Workin' Mind

Australian Shepherds

Happy birthday O-litter!

Nida, Dante, Wyatt, Five, Kie and Linus  are turning 1 year today! It is hard to believe that it is already 12 months ago that Nelly has given birth to them. We wish all puppies a wonderful birthday and of course many more healthy and cuddly years with a lot of fun with their humans.
We are very happy that all puppies live in great, active homes where they are stimulated. Thanks a lot for your great pictures and updates!






Vacation time

This year, we went for a road trip through Germany, Denmark and Sweden for our summer holiday.

A highlight for the dogs was the visit of Nelly’s breeder where both Nida and Nelly were herding. We even met Lotte, Nelly’s mother and Nida’s grandmother, again. She is now already 14 years old, but still in a quite good shape. Nelly resembles her a lot 🙂

It was of course also a lot of fun to play with Manya (Saluki), Qanuk (Samojed) and Linus (Nida’s brother).


I have read a few books of Per Jensen, a Swedish professor in dog ethology, for example “Hunden som skäms – Myt eller sanning?” (Dogs are ashamed – myth or truth?) and “Hur smart är din hund? Praktiska övningar att göra hemma” (How intelligent is your dog? Practical exercises at home). I also like to listen to his podcast etologinytt (unfortunately in Swedish, although there are sometimes some parts in English).
I am super happy that I got admitted to the course “dog ethology 1” at the university of Linköping this year. I’m excited to gain more knowledge in this area and learn about new research in this field. I think it is very interesting to learn more about the behavior of dogs to each other, to other animals (especially when herding, but also in everyday life) and to humans.
I will write about especially interesting topics in this blog!

FCI Agilitytitle!

After training agility for 5 years, Nelly has finally achieved her first FCI title. The competition started already at 6:30 in the morning, as it was incredible warm. The competition area was in the middle of a forrest so one could park the car completely in the shadow. They also had several pools for the dogs. Nelly gave everything and we finally had an agility run without mistakes with a first place. That means that Nelly is now in class 2 🙂
Somebody from the club took some amazing pictures which I want to show you!

Homepage update and FCI agility competition

With temperatures over 35 °C, neither the humans nor the dogs feel like long walks or extensive training. Therefore, I found some time to update the homepage.

You might have seen, that I created a new category in the menu. Since more than one year, we have dwarf chicken. A few weeks ago, we added five new Alsace chicks to the flock. And just very recently, we bought six Indian runner ducks. They are only one month yet, so we still have to wait until they are old enough to be herd. Until then, they are very happy about some kitchen scraps and help us in the garden by eating slugs.

Last weekend, Nelly and I participated at a FCI agility competition. We had some very nice runs with good rankings (2x second place and 1x first place), but unfortunately always one small mistake. In the first run, I did some weird movement, not Nelly’s fault at all 😛 In all runs, we were by far the fastest. We reached 5.8 m/s in the jumping  🙂

Here you can see for yourself.

Family pictures :)

Here are a few family pictures of  Nelly,  Nida, Five and Charlie.

The black bi’s mum and son.

The red bi/tri’s dad and daughter.

Two of the kids.

And again dad, mum and daughter. (The son did’nt feel like taking pictures anymore :P).

Our first ASCA trial

At the end of May and beginning of June we went to Austria and Vienna to meet Bettina, Charlie, and Five again. Five has grown up to a very nice boy and already shows a lot of potential during duck and sheep herding. As soon as we arrived and came into Bettina’s garden, Five and Nida started playing.

While we were in Austria, Nelly and I also participated at our first ASCA trial, starting in Rally obedience and agility. Nelly was doing rally obedience already back in Sweden and even won two titles with only 13 months! After that however I had to concentrate on writing my PhD thesis and then we moved far south as I had found a job in Switzerland.

Hence, after 5 years and a little bit of last minute repetition we made our rally obedience come back at these trials. The judges Heidi Iverson and Günter Geisel prepared some great courses and even if the weather was not very pleasant (it was pouring rain the whole first day), we had a lot of fun. Nelly was just amazing and had 3 times 200 points (out of 200) and once 197 (This time Nelly really wanted to say hello to Heidi just as we started…) which overall resulted in a RNX title and one QX for the RAX title. You can find the explanation of the titles here.

