Happy HOWL-O-WEEN ! – Part 3, The Tricky Treats

Happy Howl-O-Ween!  Tonight is a lot of fun for people, but filled with some unique hazards for our beloved pets. This post will have a handy checklist of some of the scariest things to worry about for your dog (or cat) on Halloween and what to do about it if it comes up. 

A complete, REAL borzoi skeleton, seen at Nationals in Lawrence KS in 2016.                        Why? Because it’s Halloween, that’s why!

 

Rhett and Phantom both LOVED Halloween and couldn’t wait for it to begin!

Tricksters

“Hey Phantom – show ’em your game face! Grr!” People would remember him from year to year and ask to see his “smile.”

Not every dog loves Halloween.  It’s sad, but true.  For some, it’s nothing but a great time with snacks, excitement and friendly strangers, but for others? A nightmare of anxiety, potential hazards, opportunities to escape, and scary people wearing frightening costumes that make them look even scarier.

KNOW YOUR DOG. And take the appropriate precautions to give them the kind of safe, comfortable evening they need.  If this means kennel time away from the action, that’s what it means… if that means a Thundershirt and some anti-anxiety meds, that’s ok too.  Remember there are going to be lots of doors and gates left open, lots of strangers around – some of whom are guaranteed to NOT be dog savvy- and lots of chances for things to go wrong.  When in doubt, error on the side of caution.
Not every dog needs this kind of care.  Some just get over-excited, but are happy with the whole thing.  This can be a great once-in-a-year” kind of training opportunity, if you use it as such. Here’s a list of good things you can work on:

 

Rhett used to say, “I think they’re here! Can I answer the door?”
  • Leave It
  • Sit and Stay
  • Wait
  • Doorbell Desensitization
  • Greet Strangers
  • Trick Training – If you’ve never looked into clicker training, you might want to look into it. It’s positive reinforcement based and especially effective for dogs why are sensitive to negative corrections – like borzois and other sighthounds.

Whatever you do, do NOT leave your dog outside in the yard! Some dogs can find this highly agitating, and the opportunity for human mischief-makers to cause trouble is very high.  Whether or not they mean harm, it’s safer to keep your pet out of harms way – then you don’t have to worry about accidental poisoning, theft, teasing, or other unfortunate things. Also, please remember that there’s one thing every pet should wear on Halloween night – something more crucial than any costume – their ID!  Make sure every pet has current ID… and is wearing it!

TREATERS

Oh, there are SO many delicious things out there for pets to get a hold of!  Some are perfectly fine, many are fine – in moderation –  (key word here : MODERATION. Dogs aren’t good with moderation!).  Many things are flat out poisonous and dangerous for pets to ingest.  Here’s a rundown on the main offenders:

  • Chocolate: Yes, we all know how bad this one is, but did you know that the darker the chocolate, the greater the danger? It only takes 1 oz of dark baking chocolate to sicken a 50 lb dog, but with milk chocolate it could take up to 8 oz.  Play it safe… keep ALL chocolate out of reach. Signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, agitation, increased thirst, an elevated heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures. This is a medical emergency.  If you believe your dog has ingested chocolate, get to the vet right away!
  • Chocolate Covered Raisins: These tasty treats pass as semi-healthy (at least that’s what my sister says!) for people, but are double deadly for dogs. In addition to chocolate, which we all know about, raisins are their own kind of bad. Like all grape products, raisins cause kidney failure.  Vomiting, diarrhea and seizures result from ingestion.  If you suspect your pet has ingested chocolate covered raisins, don’t wait… get to the vet!
  • Xylitol: One of the newer sugar-free sweeteners, xylitol most commonly found in sugar-free products like gum and breath mints, but it’s starting to crop up in unexpected places.  The scariest?  Peanut butter!  That’s right – watch out for this very deadly additive in anything with peanut butter, especially “reduced calorie” items. Xylitol is perfectly safe for humans, but deadly for dogs and cats in very small doses.  It works it’s lethal one-two punch by first lowering the animals blood sugar to dangerous levels and liver failure. Symptoms appear within minutes of ingestion – and they are severe. Expect trouble standing, seizures, and lethargy. If you even suspect your pet has eaten your mints or gum with xylitol, do NOT wait.  This is a life threatening situation! With treatment, your pet may pull through, but many suffer permanent liver damage. As far as it’s appearance in peanut butter? I can’t speak for anyone else, but no peanut butter comes into my house unless I have personally checked the label myself.
  • Empty Candy Wrappers: You’d be surprised at some of the things dogs will eat… or, maybe not.  To us, a big wad of empty wrappers isn’t appealing in the slightest, but some dogs just can’t resist.  Wrappers still smell yummy, but they don’t digest, and can cause a wad that can bloat the tummy or cause an intestinal impaction.  Better to just keep them like a mummy… under “wraps!”  (Ok, ok… at least *I* think I’m funny!)
  • Sugar-Based Candies: Candy corn is kind of controversial among humans, but few dogs will debate, or even think twice before gobbling it down… and this can be a big, BIG mistake.  While not usually fatal, sugary candies can wreak havoc on a dog’s insulin system, pancreas and cause vomiting, diarrhea, and horrible HORRIBLE gas. Seriously.  Keep this out of reach.
  • Hard candies: Choking hazard or inhalation hazard.  Enough said.

