Shiny white teeth…

March 19, 2008

One of my friends (a Pom person) asked me recently how I got Lizzie to tolerate me messing with her mouth so much- she’s the only dog in her handling class of the table breeds that allows the teacher acting as ‘judge’ to really mess with her mouth, and this lead into a discussion about dental care (Lizzie figures any time you touch her mouth, she’s about to get TOOTH PASTE. Dog toothpaste is, as far as I can tell, liver-flavored baking soda. It smells foul and dogs love it. UGH.)

Although food companies like to tout the abrasive teeth-cleaning properties of kibbles, most kibbles are full of carbs (sugars) and not actually all that abrasive to teeth. While chewing does dislodge food particles to some extent, try eating grapenuts and see how much it really does to clean your teeth! Then imagine a diet of nothing but grapenuts for years on end. In the wild, wolves (and feral dogs) die when their teeth get bad. Luckily, eating bones and hair *does* do a fair bit to keep teeth clean. So providing chew things- raw bones are best, rawhides and booda bones, nylabones, and greenies are okay too- helps, but doesn’t totally prevent teeth from needing help to stay clean.

The real truth is that good nutrition and general vet care (combined with kibble) means that more dogs outlive their teeth all the time- so senior teeth cleaning is in MOST dogs’ future. Brushing their teeth a couple times a week can prevent this- but most of us aren’t as diligent as we should be about this.

Small breeds- mittelspitz among them- and brachycephalic breeds (bostons, Frenchies, etc) are especially prone to dental problems. They’ve typically got largeish teeth crammed into less space than other dogs with more moderate structure, and (especially in the case of the toys), they’ve often got teeth that are VERY shallowly rooted, which means that infections in the gums can move into the bones of the jaw scarily fast. From my reading, spitz aren’t prone to this any more than any other small or medium breed- but I want to make sure Lizzie’s got nice sharp white teeth as long as possible. 😛

Mal, on the other hand, would like her defanged. She plays dirty when they wrestle….

*Edited to fix an error- I originally wrote this to address a specific person. 😛


Crufts, 2008

March 15, 2008

Crufts has been over for just over a week and people are still talking about the German Spitz (Mittel) results for this year. A beautiful cream dog, CH DRUITZ CORNCRACKER FOR TEAMSPITZ JW SHCM, won the breed and made the cut in the group (a first for the breed), but an American Eskimo Dog, AM/POL CH HOWLINGROCS SEXN THE CITY, won 4th in the Open Dog class.

In the past, American Eskimos have been recognized as German Spitz by FCI under the understanding that this was the American name for the breed. However, AKC has accepted the German Spitz itself into the Foundation Stock Service- which would imply the breeds are NOT the same. The breed standards have distinct differences (eye shape and foot shape are directly contradictory, the shape of the skull and proportion of muzzle to skull are different, and of course there’s the color issue) and a dog that is correct for one shouldn’t be able to achieve a championship under the other. Complaints have been filed with the KC and FCI has been approached about recognizing the Eskie as it’s own breed. The whole thing is a big mess- but a very interesting one.

Living in Texas, Crufts is half a world away- I’m very glad for the internet, as I can’t imagine having been a breed fancier of a such an uncommon breed in the days before email! 🙂 I’m hoping to attend Crufts next year- if I’ve got any British readers, got any tips?

Not quite dead yet!

March 15, 2008

We’re still here! Really! The blog has taken a back seat to some real life stuff, but plans to make it more active are coming soon.

Lizzie’s first handling class & general training notes

February 11, 2008

Took Lizzie to her first handling (ringcraft) class at Top Dog on Thursday. She was a little star on the table and she free-stacks beautifully. Next week, my friend Lindsay will hopefully be there with her camera. We’ve got some work to do on the gaiting, though- Lizzie prefers to LEAP instead of trot.

It’s been a busy few weeks. 🙂 Last weekend, we went down to visit a friend and her Belgian Sheepdog, Destry, south of San Antonio. Lizzie was enthralled with Destry and would very much liked to have brought him home with us. (I think Elaine would have been upset, though. :P) I’ll add a photo here when I get the one she took. 🙂

Lizzie is making great progress on her obedience and agility training.  Heeling is coming along nicely (still strongly lured), fronts are progressing. Sit and down are solid, but sit needs to improve, speed-wise. Targeting is perfect, and she’s learning ‘wave’ as a trick, just for fun. She’s a TON of fun, and I hope to get her into some NADAC agility events as soon as she’s eligable next year.