For the second half of the trials of course  we also enrolled for some agility runs. Susan Graham designed several really great but partly very challenging courses. But they always had very good lines for the dog to run, which I really appreciate! On the first day, Nelly managed 6 out of 6 runs without mistakes and achieved her JS-N, GS-N and RS-N titles. Boosted by these great results I felt very motivated and we registered for 6 additional runs on Saturday and 4 more on Sunday. The weather on the weekend turned out to be really hot and humid, so both Nelly and I started to feel tired after all the hard work in the the 3 previous days of trials. Therefore I don’t feel I can complain that Nelly knocked down some bars and in one of the Gambler runs I ran over the line and got us disqualified in an otherwise really nice run. Unfortunately we managed to distribute those mistakes over many different starts but on the Saturday we still could collect 2.5 Qs and on Sunday 1 more Q. Hence, Nelly even achieved the GS-O title.

I’m so proud of my little black girl, she was just amazing.
Everybody at the trial was very helpful and the atmosphere was super friendly so we had a really wonderful time and look forward to meet everyone again at the next trial.

Time for some new pictures

The weather was not really good today, so I used the time to upload some new pictures.

Agility

After the puppies moved out, we have slowly started to train agility again. Even if Nelly had a break of several months, she did not forget anything and is as motivated as before.
We have even participated at two competitions, one before Christmas and one last weekend. I went to the one before Christmas on my own, so unfortunately, I do not have a video of it. We had some really nice runs, and one even without a mistake 🙂
Last weekend, we had another competition. It was also a nice run, but Nelly unfortunately missed the last pole of the slalom. But we came second place and were two times as fast as the first place, even if we had to repeat the slalom! :O
As I had some company who could take a video, you can see the competition.

Nida has also started with some pre agility (tunnels and bars on the ground). She is highly motivated and also very, very fast.

I guess I have to improve my running skills to be able to better show them the course 😛

The puppies are becoming big

The milk teeth are gone, the proper fur has grown out and the puppies have become youngsters.

Most of them have already tried their future “work” a little by meeting cows and sheep, or tried out some suitable agility obstacles. They are very enthusiastic and fast learners. I am in contact with all puppies and their new families are very happy and excited about them.

We travelled to Germany, Denmark and Sweden this Christmas and for New year’s eve. Nelly and Nida joined our very long car drives without any problem at all and were very happy to visit family and friends (especially the dogs living with our family and friends). 😛

Die Welpen sind umgezogen

Since all puppies have moved to their new homes now, we finally found some time to update the homepage. First a picture of mama Nelly with fall colors 🙂

Orenda (called Kie) was picked up by her new owner Linda last weekend and is now living close to Örnsköldsvik in Sweden, where also Henrik, Kies aunt Feng, her half brother Kaiju and her Grandfather Jin, the more distantly related Athos and four cats (not at all related to Kie) all live on a wonderful farm. Linda and Feng are working at a diary farm with 600 cows where also Kie will help out when she gets older. She is already looking forward to her new task and it will be a perfect life for this small confident girl. 🙂



Ohiteka (called Wyatt) has moved to Kerstin and Ruud in Gouda, Netherlands, where also the Aussies Juicy (13) and Nuran (11) live. Nuran’s father is very closely related to Nelly’s mother. We had the pleasure to meet both Nuran and Juicy and could see a lot of similarities between them. 🙂 Smart Wyatt will later be competing in agility and obedience as well as do herding.


Ohiyesa (called Dante) has moved to Karolina and Oskar who live with the Aussie Newton in Wroclaw, Poland. We also met Newton, who is a very gentle and playful boy that really cares about his “smaller brother”. Newton and Dante have lots of fun playing with each other. Dante will later play and compete in frisbee and will also try herding.


Ogima (called Five) moved already a few weeks ago to live with Bettina, Alejandro and his father, Charlie (and of course cousin Finnick and Baghira) in Vienna, Austria. He will soon be working with ducks and later also sheep and cattle, while also doing some agility and obedience. The cuddly boy loves living in a pack and has already charmed everyone. 😉

Odakota (called Linus) has moved to Annette and Dietmar in Bonn, Germany. He is often participating in the puppy training where he already is a bit of a star, and is also helping out a lot in the household. His later work is not completely decided yet but since he likes new people and kids, he might enjoy something in that direction.


