Let’s me honest. When you own a puppy, stuff is going to happen. It’s just a matter of time - I don’t care how on the ball you are, an accident is going to happen. Aiding potty training is fully and properly cleaning where the accident happened. So how do you deal with it? Sprays are pretty much 100% ineffective on their own regardless of how fancy they claim to be. You gotta get up what got put down. Using a sponge or a stack of paper towels is much like putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound. Sure, you’ll feel like you did something, but really far too little to actually be effective. Your patient, er ah your carpet, is about to flatline (have an odor pretty much forever). You really need to invest in a carpet cleaner. If cash is tight, one of the handheld units is better than the old school paper towel routine you may be used to. At least these have the ability to suction stuff up, and then pull clean water and/or cleaning fluid through the carpet. However, I used one of these portable units for years because I didn’t want to invest in an upright cleaner, and I was sure it did a good job. What a mistake! About six years ago I saw the light. I bought a Bissell ProHeat Pet Pro Cleaner - the new ones are even better - and I now wonder how I ever thought the portable unit was even effective. What makes is so much better? Break out your best Tim Allen, or if you are a Top Gear fan, Jeremy Clarkson, impersonation. Raw Power. Lots and lots of power. You can pull the accident wetness out and make the carpet nearly dry, then set about cleaning it by cycling ample amounts of water and cleaner through the affected area. The final suction run will pull all the remaining wetness out of the carpet, even out of the padding. Most have a hand attachment, and most have much less power than the main cleaner, but still much more than a portable unit. Even once pup is potty trained, accidents happen, or they may get sick…who knows you may even have a major spill of your own. In the end your nose will always appreciate the purchase.
Here is another nice video from Standing Stone Kennels and something you are likely to have to deal with if you do a lot of back country hiking, and/or upland bird hunting like us. Last year we spent over eighty three days afield hunting, and easily as many just out hiking. We had two Q-Pine incidents, just in 2018. Ethan does a pretty good job here and I'd like to add a couple of pointers to help you get your dog through this. First if it's a fairly minor incident like one one captured in the video, by all means, do your best to calm the dog and get those quills out. I keep a pair of spring loaded leatherman pliers on me additionally my hunting vest has a pair of hemostats on board just for the purpose of grabbing quills. You really cannot pull quills with your fingers, but you can use your teeth! I only advocate the use of your teeth if you are either crazy, or you dog is ultra-calm. If you have a helper, like in this video, have them help calm the dog - it will feed off of the anxiety - so breath deep and chill. Even more importantly, have your buddy do their best to keep quill impacted skin puller tight. As you remove quills the skin will be able to slide against the dogs body normally, this is the high-risk time when broken quills can and will pull through and go under the skin - this is a trip to the veterinarian. Ethan does a really nice job giving his dog an good exam, which is just perfect. If your dog has really been hammered by Ol' Porky - disregard all of this, and get him (or her) the the vet as sedation is most likely going to be necessary.
There are, I suppose, three primary ways to breed a female. 1) Put a female in heat and a male together and just let Mother Nature run it's course. This works pretty well for strays, I am assuming here, and many "backyard breeders". 2) The Old School way: put them together on days 10, 12, and 14. This too has worked for many breeders for many years, but not all females ovulate at this point in their cycle and using this method can result in small litters or missed breedings all together. 3) Use progesterone testing. This is the only method which scientifically quantifies when and what is actually happening in the female's body, which tells the breeder what to expect and when to expect it. As you may have guessed, we use option three: Progesterone Testing.
Why is this important? We have two main factors involved. Egg and Sperm viability. Some females "run fast" and ovulate before day 10. Some "run slow" and ovulate well after day 10. The canine egg takes forty-eight to sixty hours after ovulation to be ready for conception, and remains viable for up to three days. In total from ovulation you have about five days to get the job done. So knowing when the window of opportunity is open is absolutely key. In particular, when you know it takes Sperm time to capacitate and they too have a finite window of viability. Generally, sperm can be expected to be viable in the female up to seven days for a live mating. For chilled and frozen semen the timeline is much tighter with sperm viability being around 24 hours for chilled and only 12 hours for frozen.
