27 February 2011

My personal leg warmer... a bit squirmy though

Did you know that there are dogs that have been bred specifically to keep the owner warm? Introducing lap dogs and even sleeve dogs!

Now, Aschiuta is too big to be a sleeve dog, although the name would suit her if we thought of all the tugging going on. But could she be a lap dog?
The human doggie carrier

We got Aschiuta when she was just a month or two old and she was an adorable little fur ball. Also, since we weren't allowed to let her outside without her vaccines done, I carried her to the vet. Needless to say, we were a strange sight and people turned their heads to look at the strange girl carrying a puppy.

I didn't mind much, since she was small, but it was summer and very hot and since a puppy's normal temperature is pretty high, we were both panting by the time we got to the vet.

However, when she grew older (and heavier), it was harder to carry her around and I was happy when we gave her those shots and Scorpio bought Aschiuta her first harness and leash: both a hot red.
Nowadays, I still pick Aschiuta up and carry her inside the room when she runs out or when we are outside and the stray dogs get too close.

Aschiuta, the lap puppy

Being so used to carrying Aschiuta, I really enjoyed holding her in my arms while sitting down. As a puppy, she would calm down, hide her nose in my arm and doze off.

When we were able to take her out, we would go out to an open terrace bar and have a couple of beers. When the pooch started squirming too much, we would run off with her outside in the parking lot for a bit. But when I wanted to make her sit still, I'd pick her up and she would sit tight.
"You're getting smaller. I used to fit perfectly here."

Now, Aschiuta has grown up and can't fit my lap too well. She also has unrestricted access to the bed and couch, so why sit on my legs when she could stretch in bed? I do take her in my arms and pet her, but she leaves quickly.

Sometimes though, she surprises me. She comes to me while I'm sitting on my chair at the laptop table and climb up in my lap. Climbing is the best way I can describe the way she heaves herself on her front paws and tries to get a leverage point with one of her hind paws, blindly waving it at the edge of the chair. I often push her bottom up and with an "upsy-daisy", she's up in my lap, sniffing my treats pocket. More on the magical pocket later on.
"I think my butt is slipping off. Hold me better!"
She even stays for a pet or two. When she feels exceptionally affectionate, she would try to roll in a comfortable position and let me pet her. Her long legs would often slip off and, after shifting around a lot, she would eventually jump down.

Well, at least for a few moments, she was my little lap dog.

26 February 2011

Snapping shots of the Sleeping Beauty

Today I saw a post at House of Carnivores, Argos in Repose, where you can find two nice pictures of the Greyhound Argos sleeping and a hint that there is a little sleeping doggie contest and giveaway at CowSpotDog.

I will admit, I have my camera on the table, waiting patiently for Aschiuta to fall asleep in one of her funny positions so I can snap a picture. Unfortunately for me, my camera flashes a red light while focusing the image, so the chances are my Sleeping Beauty would wake up and I'd miss the moment.

These are some of the few lucky shots that I got, showing a napping doggie. Enjoy!

Her favourite position is usually "bottoms up".

Snore snore on one side.

Snore snore in black and white too.

Scorp got this one of Aschiuta and I napping together.

The missed picture... She just opened her eyes a second before the photo was taken.

What a nice way of sleeping in. Have a great weekend!

21 February 2011

Hello, Mr. Dog, Ms. Dam. Table for two?

Communication is tough when you don't speak the same language as other people. But there are some non-verbal elements, which are generally understood anywhere. You can raise a hand to call the waiter, shrug your shoulders to say "I don't know" and point to something of interest with a finger (though pointing is said to be rude).

What is it pooch? Hungry? Thirsty? Why are you barking?

I find it quite hard to find a common non-verbal communication standard with my dog. This is partly because I haven't had a lot of pets in my life and also because she can get moody sometimes. Why is she tugging on my sleeve? Why is she whimpering? Is she feeling bad? Hungry? Wants to play? Misses Scorpio?

You know how your dog wants to play now or go out or eat and you are hurrying to finish some very important work? It would be nice if you could strike a deal with it, saying "calm down, we'll go after I finish here". But it's not really possible. Your dog won't understand you. It will simply get the idea that the walk won't be happening any time soon, so it will keep bothering you.
Aschiuta and the case of the shredded sleeves

I get lots of tugs on my sleeves from Aschiuta because she needs to go out or wants to play. If I don't want her to get aggressive, I prefer to grab the tennis ball and play fetch with her a little. Letting her out in the kitchen also buys me a few more minutes to work peacefully until I can fully dedicate my time and attention to her.
She tugs on slippers too. All for a bit of attention.
I do keep wondering though, is there an easier way?

14 February 2011

Everyday is Valentine's day for Aschiuta

Happy Valentine's day! But wait, for Aschiuta, this is just a day like any other. Why is that, you ask?