Lizzie’s Loot

January 29, 2008

It’s not the best part of dog shows but it’s definately in the top 5: SHOPPING. If it’s dog related, SOME dog show vendor will probably carry it. So here’s the list of what made it’s way home with us from the Rose City Classic

  • A pair of undies for Lizzie for when she’s in season (Black with metallic multi-colored butterflies. Much cooler than the ruffly kind they have at the pet supply store.)
  • A pink camo hoodie for Lizzie (because she was REALLY cold in the wind- she’s hitting that hairless 5 month old stage) and it makes her look like a little thug. AWWW. I thought about buying her one of the ‘blanket’ style coats that aren’t so cutesy, but they were $20 more than the cheapy sweatshirt that she really doesn’t need down here- but will make a cute costume.
  • A dumbbell (properly sized- she CAN steal, carry and retrieve Malcolm’s, but it’s the size of her body and she really needs a properly sized one) This one is still a TINY bit big but by the time she’s grown, it shouldn’t be.
  • “Competitive Obedience For Small Dogs” by Barbara Cecil (and someone else) – recommended by Pom person and obedience judge on Front & Finish, Barbara McClausky (whose black and tan UDX Pom made me fall in love with spitz and competitive obedience in a single show)
  • A pink plushie sheep (actually, Lizzie stole this- it was on the floor having fallen out of a bin and she picked it up while I was paying for the dumbbell and tried to carry it off. So it had to come along too.)
  • A purple and black faux-fleece braided tug
  • (Not for Lizzie) a new martingale collar for Malcolm, my smooth collie. It’s black with silver-and-blue pirate emblems (skull and crossbones) on it. It’s VERY dashing. (I also picked up martingales for my friends Lindsay (for her new service dog in training, a dalmatian named Caden) and Martha (whose greyhound Nike is Mal’s best dogpark buddy. Martha’s other dog is a papillon named Monarch who is Lizzie’s dogpark boyfriend.) Caden’s is red with off-white Celtic griffins on it and Nike’s is dark green with tan tribal patterns on it.
  • Purple show slip-lead for Lizzie
  • Pink Pirate collar and leash for Lizzie – okay, so she already had two collars, a solid purple one and a magnta, tan, and rose one- but this one was TOO cute to pass up. It’s pink, with a dog skull w/ eyepatch and crossed bones. Pink is definately her color. (And I am not normally a pink person.)
  • Pink leash for Emily’s dog Traum. (Traum is a boy but he’s kind of feminine. So I bought this leash for her because she was hemming and hawing ovr buying it for herself. It’s hot pink and in black cutesy letters says “One of us is a bitch!”- totally made us giggle. They also had one that said “One of us has no balls!” and “One of us loves big sticks!”)
  • Chews – I bought a couple of different kinds of chews for the dogs to work on while they hung out at the booth

I think that’s everything… 😛 I also bought an ungodly amount of Starbucks while I was there. 🙂

Oregon Trip Report

January 29, 2008

The longer blog post all about my Oregon trip- as promised!

Lizzie and I left on Tuesday evening (1/15/08) for Portland, about a 3.5 hour flight from Dallas. We flew American and it was GREAT- the evening flight (departing at 9:25) was fairly empty and I had a row to myself. Lizzie is small enough to ride in an under-seat carrier (and probably will remain so)- there was a (very oversized) Silky Terrier on the row ahead of us who was 14″ and probably 25 pounds. BIG boy. Lizzie did GREAT getting through the airport and was slept through most of the flight- I woke her up about 2 hours in and gave her some ice cubes to munch on- I knew she was thirsty (and hungry) but we still had a way to go.) She was THRILLED to see the grass when we landed- I headed straight out to the pickup area as soon as we got off the plane, then circled back in to pick up my checked baggage. My friend Emily met me with her daughter, Dea, and Cardigans Traum and Galaxy in tow.

Emily’s been a friend of mine for almost 7 years- my corgi Indy is the same age as her Traum and weEmmy & Galaxy in the ring got involved in the breed at the same time. Galaxy is her 9 month old puppy and was being shown for the second time at the Rose City Classic- one of the specialties is a Supported Entry for the national breed club- so there was TOUGH competition on all the days. The Rose City Classic is a HUGE dog show- 5 days of shows including some 20-odd breed specialties, obedience, agility, and rally competition. It’s filmed to be aired on Animal Planet every year and the group ring is huge and very plush because of that. (Photo to the left is Emmy showing Galaxy on Friday in the v. swanky ring!)

Because Rose City is so big, there are TONS of spectators and it’s a very big deal show to vend at. There are 60-odd vendors selling everything from dog show supplies like leashes and treats to toys, crates, kennel flooring, every manner of grooming tool, and most importantly for us, gifty things for dog lovers. Emily is a fellow artisan and does DARLING dog breed pins sculpted out of polymer clay. When I started making my pendants, we’d talked about vending together at this show, but the waiting list was REALLY long. We got on the waiting list in October of 2006, just after my first art show, and were told it would probably take us 4-5 years to actually make it to the invitation stage. On December 27th, we got a call- they’d had a space open up, were we interested in vending? HECK YEAH! So we scrambled and I painted like a mad thing for 3 weeks to get enough inventory for the show! We recruited two of Emily’s friends- fellow sculptor Amy and general crafty-lady Marion, who makes super-yummy homemade doggy treats, scarves, and checkbook covers. Read the rest of this entry »


January 23, 2008

Lizzie and I are back from a trip to Oregon for the Rose City Classic Dog show. Lizzie was featured in the blog of the Oregonian Newspaper on Sunday for their “Guess the breeds” quiz (and a picture of my artwork was featured on the next day :))

More about the trip later- I’m totally jetlagged. Had planned to update from the show via wifi but it turned out not to work in our building!

ETA: Lizzie (and me) can be see on the OregonLive Pets Blog in their Meet the Breeds quiz- not a good photo of us but hey! It’s still cool! (My artwork also got featured on the next day’s entry here – the budget arty pendant. 🙂 )