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…And “Weird Stuff” Eaters!

In addition to candy, pets have lots of other things they can ingest over the holiday that are NOT good for them. Beads, pumpkins, corn, foil, glow sticks, candles, fake grass, “Hawaiian” leis and skirts… you name it, it’s out there and available to play with or eat. Some of these things are dangerous on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions, don’t  be afraid to call your vet, or a poison control hotline.  Halloween is a busy night for the hotlines.  They’ll be staffed, but you may have to wait.

Numbers for Help:

Pet Poison Helpline 1-800-213-6680. In order to provide this critical service, please be advised that they charge a $59 per incident fee, payable by credit card. This fee covers the initial consultation as well as all follow-up calls associated with the management of the case. http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control
Pro Tip: Borzois are liars.
They SAY they will guard your candy from rogue Trick-Or-Treaters, but they are NOT reliable. They accept bribes and don’t enforce the “one piece per kid” rule.

Remember: It’s always, Always, ALWAYS better to have prepared and prevented the problem than to try to do damage control later. Be safe, have fun, and help your pets have the best night that they can!

 

 

-C.T. (Chelle) Griffith, hound hugger, pizza guy terrorizer and very bad dancer.

 

Happy HOWL-O-WEEN ! – Part 2 -Coloring Page

Happy Howl-O-Ween 2017!  To quote Vincent Price… “The midnight hour is close at hand…”
Well, your markers and crayons better be, too! Because here’s a Halloween themed coloring page, featuring Barnabas (the undisputed Aria King of Halloween) and his batch of “bitty bitches.” These are the girls from Aria’s latest Van Morrison litter, whelped back in August. 

Happy Howl-O-Ween From Barnabas and the “Bitty Bitches” of the 2017 Van Morrison litter

You’re welcome to share, print, color and have fun with this coloring page, as long as you share artist credit when you do (me!  -Chelle Griffith) If you feel like showing off how you colored them, I’d love to see them and will share my favorites on Facebook.  So, not a contest exactly, but you do get braggin’ rights… Email these puppies to me by sending them to info@ariaborzoi.com

Barnabas, surrounded by adoring fans…

In case you’re curious about our models, Barnabas (Bronze GCH Aria Zorya Dark Shadows “Barnabus”) JUST celebrated his 9th birthday last weekend,  (Don’t tell him – he thinks he’s 2!) and celebrated by living it up with his adoring puppy minions.  This is definitely a case of art imitating life! 😀 “Big B” is the chief borzoi babysitter at Aria, and has been the big snuggly role model for a couple generations of Aria pups.  

Up next… Stay tuned for a list of the scariest things your dog could eat on Halloween, and what to do about it if they do – complete with poison control hotlines.  