Onida (called Nida) will stay with us. We will compete in agility and do some “THS” and obedience. Nils is also looking forward to do some herding with her. 🙂

Socializing of the puppies

Another blog entry has been due for quite a while now but we have spent lots of time with the puppies and have simply not been able to also keep the homepage fully up to date.

The puppies are going into the garden several times a day. They are also being taken on small excursions (5-15 min) onto the sidewalks of the village main street to meet adults, kids, cars, bikes, MCs, trucks, tractors, buses, and much more since they are 7 weeks old. We are spending time outdoors in both daylight and darkness, and of course also with harness and leash. Sometimes we even pack all of them in the car to have some walks in unfamiliar places. The puppies are very curious, check out everything and are happily trotting along on the walks. They have also been meeting our chickens ever since they started spending time in the garden. They have made two visits to a stable and met some horses and the kindest imaginable German shepherd girl. Even though the horses were of gigantic proportions to a small dog, they kept their cool pretty well.

The puppies have also joined for some bike trips, where they learned to sit in a bike wagon during the travel.

In order to meet and socialize with other kind dogs, the puppies got to accompany Nelly to her dog sport practice and are also participating in a „puppy school“. Last weekend was time for a short tram ride including some training of sit and down commands on the platform with a tram moving about. They found it not too difficult! =)
We also made a visit to the airport to see some visitors off, where the puppies of course joined. All people there were unfortunately very busy and nobody had time to say hi to the puppies even though the puppies really wanted.

We are listening on youtube firework videos every few days to get used to also this kind of noise and it seems in this video that they find it’s nothing to be afraid of.

Last week was time for the booster vaccination as well as the rabies shot. We are very happy that all puppies have been reserved and will grow up in wonderful families with dog experience.

Neue Bilder!

Lately, we have been very busy with the socialization of the puppies. I thank the photographers for the great pictures!

Here are some impressions 🙂

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Visiting the vet and names

On Tuesday, we have been at the vet and the puppies were examined, vaccinated, chipped and received an EU-passport and a health certificate. Both at the vet and on the ride to the clinic (alltogether about 1:15), the puppies were very calm and relaxed. I have not heard one sound form them during the whole trip! They were very curious and cheerful at the vet. Everything was great and the puppies are as fit as a fiddle. They tolerated the vaccination, as well as the ealier dewormings, without any side effects.

The puppies are already over 7 weeks old now and you can really see the character and the personality of them. Therefore, they received their names now.

Puppy 1 (red bi female) is called Onida.  This means “the one, that is searched for, the one longing for”.
Puppy 2 (black bi male) is called Ohiyesa. This means “winner”.
Puppy 3 (black tri male) is called Ohiteka. This means “brave, courageous”.
Puppy 4 (black bi male) is called Ogima. This means “chief”.
Puppy 5 (red tri female) is called Orenda. This means “magic power”.
Puppy 6 (black tri male) is called Odakota. This means “friendship”.

Last week, we did a small excursion into the forest. Unfortunately, the pictures are not very sharp as the puppies were so excited and scooted around 🙂

Getting more active

A video

Enjoy! 🙂

Playing in the garden

We have had wonderful warm summer weather this weekend and the puppies were of course allowed to run and play in the garden.

Here are a few impressions 🙂

The first time outside

This weekend, the puppies were for the first time in our garden.  They were playing, drinking milk from mama and taking a nap in between 🙂

Here are some pictures from our “excursion”.

And a video 🙂

Neue Einzelbilder

It was time for some cuddling on our sofa and some individual pictures.

Guess who also wanted her picture taken 🙂

Names and videos

I have been asked a couple of times why our puppies have no names yet, or when they will get their names. Today, I will write a short post about this:

In many countries (e.g. Germany and Austria), the puppies are named after the litter, so all the puppies of the first litter of a breeder start with A, the second with B, … In France, this is different and all puppies of the same year, regardless of the race or the breeder, start with the same letter. In 2017 this was “N” and this year it is “O”.

