Last September we changed the diet of our dogs, which you can read about on our page titled Traveling with dogs–feeding the dogs. Both Topper and Daisy were due for some shots in April, so they both had a check-up. They received rave reviews from our vet! Both were at their ideal weights and the vet was especially complimentary of their teeth, which Karl brushes nightly before bedtime.
Both Topper and Daisy need to be groomed every 4-6 weeks. Although Topper is a Goldendoodle, his hair is very curly like a Poodle, so we keep his hair short to avoid matting. We have a grooming table and equipment set up in one of our bathrooms, as well as a “Utilitub” (an oversized tub with shower head hose) in the laundry room for bathing the dogs. Daisy needs a bath often, as she gets dirty running around in the wet grass. At a minimum, both dogs need at least a foot bath once per week. Daisy has always been a challenge to groom, so we have been taking her to a professional groomer that works at our vet’s office.
It is allergy season, and we noticed Topper had been licking one of his paws so much that it was red and raw. He had actually pulled the hair out from between the pads, so we scheduled another vet appointment last week. The vet has recommended Zyrtec twice daily and we are also supplementing his dinner with Omega-3 gel capsules, which are supposed to help reduce the itchiness. He seems to be feeling better now and the paw is much better.
We are trying the Adaptil collar on Daisy, as she has been especially prone to barking since Ryan came home from college last month. Every little sound seems to startle her, and with Ryan home, there is a lot more activity than usual. The collar is supposed to respond to the dog’s temperature and release pheromones. The reviews were mixed on Amazon, but we will give it a few more weeks as recommended. If not, we can get a refund. We also have “Thundervests” for both dogs, which we purchased especially for fireworks season. We live near a minor-league baseball stadium that has fireworks several times a month during baseball season, and the vests are supposed to have a calming effect. Mainly they just look cute!
On the subject of barking, Ryan has also been helping me reduce Topper’s demanding bark when I am preparing the dogs’ dinner, as well as both dogs’ barking to be released from their crates when I get home from running errands. Both Topper and Daisy have attended training classes and I have also worked with a private trainer; however, barking has been a persistent problem for both dogs. I have the Citronella spray collar for Topper, but the few times I used it he was so traumatized that I cannot bear to put it on him. Even if he sees the collar he gets starts pacing (although he does stop barking too, so I guess it does work). Basically, I have been too lazy to consistently train them, and they generally get their way (e.g., get let outside when they are barking at a deer in the yard), but Ryan has put a stop to that and has been training me to train them. Topper is getting better at waiting for his dinner, because whenever he barks I stop preparing his food. Daisy is not as food-focused, but yesterday it took nearly a half hour for Daisy to stop barking before she could be released from her crate. She would stop barking, but as soon as I would approach the crate she started barking so I would turn around and head back down the stairs. Topper, on the other hand, took only a few minutes to stay calm in his crate, so he was released quickly. They are catching on!
We also decided to get Daisy a swim vest because she has fallen in the pool a few times. She runs very close to the edge when she is chasing her ball. If we bring her in to the pool, she swims well, but when she falls in, she struggles and can’t get going with her swimming. Both Karl and I have had to rescue her just before she goes under. Although she is always supervised when outside, we don’t want to take a chance that we can’t get to her in time.