In Pursuit of Happyness

As my boy turns one, I can't help but wonder what does he want to be when he grows up. Search and rescue dog? he's good with sniff the grounds but still can't find me hiding behind the door in the dark or maybe a gun dog? special assistance dog?

Oh well, I've decided to start him on some therapy dog training just to see whether he enjoys it. Just want him to be happy. Que sara sara...whatever will be, will be....ok maybe, it's me and my competitive mum syndrome...hahaha..

Here are the Therapy Dog International (TDI) testing requirements... *gulp*

Test 1: Accepting a Friendly Stranger
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The Evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness, and must not break position or try to go to the Evaluator.

The dog must be tested around medical equipment (such as a wheelchair, crutches, cane, walker, or other devices which would ordinarily be found in a facility) to judge the dog’s reactions to common health care equipment. At the discretion of the Evaluator, this part of the test may be included in any of the following tests: 2,3,5 or 9

Test 2: Sitting Politely for Petting
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. The dog should sit at the handler’s side as the Evaluator approaches and begins to pet the dog on the head and body only. The dog may stand in place to accept petting. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

Test 3: Appearance and Grooming
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit a stranger, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner’s care, concern and sense of responsibility. The Evaluator inspects the dog, then combs or brushes the dog, and lightly examines the ears and each front foot.

Test 4: Out For a Walk
(Walking on a Loose Leash)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog can be on either side of the handler, whichever the handler prefers. There must be a left turn, a right turn and an about turn, with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops.

Test 5: Walking Through a Crowd
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers, without appearing overexuberant, shy or resentful. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not be straining at the leash.

Test 6: Sit and Down on Command/Staying in Place
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler’s command to sit and down, and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to make the dog sit and then down. When instructed by the Evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of a 20-foot line. The dog must remain in place, but may change positions.

Test 7: Coming when Called
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell the dog to “stay” or “wait,” or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog as the Evaluator provides mild distraction (e.g., petting).

Test 8: Reaction to Another Dog
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 10 yards, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 5 yards. The dogs should show no more than a casual interest in each other.

Test 9: Reactions to Distractions
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations, such as the dropping of a large book or a jogger running in front of the dog. The dog may express a natural interest and curiosity and/or appear slightly startled, but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness or bark.

Leave-It: The handler with the dog on a loose leash walks past food on the ground (placed within a distance of three feet) and, upon command, the dog should ignore the food. (Please note: TDI does not permit the use of food/treats during actual therapy dog visits.)

Acclimation to Infirmities: This test demonstrates the dog’s confidence when exposed to people walking with an uneven gait, shuffling, breathing heavily, coughing, wheezing or other distractions which may be encountered in a facility.

Test 10: Supervised Separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain its training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and then take hold of the dog’s leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness.

Test 11: Say Hello
The TDI Certified Evaluator will test the willingness of each dog to visit a person and that the dog can be made readily accessible for petting (i.e., small dogs can be placed on a person’s lap or can be held, medium and larger dogs can sit on a chair or stand close to the patient to be easily reached.)

The dog must be able to work well around all types of populations, including children. The dog's behavior around children must be evaluated during testing. It is important that during the testing the potential therapy dog and the children are not in direct contact. This means the dog can only be observed for a reaction toward playing, running or in general children present at the testing site. Any negative reaction by the dog will result in automatic failure. Negative reaction means a dog showing signs of aggression.

Additional Rules for TDI Testing
Dogs must be tested on a plain buckle collar or harness. Training collars, training harnesses, halties, or any other corrective devices are not permitted during testing or visiting as a TDI registered Therapy Dog.


Photo taken on 23 Aug 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The thinking dog

It's always amuses me when I watch Haruki making important decisions.

He stand momentarily frozen. Then, his brows start to rise from one eye to the other...and back again. Thinking....thinking...You can tell he's weighing his options rather than basing on his pure animal instincts.

Today, my mum reports that like clockwork, Ruki waits diligently at the foot of the staircase for my dad to awake from his nap. Everytime, my mum goes to the kitchen he follows her in hoping that his dinner is coming. A moment later, he dashes out to sit by the staircase again to continue waiting. My mum walked in and out of the kitchen a few time more over the hour. Each time, he follows her in for a second then dashes out to sit by the stairs.

So when dad finally comes down, mum pesters him to take him out. Then dad said it's almost his dinner time...and that he was very confident that Ruki would rather have his dinner than go for a walk. So, he said...see who he follows. Off went mum into the kitchen and Dad the opposite direction towards the front door.

*pregnant pause* then, thinking..thinking...

He zips beside my dad to go outside for his walk. This shows that my boy is not always motivated by food.

so, smelly sock or delicious treat?

well, it big the treat is.

Photo taken on 23 Aug 2009