In Sweden, most breeders decide a theme for each litter and name their puppies after this theme. Nelly’s litter were for example all called after different sorts of tea. We liked this idea and therefore we searched after a theme with many (well sounding and beautiful) names that start with “O”. They also should be in English. After several reflections, we came to the conclusion that native American names would fit very well for our litter, as also Nelly’s father Jin has a native American name.

As native American names have meanings and we want the meaning to fit to the character of the puppy, they will only get their name when we can see the character of the puppies. 🙂

The puppies are still growing fast; the biggest is already above 1.5 kg even if they are only breast-fed from Nelly! The puppies have additionally to their whelping box also a small area with a nonslip floor and a “toilet area”. I cannot believe it, but they are already understanding the concept of being housebroken. But their mother also only needed a few days to be housebroken! Also the tiny and sharp milk teeth are starting to appear. Here are some videos were they are playing!

The eyes are open!

As promised, I took some individual pictures when the puppies opened their eyes. I have uploaded them onto the puppy page.

Additionally, here are two group pictures 🙂

 

More pictures

The puppies are growing and growing. The start to stumble on their feet, as they cannot see where they are going with their eyes still closed. But I could already see a tiny opening for one of the puppies.

When all puppies have opened their eyes, I will take new individual pictures!

Already one week old

The puppies are already one week old!!!

They are growing a lot and most of them have doubled their weight (the other ones are very close). According to literature, most puppies have doubled their weight after 9-10 days. It is most probably due to Nelly’s wonderful care and her good milk that they have reached this goal already now. In the video, you can see how tasty the milk is.

It is very obvious how much they have grown when you look at them in the bathtub 🙂

This week, Nelly ate rabbitcarcasse, venison, rumen of sheep, intestines of cow, salmon, quark, vegetables from our garden and a little bit of dry food. According to a Swedish study, a balanced and versatile diet of the nursing mother with a natural bacterial flora leads to stimulation of the immune system of the puppies and therefore the abundance of allergies are reduced.

As also the nails of the puppies were growing, the puppies were scratching themselves and Nelly so we cut and filed the nails. This was a quite delicate job, but we could already clearly see some difference in the character between the puppies 🙂

I have also worked on the homepage, wrote a text about Aussies and added some information on the puppy page.

Individual pictures

Today, the puppies are already 4 days old. They are gaining weight (about 12 % per day) and started to walk with their back legs today. 

We also took some individual pictures and uploaded them onto the puppy page.

Enjoy looking at them 🙂

The puppies are there!!!

Just as calculated, Nelly gave birth to 6 wonderful puppies on Sunday evening/night. They are 2 red girls and 4 black boys.

Everybody is doing well, the puppies are mostly sleeping and drinking. And they are gaining good weight!

More information and individual pictures are coming soon on the puppy page.

 

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Soon it's time

Nelly is getting bigger and lazier; most probably also due to the heat wave we are having right now. Therefore, she likes to cool down in her new pool 🙂

Or she is lying in our garden.

Or in her whelping box.

It is difficult to see on the picture that her belly is enormous. You can see that she still had a waist on day 49, which is completely gone on day 58. Alltogether, she has gained 4.5 kg and 21 cm at the waist. Now, you can really feel the puppies moving.  How many will it be? Which colors do they have? How many females and males? Soon, we will have answers to our questions 🙂

Last week we bought 110 kg of meat for Nelly. Now we are well equppied for Nelly’s huge hunger (and soon even the one of the puppies).

Preparations

We were shopping this weekend and bought a few things for the puppies.

We also started to build the whelping box.

Nelly starts to mutate to a Labrador, she gets bigger, easygoing and hungry. Just the love of water is not very prominent, but cooling the feet is great in summer 😛

 

 

 

Nelly is pregnant!

Lately, Nelly started to be even more hungry and cuddly than usual. We were very eager for the day we could perform an ultrasound examination.

Finally, we did the ultrasound examination and are glad to report that Nelly is pregnant 🙂 The puppies were already very active, as their mother, and it was not so easy to determine how many they are. The vet said though that there are at least 3-4 puppies.

You can find more information under puppies.