  • -C.T. (Chelle) Griffith, Aria hound hugger, pizza guy terrorizer and very bad dancer.

 

Happy HOWL-O-WEEN ! – Part 1, Storytime

Happy Howl-O-Ween!  We’re going to have a little fun here, to kick off the Halloween festivities. Believe it or not, Aria Hounds start prepping for their favorite holiday when they’re still in the whelping box. Aria Hounds “Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts.”  How do we do that?  Well, be patient… there’s more to come on that later!  If you hang in there to the end of this post, it’s story time. I will thrill and chill you with a terrifying tale called: “Pizza, Puppies, and The Zombie Apocalypse.”  (Otherwise known as “The Day Chelle was Sorta Weird and Scared The Pizza Delivery Guy.”)

Hey, you work with what you got. 😀

At the stroke of midnight tonight, we’ll have a “Happy Howl-O-Ween” Coloring page to share, featuring Freckles, Bandit, Two-Spot, Oreo and Minnie – some of our current batch of puppy cuties as coloring-page models, along with their Uncle Barnabas, the undisputed Aria King of Halloween. (He JUST celebrated his 9th birthday, and celebrated by living it up with his adoring puppy minions!  Free to print out that coloring page, have fun with it, share it to any borzoi lovers you like and color the heck out of it and share it around (as long as you give artist credit (-me! 😉 -Chelle). We’d love to see how people decide to color these in, so send us your pictures and we’ll share our favorites on Facebook! Show off your coloring by sending them to info@ariaborzoi.com

And finally, tomorrow on the big day, we’ll be talking about the tricky part of the Trick or Treats – The Treats that are dangerous for our pets, and the Tricks you can use to keep them safe while you have a HOWLIN’ good time! Stay tuned for a list and a handy list of hotlines and a countdown of the scariest things your dog can eat on Halloween.  

And now, for our story…

“Pizza, Puppies, and The Zombie Apocalypse”

Barnabas waits… for PIZZA

It was a hot day in late July when the pizza guy got the call. Somewhere, hidden by a tangle of trees, wild bamboo, and a maze of dusty roads that seemed to wind in to themselves for an eternity, someone had issued a cry for help.  

They needed… a PIZZA!    (Dun… dun… DUNNNN!) 

It was a terrifying, harrowing journey, as his trusty Honda Civic coughed along the twisty road.  Neither his GPS or Google Maps seemed adequate to the task of finding the place, but eventually his car carried him up the hill to where the lonely house – surrounded by a formidable, spiky iron fence – stood all alone.  A grey, stone, beast-like statue grimaced at him, as he rumbled up to park his car in the abandoned driveway.  

As his driver’s side door creaked open, several lanky, gaunt and savage looking monsters appeared on the hill to leer down at him. They eyed him, licking their chops in anticipation.  

The Hounds on the Hill

Was it the pizza they hungered for, or his very SOUL?  

 

 Gathering his courage, he reached in to retrieve the pouch that held his precious cargo.  Who knew what horrors he must face to deliver it to it’s rightful owner? Would he be safe?  What would become of him?  Searching for answers, he turned to the gate, and discovered a note.  

“Come on in. Shut the gate behind you.  The dog is friendly.  Knock LOUD.”  Frowning at the cryptic message, he did as the note commanded, scratching his head as he approached the house, noticing the door was slightly ajar.  Of course, he thought, It’d be good to have a dog, with all those scary monsters up on the hill.  It was then, that he heard the first groan.

At first, he was certain it was the wind.  Of course, it was the wind!  he told himself.  There are no real zombies in Texas, in July, in the real world.  That’d just be ridic-

That was when he heard the chainsaw, and the answering scream.  

He froze in his tracks, his hand an inch away from the door.  It sounded like HELL had come to live in that stylish Weatherford acreage!  The Zombie Apocalypse had begun, in Texas, in July, in the real world.  And just when he could take no more, two things happened at once…

The door was nosed open by the biggest, hairiest black BEAST of a dog he’d ever seen… AND… The opening bars of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” began to play, just as a chubby lady, dressed in shorts and a tank top with the “Poop” emoji, danced out from the hallway, then froze in place, to stare at him in shock.  