365/366 Valentine's days in a year

Aschiuta will jump on us, cuddle with us, lick our faces and wag her tail (she actually wags her entire body) on any day of the week. Because, what else is Valentine's day for, if not to show some love to people and pets dear to us? For Aschiuta, every day is Valentine's day, especially when we get home after being out.

And she's not sweet and loving only to us, but to anyone who shows her some affection.

Puppy love

In the morning, she comes to see if we're still sleeping. If she's also sleepy enough, she will push her nose under the blanket. We lift it and she comes in, rolling into a warm doggie pretzel next to us.

If we're just waking up, she will sniff and lick our faces, happily wishing us a good morning.

Coming home from being out... Well, I don't need to say it again. She's a bouncy, wagging bundle of love and licks. She would push her ears back and strike the most adorable poses she knows, while bouncing and wagging her tail at the same time. Sometimes she almost loses her balance.

But Aschiuta doesn't only love us, she also likes treats a lot. And for them, she tries every trick she knows. Her cutest one is putting her paw in our hands.
Scorp is her favourite.

Giving me paw too... For a treat or two!
Well, that's it from our sweet little Aschiuta's Valentine's days. Have a great day with your loved ones!

13 February 2011

A trail of rice crumbs and chicken bones

If you've read my post Time for dinner! What are we having? you know that there is a huge debate among dog owners about whether we should feed our dogs commercial food or home made dog food.
Hmm, not bad... Needs more parsley.
Aschiuta's first diet

When we first got Aschiuta, we didn't know what to feed her. Her stomach was also a bit upset because of the odd stuff she had been eating and she also had a parasite.
To calm her tummy, our vet told us to make her some soup: chicken, rice and a few vegetables. It was meant to be easy on the stomach, since rice is easy to digest. She loved it and we kept making it.

After all the problems went away, we figured we should buy her some kibble. The vet sold some good brands too and gave us samples of each. Needless to say, she was very young and didn't know how to eat the small kibble, so we put it in her soup and all was ok.

Kibble dibble. Yum yum

Since the vet insisted that we feed Aschiuta only kibble, we tried to teach her to eat it. She didn't like it much, and couldn't chew it properly. She did eventually eat from our hands and that's how it was for a while.

One time, we decided to buy dog food from a nearby pet shop, so we got the most advertised one (one of the only we knew about). This led to a lot of problems and you can read about them in The Vet.

Just like Mom used to make it...

After all the problems with the dog food and visiting Brasov with Aschiuta for the first time, we went back to chicken and rice. My fiance's mother had two dogs of her own before the two cats and only fed them home made food. One of them, she kept saying, got to a "matusalemic age" with that diet.

Aschiuta didn't even want to look at kibble again, of course. She loved her "soup", which in time had turned into a nice pilaf.

No more time to cook for pooch

After I got a job, I barely had time for a lot of things, so we decided to switch back to commercial dog food. We were careful to get a good quality one and she eventually got used to it.

We might get back to the home made food again in the future... Who knows?

10 February 2011

Time for dinner! What are we having?

You must be overstuffed with the discussions and advice all over the Internet about what a dog should eat to be healthy. I'll just add my personal opinion and some useful information that I found.
Munch munch

Commercial dog food vs. homemade dog food 
The big buzz is about kibble versus homemade dog food. There are plenty of people on each side of the barricade who are convinced that their idea is the best.


Commercial dog food has one great advantage: it's already made for you. This means that your dog should get the right amount of nutrients, that it doesn't take any time to prepare and that it will last a long time.

The problems are various... The worst is that the food can be contaminated (see news of dog food being withdrawn), which can lead to serious problems. Another issue is food allergy. Aschiuta once had that from a very popular brand (which the vet clearly said we shouldn't have fed to her).

Let's not think about some things that go in the kibble. But of course, it also depends on the quality of the food.

Last but not least, I've heard about a lot of dogs that don't want to eat kibble. Also, feeding the same thing every day gets the dog bored of the food.

Homemade dog food

The benefices of this kind of food is that you know what goes in it and how it's made. It's also fresh (if you are a responsible cook) and your dog might like it better than kibble. Aschiuta loves homemade food. A lot of dogs won't eat anything else.

The problems can be pretty bad, dog nutritionists say. You should consult your vet when cooking for your dog, to know what and how much your dog needs. Insufficient nutrients can cause problems. One of the worst ones is the lack of calcium. This should most likely come from bones or dairy products. I give Aschiuta some cheese or sour cream now and then. She used to have quite thin little legs, but now they are very strong (packs a bad punch too).

Decisions, decisions...

No matter what you decide to feed your dog, one problem remains possible in both cases. Pet obesity. Remember to consult your vet about serving sizes and exercise more. Don't forget that treats are food too.

Consulting with your vet is very important. They can tell you if your dog is eating properly.

5 February 2011

Such a cute dog! What breed is it?