Vacation in Vienna

We have recently been in Vienna to visit Bettina and Charlie. As you can see on the pictures, Charlie and Nelly got along really well also this time. They played much and with a lot of subtle communication. This time, even the actual mating worked out and we eagerly wait to be able to do an ultrasound examination to see if she is pregnant. They were both in so much love that they even cried when we separated them between the matings. 😉

We had a great week and thank Bettina and Alejandro for the pleasant evenings and the cool tips what to see in Vienna.

Team Agility Competition

Unfortunately, we have problems with our internet connection and since the beginning of May no functional internet at home. Additionally, I have been a lot on the road the last weeks.

But now it is time to update the homepage and to let you know what has happened during the last few weeks.

Nelly has injured herself during training at the end of April. She broke her claw and had to walk with a bandage and a shoe for two weeks. Just as the claw was healed, she stepped on glass with the other front paw and had to wear the shoe on the other paw.

Shortly after, we had a team agility competition in Dole, France. The cut in the paw was getting better, but was not completely healed. Therefore, I taped her paw to protect the wound and let it heal better. Nelly was not at all bothered by the tape, and the injury still looked fine afterwards.

Unfortunately, our team was not very lucky and we did not earn a lot of points. But I’m still very happy with our runs. The parcours were, especially for us, not very easy.

This is the agility run.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyCGvMcnsWg[/embedyt]

And the jumping.

Sad news

Last week, we sadly had to let our Anna go to sleep. We were at my parents’ place due to a family gathering a couple of weeks ago and then she was very happy to meet everyone. She even ran a little bit together with Nelly during a walk 🙂

However, during the last couple of months she had waves of dizziness every now and then and was not feeling very well when they happened. Until now, the dizziness attacks were rare and during the long time in between, she was fine. Since the family gathering though, the interval between them got shorter and shorter. Additionally, she had heavy diarrhea. As she could not enjoy her life anymore, she was allowed to peacefully go to sleep at the impressive age of 15 years and 7 months.

Anna was originally a stray dog in the US and ran up to me as a puppy. After persuading my parents, she was allowed to come with me back to Germany. During her long life, she has experienced a lot of things, was allowed to follow us on numerous hikes, biking tours, sightseeings, vacations, …. and she has also introduced me to the world of dog sports. She was an extremely social dog, who got along with everything and everybody. Even people that were afraid of dogs could pet Anna after some time.

We miss you very much!

Easter vacation in Sweden

Now it is already some time ago that we came home from our Easter vacation, but the weather the last two weeks was so fantastic that we rather spent it outside. We were in Sweden to visit family and friends and also met Frida and Tinja (Nelly’s half sister). We had a great time, even though the weather felt more like winter than spring. We went for some walks in the forest and Nelly enjoyed to meet and play with Tinja. You could clearly see the kinship in the way they moved and behaved. I hope we will be able to meet again, and even see some other relatives to Nelly (again).

We also visited the horses I used to ride when I lived in Sweden and Ardis (the icelandic horse), Nelly and I went for a fantastic ride.
As we stayed at Nils’ parents house, Nelly had a lot of company with other dogs, the Salukis Ambrah, Manya and once also Ezzie visited. Here you can see Nelly and Manya, a 13 month old Saluki.
When we came back, spring had really arrived here. Even though Nelly loved to run and play in the snow, it was also great to roll around in the grass and play hide-and-seek in the forest 🙂

Agility competition in Switzerland

Last Sunday, we participated at an agility competition in the indoor hall in Kaiseraugst. Patrick Bucher designed  three great parcours. Nelly’s speed was a little bit too high at the slalom entrance in both the jumping and the open class run…

I’m really satisfied with the runs, especially considering how many bars were knocked down just a couple of months ago. We are making progess 🙂

Seminar with Nick Chettle in Kaiseraugst

This weekend, we participated at a seminar with Nick Chettle. It took place in the indoor agility arena in Kaiseraugst in Switzerland.

The first time we did the course, we managed to get the entrance of the slalom right. Afterwards, Nelly knew the course and took a shortcut to the second or third pole. I had no chance to show her the entrance… Hence, I learnt that we have to work on an independant entrance of the slalom!