She grinned, cheeks flushing with embarrassment.  “I thought the door was latched.  Sorry about that,” she yelled, turning down the music and gesturing him in as the huge dog tried to snuffle his pizza carrier.  Oddly enough, the music quit, but the Zombie Apocalypse sound effects continued.  She turned those down, too.   “Sorry about the noise, too. The puppies are the right age to desensitize to scary noises, so… Zombie Apocalypse it is. Barnabas, don’t be a dork. He’s not gonna give you any pizza. Leave the guy alone.”

His eyes followed the woman’s gesture, and across the room, in a wire pen, a litter of adorable puppies bumbled around, biting, tumbling and falling all over each other.  Feeling a nudge to his ribs, he looked down, and the enormous monster dog was tilting his head to the side, grinning, and trying to be cute… as if he were just some regular old lapdog, and not a fearsome beast that could reach a man’s armpit with his nose, without having to raise his front feet off the floor.  

I can has Pizza?

Soon after, the pizza guy fled – with dog drool on his pants, and a decent tip in his pocket.  All in a day’s work when you’re saving the world… one pizza at a time!

 

  • C.T. (Chelle) Griffith, hound hugger, pizza guy terrorizer and very bad dancer.

 

The US Army SuperDog Program – Bio-Sensor Exercises

Bio-Sensor Exercises Can Help Make SuperDogs

They may not look like much at this stage, but from 3-16 days old, these little jellybeans are hardwired to develop neural pathways like crazy! Exposure to the right kind of stimuli at this stage can pay off, big time, in the future.

A couple weeks ago, we did a post on the Bio-Sensor and scent exercises we do here at Aria with the young puppies. Developed by the US Army, the SuperDog program is designed to stimulate a pup’s neurological and physical development when coupled with a healthy, natural environment and loving human leadership. There’s only a small window of time in a puppy’s development -from day 3 through day 16- where these exercises are the most effective, so it’s important to plan ahead and get them on the calendar so your little guys don’t miss out.  It’s amazing to see how these exercises can not only maximize their potential as performance dogs later in life, but also give you some idea of the individual temperament of each puppy early on in their life. This aids in making better placement choices, when it comes time to send them to their permanent homes.  If you’d like to see a video on the process, one is available here. 

Our article on the BioSensor and Scent exercises from a couple weeks ago is available here —> ARTICLE  and back in July of 2016 we did another blog post going into detail on exactly what we were doing, and when, with the 2017 Firesongs litter.  You can see that post here —> ARTICLE

For an even more detailed approach, there’s a great article in a 2015 issue of The Canine Chronicle you can find here —> ARTICLE

 

Zen says: “Of course, MY puppies were all Super!”

I hope this is as interesting to all of you as it was to me.  It made for fascinating reading as I was looking after Zen’s litter of neonates that month, and made me rethink some of my previously held notions about how dogs absorb information.

– Chelle

Bio Sensor and Scent Exercises

Bio Sensor Exercises

Did you know that from day 3 through day 16, there are a set of easy exercises you can do with your newborn puppies that help maximize their potential as performance dogs later in life?  These Bio-Sensor exercises stimulate their neurological and physical development and were developed for the SuperDog program for the US Army.  There’s only a small window of time for this program to be most effective, and keeping track on a developmental schedule will help you be sure you don’t miss this opportunity. If you’d like to see a video on the process, one is available here. 

These little sniffers are ready to be exposed to new scents as early as 3 days!

You can also introduce scents during this time frame.  Each day, introduce a new scent item.  While each puppy takes their turn investigating the offered scent, put them on a level surface, or hold them in your lap – so long as they are safe from falling.  You can choose a variety of scent items for these few days, focusing on things they might need to be familiar with in their adult life.  For example, bird dogs would benefit from exposure to pheasant feathers.  Law enforcement dogs could be exposed to some of the scents they might encounter on the job. Therapy dogs could sample some hospital scents, like antiseptics and cleaning products.  Blankets that smell like other pets in the household, or dirty laundry from family members are good choices, too.

