It remains our responsibility to take care of the needs of our faithful 4-legged companions.  Regular meals of nutritious food and plenty of clean, fresh water are the minimum we owe our dogs.  It is also just as important for us to socialize them, exercise them, train them and most of all, give them affection.
Dog foods: which is the best for my dog?  There are so many good choices and tenfold opinion.  I just use the brand that my dad gives his dog (a major brand) and our 3 dogs do well with it. They always have a good report from our vet; my sister’s dog on the other hand could not tolerate our brand and had to try a few different brands before finding the right one for her dog.

Water is whole lot simpler; fresh, cold water served in good quality stainless steel bowl (which is easier to keep clean and sterilize).

Housing:  a simple solution is to house them indoors, give them a place to sleep and training to let you know when they need to go outside. Outside housing: either a fenced-in yard or a sturdy kennel with a kennel cover for shade and rain protection, with mesh sides.  Sun protection is especially necessary on the west side of the kennel during the summer months.  A dog house for sleeping and a fresh bowl of water and one for food completes the outside housing.

Training can be the hardest, but start early and stay with it.  The frustration a puppy can overwhelm you and test your patience, but consistency is the key to successful training.

Socialization can take a little more effort, especially if you fudged on the training.  A dog park, a hiking trail, a walk around the block, require some time and planning, but the benefits are tremendous, not just for my dog.  My doctor sent a text to our dogs telling them to get me walking around the block so I can get some much needed exercise too!

Affection is the easiest, so step away from the computer or the daily humdrum for a moment and hug your dog.  While you’re at it, hug your wife, kids, companion, friend or whoever is close to you.  Hugs are free and easily shared.

Dog Kennel Coop

Kennel Coop

Instant Chicken Coop

I get more and more customers, who are using a dog kennel to contain their pets; who ask if we have a cover for cats, chickens, ducks, or for their other pets.  Their main concern is keeping chickens in and dogs and hawks, which are the main daytime dangers, out.  Other predators such as raccoons, coyotes, opossums, weasels, owls, mink, and such are mainly out at night when the flocks are closed up safe and sound.
Any good quality dog pen chain-link or welded wire type is heavy enough to keep predators out.  The great thing about using a dog pen is: it is portable.  Unless you use netting on top you will still need to watch for hawks.  Use one our black mesh tarps http://tinyurl.com/45849jr straight across to keep climbing or flying critters out.  Then install an A-frame and put on a silver tarp http://tinyurl.com/4ulerue to help keep it dry and shady.  A steel A- frame with a tarp is easy to set up and take down and keeps the pen from getting so muddy when it rains while protecting the chickens, etc. from the rain.


Ticked Off

Spring-like rains are a blessing opposed to ice, sleet and snow of Old Man Winter.  I am thinking morel mushroom hunting is just around the corner. My faithful companion Isabelle, (Border collie) has gone with me in the past years and even when we don’t come home with mushrooms we seem to always come home with TICKS.  So, here is the old way to remove them and I’ve since learned a better new way for both me and Isabelle.

People who have been in tick-prone areas have taken steps to remove ticks by day’s end by placing their clothing straight into the washer to wash away any ticks that haven’t had time to become attached. If they find an attached tick, they also would: (Old Way)

* Use fine forceps or tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and use steady pressure to pull the tick slowly and straight up, away from the skin.  Be patient and do not twist or jerk.

* Save the tick in a closed container with alcohol. Label the container with the date.

* For 10 to 13 days, watch for such symptoms as headache, skin rash and/or fever. If these conditions appear, see a doctor immediately and take the tick with you.

I found this on the web some time ago by someone named Lebowski and finely had an opportunity to try it myself.

(New Way)

Rub the tick in a circular motion and pretend you’re trying to make the tick dizzy. Stick with one direction, clockwise or counter clockwise. It usually takes less than a minute, so if it’s not working, make sure the body of the tick is moving around. Remember you can’t get dizzy unless you’re actually moving in a circle, quickly.  They sure don’t like something about the movement and they crawl out on their own. Tick Off and squished!