Like two ships at sea wishing to exchange passengers while remaining in motion, there is an optimal time for this to happen, the further we get away from the optimal window of opportunity the lower the odds of success. As you might imagine, just like the passenger exchange. Too early, not all of them will make it, too late you get the same effect, but for different reasons. In the sweet spot as many that could make it will. So having everything in place at the right time really matters.
Paxson will soon be thirteen years old. He is surprisingly healthy, but his rear-end just isn't really with the program so much. So we took Paxson Double Barrel Ranch so he could get some action, and Booker was brought along for back up - as we were pretty much counting on the fact Paxson couldn't make the whole hunt. Also, we brought young Robert, my four and a half year old son, for his first pheasant hunt. All in all, a good time was had.
Just so we are all on the same sheet of music, I found the classic graphic I believe most "pointer people" can agree on to define the various "levels" of steadiness.. The further to the right, the "higher" the level of steadiness.
In the world of pointing dogs this can be quite the debate. In Real World hunting situations, with all of the people I have hunted with and all the different dogs I have had the opportunity to hunt over I have heard a lot of things, mostly yelling, cussing, copious whistle bleating and even witnessed a tantrum or two over dog performance for one thing or another. The one thing I never heard a peep over is a guy complaining his dog was too steady.. Let that soak in for a quick minute. Hell, I'm guilty of this. Please allow me to digress...it is my blog after all...In fact my first real bird dog from puppy is Paxson. I thought knew a lot about dog training already, read a half dozen books on Bird Dog training - man I got this, I thought. I was living in New Mexico at the time, and The Poof was about eighteen months old. He spent his first year and change living in Amstenrade, The Netherlands and had only seen a few pheasant and Grey Partridge when I took him out for walks in the South Limburger countryside.... Back to New Mexico. It was a banner year for Scaled quail, the coveys out on the mesa where epic - hundreds of birds, just in a single covey! It didn't take long and Paxson began to point naturally, doing an amazing job really. People have paid more to trainers and got less - just saying and since I thought I knew so much I allowed Paxson to be hunted with my dear friend's yellow Lab, Drake. I love Jim, and I really thought the world of Drake, but he was no pointing dog! True to type, he'd blaze on in and the quail would fly. Soon this became a competition for Paxson and turned into a behavior I have never been able to completely rein in. I learned I couldn't hunt him with another dog and so Paxson, despite being an amazing bird dog, has never had his talents showcased to anyone wanting to run their own dog during the same hunt.
Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) in dogs can be caused by a range of things, from serious illnesses such as cancer or other underlying health disorders. But more commonly, the condition can be induced by fasting a dog or in this case hunting. Hunting requires a lot from a dog. I have written about the mileages recorded by the GPS collars worn by my dogs being upwards of 36 miles in a single day. Most upland birds do not live in conditions which mirror pan flat parking lots. They do live in some incredibly rugged country. Can you imagine running a marathon in Hell’s Canyon? Not running the shore line, but up and down while busting through thickets of dense brush repeatedly the whole day. Working dogs are extreme athletes with incredible energy demands! Because of this exercise induced Hypoglycemia is something we need to be aware of.
I wrote not so long ago about the need for quality veterinary care for the older dog. Like people, as dogs age some of their systems just don’t work as smoothly as they once did. When in doubt get with your Vet and have them run those panels and observe your dog. Know what is going on so you know how to spot an onset of Hypoglycemia and how to manage it. Well, as you might have guessed, I have an older dog who is susceptible to Hypoglycemia.
When Hypoglycemia strikes, typically it will come on quickly and the sooner you can recognize and acknowledge what is going on the easier the episode will be on your dog. The most common symptoms to look for are: extreme lethargy, muscle twitches, possible loss of appetite (this can make recovering the dog super challenging), trembling, loss of coordination, unusual behavior, blindness, and unconsciousness. Please note, this list is far from being all inclusive of all symptoms a dog can display when Hypoglycemia presents itself.
In my case Booker, ten and a half years old now, goes from a hard charging bird finding machine, still capable of covering twenty miles in a day, rather abruptly. From hero to a dog who appears lost, confused, lightly trembling, and uncoordinated. It happens fast and to be frank it can be scary. Worst of all, it’s not entirely predictable other than after a good chunk of intense and prolonged activity the odds of an episode increase.