Hold the scent near their nose, a half inch to an inch away, and allow the puppy to interact with the scent at will for at least five seconds. If the puppy moves forward to engage with the scented item, allow them up to 30 seconds to continue smelling. Repeat the process with each pup.  

You can see a video on early scent introduction here

Keeping track and making little notes of each session may sound like a lot of work, but it’s actually pretty rewarding. As time goes on, you can learn a little bit about the personality of each pup.  Who is good at self-soothing?  Who is normally quiet, and who is always vocal?  Who is the first one to

Little Denzel is one seriously mellow fellow! He was a great little puppy from the moment he was born. Here he is, falling asleep while being weighed. You can see my notes to the left.

explore a new scent or toy?  All these things can be important later, when deciding which pup is the best fit for which home.  

There can be a very thin line between “good” and “great.”  Going that little extra step early on can help YOUR puppies stand out as superstars later in the ring, on the field and as pets and companions.  

 

Solid Food! How to Make a Mess of Mush

All right, I’ve been promising to get into this solid food thing for a while now, so it’s time I put up or shut up.  So, hold on… here we go!

Remember our new partners from last week?  Those sad sacks that still had something valuable to offer those pups?  Well, those guys get to go to work NOW!

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All right there, DuMor and BilJac. Time to get to contribute!  

When DuMor powdered goat milk and BilJac Large Breed Puppy Food work together, they make absolute MAGIC!  Palatable, digestible mushy food that even very young pups can ingest and keep down.  It even smells nice.  Kind of like a creamy vanilla milkshake.  NOTHING like Zen’s nasty Green Tripe!

First, figure out what you’re going to serve it to the pups in, and about how much you’ll need.  Little serving dishes are good. I shamelessly looted around in Rita’s kitchen, looking for likely candidates…

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This one’s about 2 1/2-3 inches across and just a little too small for the pups.  Instead, I set it aside and put some gelato in it, for ME!  

These 4 inch ones are just about right.  There are 9 pups, and their noggins are still pretty little right now, so they can eat 3 to a bowl.  I was thinking. “This should work for my crew.”  Your mileage may vary, depending on the size and number of your pups.

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I only put a couple handfuls of BilJak food in each bowl… and my hands are kind of small. I knew this was probably going to be overkill for the first time feeding any kind of solid, but I come from a long line of Ladies Who Cook.  It’s in my genes to try to stuff small helpless creatures full of food.  I can’t fight it.

Next, I whipped up the DuMor goat’s milk.  And I do, literally, mean “whipped.”  That nifty little gadget is a milk frother… also purloined from Rita’s kitchen.  One of my friends told me once that if I ever did a cooking show, I’d be half Martha Stewart, and half Dexter’s Lab.  Now, I kinda see what she meant by that…

IMG_20160725_101301
I strongly suspect this is an “off label” use for this kitchen tool.  

Well, it may be weird, but it sure gets the job done.  The goat’s milk reconstitutes nice and smooth and has a sweet, appealing smell.  Puppies should like this a lot! Go ahead and pour it over the BilJak food, covering it up good.IMG_20160725_101526

As it soaks, it will expand.  Remember, we’re not just trying to soften it up, we’re really trying to dissolve it. These pups have NO teeth at all.  They’re just gumming it, at this stage.  So we’re looking for something that will go down easy.

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Enlarged, to show texture!  Ha!  Look at how it’s starting to break up.  A little mashing around with a fork, a minute and a half in the microwave, and it’s warm and ready for their first taste-testing…

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Tune in next time to see how it went. Muahaha!  Mine is an evil laugh! You are my captive audience!  You read this far hoping to see a puppy picture… you addict.  Ok, well, here you go!  Consider this a preview:

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All right.  I set them out.  Do you think the puppies noticed, with mom in the box providing drinks at the nipple bar?  Find out next time!

This cereal, er, serial story installment was brought to you by guest blogger C.T. (“Chel the Chef”) Griffith.