 

But the entrance of the tunnel and also the turning away from me was much better in the last round 🙂

In the afternoon, it was quite difficult for Nelly to take the jump before the slalom from behind. Therefore, I was so astonished in the last round when she took it correctly, that I forgot the course… But otherwise a really nice run 🙂

 

Some dogs bring the newspaper, we get breakfast :)

Seminar with Grégory Bielle-Bidalot and agility competition in Germany

A few weeks ago, Nelly and I participated in an agility seminar. It was held by Grégory Bielle-Bidalot who has participated in the world cup several times. Last year, he was one of the coaches for the French national team.

Grégory built a jumping parcour that we trained in sections. He gave each participant very individuel tips that lead to improvements already after a few repetitions. Nelly and I had to run some sections with slalom that I never would have thought we could manage. We learned a lot and next time he does a seminar in the area, we would very much like to participate again.

 

We also started in an agility competition in Germany before Christmas: The Santa Claus Cup in Köndringen held by the HSZ Emmendingen. As Nelly is “large” in Germany, she had to jump 60 cm. The A1 run was good, despite two bars falling down and somehow she also managed to get out of the slalom before it was finished. I guess I was already thinking about the next obstacle…

We came at place 15 out of 24 starters. Here is the video:

Nelly was quite creative in the jumping and unfortunately she passed by an obsticle near the end. But it was actually her first competition run with 60 cm jumps where all bars stayed at that height!

Twice first place in Saverne

Since a few months, I am a member of a French dogsports club. The class division according to the size of the dogs is slightly different than in the international agility rules. Dogs between 43 and 47 cm can either compete in class B (medium) or in class C (large). As Nelly with her 46 cm relatively often knocks down some bars, I registered her for class B for the French licence.

In France, you need to pass an exam involving exercises to evaluate the social behavior and obedience of the dog . You also need to pass an agility exam (PASS agility) to show that the dog knows how to take all obstacles. The administration of the agility section in France was very kind and approved my German exam (Begleithundeprüfung) and also my participation at German agility competitions as PASS agility.

Thus we turned out very lucky, as we were still on the waiting list until Saturday, and could participate at a competition in Saverne. In general, French competitions have three runs. We started in agility 1 and the agility standard and jumping standard classes are combined level 1 and 2. The agility 1 run is easiest and have least participants. This time there were only 4 other starters but unfortunately we were disqualified. However we did really really well in the other two runs and won both! We were the fastest with 5.47 m/s in the jumping class, which altogether had 18 participants. In the standard run though, there was one other dog that was faster, but he also had 10 points penalty.

As Saverne is quite far away and I only  was allowed to participate in the last minute, I had nobody there to film us. Therefore, unfortunately, there is no video to upload. Instead I have uploaded a couple of pictures from a few weeks ago when we spent some vacation in the beautiful south of France. 🙂

Regional champion of the “Hindernislauf” 2017

Last Sunday, a competition in Turnierhundesport took place at the dog club of Weil am Rhein.

We participated in a “shorty” and a “Hindernislauf”, even though I had a cold. The “shorty” is done in a team, that has to run over obstacles, placed in two lanes next to each other. The first participant runs his part (the dog takes the obstacles and the human runs next to him), an assistant whistles and then the other participant can start. We participated in team with a girl from our club together with her labrador and made 4th place.

We gave everything in the “Hindernislauf” and managed two runs without mistakes. This was enough to reach first place and Nelly is now regional champion of the “Hindernislauf” 2017! 🙂

As you can see on the pictures, Nelly is slightly faster than me 😛

Station ciruit

In the last weeks, we have participated in two station circuits. I could not really find a good word for this activity, but maybe “station circuit” fits. This activity is an organized walk with 8-10 stations at which you do some exercises or solves problems together with your dog. You can do it alone with your dog, but it is much more fun together with friends or family.

The exercises can be very different and the different senses of your dog are needed to solve them. We, for example, had to find some sausages in boxes in straw; transport an egg on a spoon with your dog on a leash while going through a slalom that was bristled with treats; the dog should lie on a towel while you threw a ball over the dog; jump into boxes that were filled with different kind of materials; walking over an aluminium emergency foil; lying on the side and being covered with a blanket; retrieving something from one tray to another; … Unfortunately, we had so much fun that we forgot to take pictures.