Once an episode is underway and detected, what you need to do is: Step 1: Stop doing whatever you are doing and get yourself and the dog to a safe area as quickly as practical. Step 2: You have to raise the dog’s blood sugar levels as quickly as possible. Hunters I know use energy gels used by human endurance athletes, they are cheap, small, easy to find and full of maltodextrin. Some use packets of honey. I prefer using pouches of soft dog food, as they pack much more than sugar… If you don’t have any of those options readily at hand, what do you have? How far are you from being able to have something – time is of the essence? Get what you have into your dog! Step 3: “If you were able to feed your dog” Just wait. See if they will take water. Encourage them to sit or lay down. Help them to remain calm. In a few minutes they should perk back up and become themselves again. Step 3: “If you have nothing to give your dog” my friend, you are in a jam. You need to get something into your dog immediately, and you need to be prepared to carry your dog out. He cannot afford expend any more energy. Good luck! Step 4: monitor your dog, don’t be afraid to feed him a small amount again in a little while.
If your dog has gone unconscious, you have a high order emergency on your hand and irreversible permanent damage is likely to be happening to your dog. Time is of the essence. You really need to get to a veterinarian – any veterinarian immediately. The vet will most likely have to administer an intravenous cocktail of dextrose and other fluids to stabilize and save your dog.
Once you know that your dog is susceptible to Hypoglycemic episodes there are a few things you can do. Talk to your veterinarian, run those panels, and see what is going on. What your dog needs may not be what someone else’s dog needs. If your dog suffers from the exercise induced variety which I am mostly writing about, make sure your dog has eaten but has had time to settle before intense activities. Pack, gels and/or soft food packets and feed the dog well before an episode occurs. Be cautious about feeding gels indiscriminately! I feed Booker soft foods periodically during the day if I am out for a long period of time* this is a better strategy for the soft foods versus the gel packs. *This is subjective based on conditions: is it Cold? Wet? Super hilly? Deep cover? Some or all of those conditions? Etcetera... Feeding could begin only 2 hours in, easier conditions 3 or 4…
There is an abundance of mythology and folk lore surrounding what constitutes a good dog food. Modern marketing strategies take advantage of this by leveraging our biases, and ignorance. Most likely, just as you have done, I have looked over all dog food comparison websites in search of the most stars or dog bones a particular website will honor a kibble with. About eight years ago I found The Dog Food Project when I was living in Spain and this is where I learned most websites use flawed grading systems to honor kibble with stars or dog bones as they see fit. In short, effective marketing equals popularity. Popularity drives demand and demand drives price. Meaning popular doesn't mean better or more cost effective. So how do you avoid buying the Ol' Roy and Beneful's of the dog food world, which are considered by most experts to the worst dog food ever produced? Just as important, how to avoid the Gold Plated and Hyper-priced dog foods, like ZiwiPeak and K9 Natural that really aren't worth the extra money - in our case feeding those diets would cost us over $3,000 per month to feed our brood! We spend about $40 p/month to feed our five Drents.
Selecting a good dog food really comes down to a few things, and it requires some time and energy on your part. So here is what The Dog Food Project has taught me:
1) Understand the Label
2) Know what to Avoid
3) Recognize the good stuff
Now you know, not all of the "bad" ingredients aren't as bad as we have been "taught" and not all the "good" ingredients aren't as good as we have been "taught". You have the basics down, it is time to read some labels and make some choices. Has your dog shown sensitivity to an ingredient? Can you be sure it was actually the ingredient you think it was? The FDA recently published an article which strongly suggests grain-free diets are not what they are cracked to be are linked to certain health problems! What is your budget? How many dogs do you need to feed? What is their activity level? and so on. You will learn there are a number of very affordable high-quality kibbles hiding in plain sight.
and no, we aren't sponsored by Kirkland...I wish though...
But it is best to have it before you do! Conibear traps are out there, and in some of the damnedest places. Most of our Drents are too big for most of these deadly traps, but for young Drents and some females they are a real threat. Downloadable PDF guide HERE. Be safe and enjoy your time afield.
I'm just a guy suffering with an infatuation with gundogs since childhood. Forty some odd years later this is what you get.