I was reading blog updates today and found one about a blog hop I couldn't resist joining. It's the Magical Mystery Mutt Tour Blog Hop and people will post some info and pictures of their mixed-breed dog and others can guess what breeds they have in their DNA.

I've been preoccupied with finding out what breed Aschiuta is ever since she started growing and people began to ask "Such a cute dog! What breed is it?". I researched the Internet and found a very unlikely but interesting answer. I'll tell you at the end.

If you also want to join in the fun, here are the rules:

Magical Mystery Mutt Tour Blog Hop: hosted by Peggy's Pet Place, Will My Dog Hate Me and I Still Want More Puppies!

  1. Link up your blog name and URL using the Linky Tool below.
    (Include on your blog a few pictures of your dog, and specific details to help everyone guess!) Here's the code for the Linky:
    <script src="http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=74086" type="text/javascript"></script>
  2. Follow your co-hosts (listed above) and comment on their blogs to let us know you've joined the hop!
  3. Grab our Magical Mystery Mutt Tour Blog Hop Badge and the Linky tool for your post, if you want. Here is the code for the badge:
    <a href="http://bit.ly/fVBz6q"  target="_blank"><img src="http://rufftoyreviews.com/images/mutts.jpg" /></a>
  4. Check out as many of the other blogs on the Linky as you'd like, and guess away!
Well, since that has been taken care of, here is a little more about our doggie, Aschiuta:
Butt first, always butt first!
  • Build: She is medium-sized and thin. Her long legs and neck (we affectionately call her our little giraffe) and long body in general make her figure look almost elegant.
  • Face: She has an angular face, with a medium-sized muzzle. Her most striking feature are the ears, which are quite big and pointy. We once believed she might never outgrow them, they used to be bigger than the face.
A more frontal view, posing in a "give paw" position. Also known as the "expect treat" position.
  • Fur: The fur is rather short, with a slightly thicker collar and puffy hair on her hind legs and tail. I always say she has permanent bloomers on. The fur is tan, with a little lighter collar and a darker stripe on her back. When she gets excited or angry, she gets a mohawk from her nape to her tail.
  • Attitude: She is the friendliest and most playful dog I've ever seen. She loves everyone she meets and wants to jump, hug and lick everyone who gives her some affection or attention. She is fond of kids, but not a lot of parents let theirs play with such a crazy dog. I'm probably the only one she doesn't respect much and that only when my fiance (her biggest crush) is away from home. As you can see, she'd make a bad watch dog, but she's great fun when going out. She loves to play and taught herself how to fetch a ball.

She loves being out and playing.
From my amateur research, I have resolved she looks a lot like a Norwegian Buhund, minus the big rolled-up tail (we're still a fluff away from that though). The personality matches too, from what I've read. The only problem is, Buhunds are rare in my part of the world and probably nonexistent in Romania.

The picture of a Norwegian Buhund. The resemblance is striking.
We don't really care a lot about the breed though, she's our lovely little doggie and she's great no matter what DNA she has.

Here is the list, hope you join up!

2 February 2011

I'm sorry, Fido doesn't like you, you gotta go

I've heard it a lot of times: "dogs are a good judge of character". I've also read and heard stories about how dogs can sense if you're a good person or not. Well, in the spirit of Penn and Teller, whom I've been watching lately, I'd like to suggest that all of this is just bullshit.

Let's start with the beginning... Why people say dogs are a good judge a character here in Romania has a lot to do with the fact that a dog's traditional "job" here is to guard the house. That means barking at strangers who might or might not want to break in and rob the house. This is how they are trained and that is what they would do. There are dogs that bark as a warning, even if you're just passing in front of the fence.
My dad taught me long ago not to be afraid of dogs and how to deal with guard dogs in particular. He told me that they do bark while inside the yard, but outside, they don't have what to protect, so they might be the nicest dogs you know.

When we went to my grandparents' house, the guard dog always barked at us, even if we were always welcome there. After some food and attention, we would become best friends. However, if we came back after a longer absence, the dog still barked at us.

Another example I would like to give is that here, there are a lot of gypsies and dogs are said to bark at gypsies. Now, gypsies are a bit discriminated against, as being vulgar, maybe violent and not caring much about personal hygiene. You can't generalise about an entire ethnicity, but the people that do smell funny often attract dogs' barks.
It is said that dogs smell fear. Well, it might be possible that they can smell your sweat when you are afraid, but mostly, they will interpret your movements. There are a lot of signs that give fear away.

So, dogs are protective of a place or a person or other dogs or simply suspicious of a smell or odd behaviour. Do all those things say anything about our character? I guess not. Here is a little article you can read on this subject: Dogs as Judges of Character.

Hey, buddy, that's my tail!

I wrote about this because of a heated discussion on Facebook about a person whose dog was jealous of their new boyfriend. A lot of people advised them to dump the boyfriend for the simple reason that the dog was jealous and maybe protective.

Take care and please research what you preach.