I can really recommend to participate in a station circuit and I think that especially intelligent dogs like Aussies have a lot of fun with them. They just love to explore new stuff. In Switzerland station circuits are very popular and called “Military”, you can find them here. Sometimes you can register beforehand, but you never need a license, an entrance exam or similar to be able to take part. Anybody can participate and the main thing is that everybody has fun. In Germany they are also organized by dog clubs or animal shelters. Unfortunately, I do not know if there is something similar in other countries and if there exist any homepages where you can find upcoming events. If you know about a station circuit, you are welcome to send me an e-mail, then I can post it on my homepage so that more people know about it and more dogs can participate.

For dogs poisonous food items

A few days ago, I heard about a dog that died after eating a cake that was sweetened by xylitol. I had not heard before that dogs cannot tolerate xylitol and therefore I searched the scientific literature to get an overview about food items that can be very toxic for dogs but not for humans.

As there are huge differences between size, breeds and even in between individuals, it is possible that one dog can eat quite a lot of a specific food item without showing any symptoms while another could die already from a much smaller amount. Therefore, one should not feed the following food items to dogs and also store them out of reach for the dogs. It is also important to remember that the amount plays a very important role when talking about toxic food items; small amounts of one food item can be well tolerated while the same amount of another can already lead to serious damages.

It is possible that the list below is not complete, but I will monitor the research about this topic and update the list if I find any new results. I would be happy if you send me an email to workinmindaussies@gmail.com if you hear about new studies about food items that are toxic for dogs.

You can read the original articles written in academic English here and here.

Leek family:

This plant family contains onions, garlic, leek and chive. They contain sulfur compounds that damage the red blood cells and are not destroyed by drying or cooking the food. 15-30 g onions per kg body weight are enough to cause damage, although some breeds are much more sensible  (eg. Akita, Shiba, Jindo). Aussies are very fond of food, but I have yet to meet a dog that would voluntarily eat raw onion or leek. As already described in the beginning, it is very important to consider the amount that is eaten by your dog. I would not give onion soup or a dish made of only leek, but if a sauce contains a small amount of onion or garlic, it should not cause any problems.

Ethanol:

Ethanol (in everyday language also alcohol) is of course present in alcoholic beverages, but can also be in paints, medication, perfume, mouthwash, thermometers, antifreeze and disinfectants. Alcohol is also formed when fruits rotten (for example apples) and in uncooked yeast dough. It is unknown exactly how alcohol is harming dogs, but believed that receptors in the brain are blocked.

Grapes:

Grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants (raw, but also cooked/baked) can lead to kidney failure in dogs. Also here it is unknown how the kidneys are damaged. There are big individual differences in the sensitivity to grapes and raisins. There have been cases reported where dogs ate up to 1 kg of raisins and showed no symptoms and others that died after eating only a handful. Earlier, I sometimes gave a grape or a raisin to my dogs because I did not know that already very small amounts can be toxic for some dogs. After reading these two articles, I will however not do this anymore. You never know if your own dog might be extremely sensitive. Unfortunately, I have not found any information about different breeds and if Aussies are especially sensitive to grapes.

Hops:

Hops is needed for the brewing of beer and both fresh and spent hops seem to lead to malignant hyperthermia in dogs (excessive heat production). Some breeds are especially affected: Greyhound, Labrador Retriever, Saint Bernard, Pointer, Doberman, Border Collie, English Springer Spaniel und nordic breeds. Unfortunately, I have not found information how sensitive Aussies are.

Macadamia nuts:

Most commercially available macadamia nuts only contain a small amount of the toxic substances, but some cases have been reported from Australia, where macadamia trees grow. Until now, it is not sure how many macadamia nuts are needed and how the symptoms arise in dogs. Until now, no cases are known where dogs died after eating macadamia nuts.

Caffeine, theobromine and theophylline:

You can find these plant-derived substances in different food products, beverages and medications. Coffee, tea, guarana and many soft drinks (Coke, Red bull, …) contain caffeine. Theobromine is in cacao seeds and chocolate. Theophylline is in tea together with caffeine. These three substances all lead to an increased muscular contractility in dogs, a stimulation of the central nervous system and the cardiac muscle, relaxation of the smooth muscle and diuresis.

The darker the chocolate (especially baking chocolate and cacao powder), the more theobromine it contains and the more dangerous it is for dogs.

Even though many dog owners know that chocolate is toxic for dogs, most poisoning cases in households are still caused by chocolate (likely stolen) consumption! One really should store chocolate and other products that contain cacao somewhere where dogs cannot reach it.

Xylitol:

It is now time for the food item that inspired me to write this blog article. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener, mostly present in chewing gum but also in candy, cookies, bread and similar. It is also known as Polysweet, Xylosweet, Xyla, birch sugar and E967. Xylitol has antibacterial properties and is well tolerated by humans. Therefore, many dental products contain xylitol. In the article, they even mentioned that some mouthwash for dogs contained xylitol. If you use these kind of products, make sure that it does NOT contain xylitol!

Xylitol is already toxic in very small amounts and as little as 0.03 g xylitol per kg body weight can lead to the increase of insulin so that the blood sugar level decreases dramatically. Additionally, liver failures can occur. When you have xylitol in your house, please be careful that your dogs cannot reach or eat it by accident.

Bones:

Unfortunately there are a lot misunderstandings among dog owners about feeding bones to dogs. I will therefore also write a short paragraph on this topic. Dogs of course love to eat meat and it is a very nice, natural activity to chew on a bone. It is however very important that the bone is RAW. The structure of the bone is changed by the heat in cooking, frying or barbecuing. First, they are much more difficult to digest and second, they easily splinter into very sharp fragments. It is no problem to give raw chicken bones and many dogs really appreciate them. But after cooking, they can be very dangerous when they splinter. It is preferable to take bones with quite a lot of meat on them as they are easier to digest and taste better.

When dogs are not used to eat bones, it is best to give only a little bit (10-15 minutes chewing) until the dog is used to it and can digest the bone. Otherwise it may lead to diarrhea or throwing up. I never give bones without supervision, to be able to react quickly in case the dog would swallow the bone and it gets stuck in the airways. However, the risk for this to happen is, in my experience, extremely low as long as you adopt the size of the bone to the size of your dog.

Visit in Austria

Last week, we spent some days in Vorarlberg in Austria and met Bettina and Charlie. Nelly and Charlie got along really well and played wonderfully together. Unfortunately, they did not breed, so we have to wait for Nelly’s next heat. But we got to know Charlie very well in different situations and we are certain that the dogs fit very well together and the future puppies will be playful dogs who love to work, cuddle, and be with their humans.

Here are a few pictures from our “date”.

WT-Cup Emmendingen

Today we competed at the 19. Winterling Mehrländerwettkampf in Emmendingen. We had two nice runs, unfortunately a few poles fell.

Here is the video of the agility run. We were 11th out of 48.

We came 21st of 48 in the game/jumping.

Agility competition in Titisee-Neustadt

Today we participated at a small agility competition in Titisee-Neustadt. The competition area was located in a forest, which was perfect for warm-up walks before the runs. Very unfortunately we had a small misunderstanding in the agility run, otherwise it was a very nice run.

The game/jumping was quite challenging for us, but we did well and came 8 of 21. Even if we took a few extra turns, we had the fastest time with 4.47 m/sec. 🙂

HD-Genetic or environmental factors

When studying pedigrees and health data, it attracted my attention that there are sometimes dogs with quite bad hips despite both of their parents having very good hips (A). How can this be? Why are there still dogs with bad hips despite the effort of responsible breeders to only mate dogs with good hips?
I found a very interesting website about this topic. I share the link here as I would like to contribute to increase knowledge about the different influences on the development of hip dysplasia so that this horrible disease can be decreased. Below I am summarizing the information in a short list and invite you to click on the link above to learn more.

  • All puppies are born with perfectly normal hips.
  • The genes that cause hip dysplasia remain a mystery.
  • Environmental factors are very important.
  • Joint laxity is the primary cause of hip dysplasia.
  • Body weight is a MAJOR environmental factor.
  • Exercise is good and bad.
  • Early intervention is critical.

Weekendseminar with Nick Chettle

We participated at an agility seminar by Nick Chettle (UK) this weekend. We trained to guide/be guided from behind, being calm, and to knock down less poles.

Here are a few impressions 🙂

 

 

 

 

Dog food

Today we filled our freezer with 50 kg dog food. Tasty 🙂

We found a male

See under Puppies.

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