Sunday, March 28, 2010

Point Pinole buddy day

One of my favorite parks in the area is Point Pinole. This East Bay regional shoreline is absolutely beautiful and has a little bit of everything- water views, city views, a number of different trails with shaded woody areas, wide open fields, and beach areas that are great for some doggie swimming. There are even picnic tables and grill spots in some parts of the park. We love Pinole because Captain can get great exercise here and play with other dogs, but it's not just a dog park- it's also a great spot for people too. And it's pretty close to San Francisco which makes it easy for us to get to.

This Saturday we went to Pinole with my friend and her dog Trax, and it was another great day. We had truly perfect weather.

Posing for a picture with a view:
Beach buddies:
I caught the tail end of Captain swimming:

Trax finds a great stick:
And there was some crazy running in the fields of course:

The boys were soooooo tired on the way home! Success :-)

Friday, March 26, 2010


Just wondering if others have experienced skin allergies with their Vizslas, and if so what was causing them and what solution you found. Captain has been having on-again off-again little bumps mostly on his back and now a few on his head- they are sort of white and small, and if scratched the fur comes off and leaves a little bald spot or scab. For the most part they go away with an antibiotic our vet gives us, but not very quickly and they've been coming back. This has been going on for about 8 months I think. At first our vet thought it was a bacterial infection but now she thinks it may be a food allergy and has Captain on a special food he doesn't seem to like very much. I know V's can be prone to skin allergies so thought I'd ask if anyone has had issues like this. I may take him to an allergist because I can't handle not knowing and want to be able to feed him more options! Some people have suggested it might be an allergy to pollen or fertilizer, which seems like it would be hard if not impossible to control exposure to...

Insight appreciated!

More hiking to come this weekend :-)

*Update: Captain's allergies went away completely. He had allergy issues for about 9 months, on and off, from about 1.5 years old or so. Looking back, I think the problem started when he was around a year old and not eating his breakfast consistently- so I began "bribing" him by mixing in different things. Sometimes it would be peanut butter, or cream cheese, but then I started giving him Primal brand raw nuggets fairly consistently. And then the bumps started. We took him to the vet, would get antibiotics, and the bumps would go away, but then they'd come back. Since I wasn't always giving him the raw food, it wasn't so simple to identify what the problem was. The vet suggested 2 different kibbles, each of which we tried and Captain would not eat- he was losing weight, and since he had never had issues with his usual kibble or with peanut butter from the time he was a puppy, I switched him back to the basics of what we knew worked for us from the start.  Ultimately, we found that the allergies went away and stayed away when we didn't give him the raw food nuggets. Now, I also try not to give him lots of different things all the time; he gets Iams with a little sweet potato (or sometimes pumpkin) mixed in for his meals, and some treats (peanut butter, frosty paws, homemade and store-bought biscuits, every now and then a raw hide or chew), but we don't give him raw meat anymore. I know this is contrary to what some others have experienced, but for us, the raw nuggets seemed to set off his allergies. Like people, different dogs have different allergies; it can be helpful to keep track of what exactly you're dog is eating and what has changed in order to help identify the problem. For severe issues that don't seem to go away, definitely go to a vet and/or allergist, but keep in mind your dog's history with different food items.

**SEE ALSO: Updated post on allergies & bumps.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wildcat Canyon

We had a good group of dogs for hiking this Saturday, and decided to try out Wildcat Canyon Regional Park in the East Bay not too far from Berkeley. Wildcat is a great place for hiking with dogs, with its wide open spaces for running and plenty of trails through the hilly terrain. The dogs were happy to run off leash, explore the woody areas and fields around the trails, and play with each other. The trails weren't crowded at all but we did run into a number of other happily hiking hounds.

The SOMA dogs crew: Trax, Ranger, Ziggy and Captain sit for some turkey!

More treat time:
Vizsla silliness: Ziggy tries to get as dirty as possible.Coming through!Trax and his fabulous tongue:
All dogs ahead! The boys charged up the hill...
...while the humans took a little bit longer...
We had a nice view once we made it to the top!
Trax and Captain pose:
I like this B&W my friend took:We had such a good time we're planning another hike next Saturday!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sun baby

I love watching Captain in the sun- his coat looks amazing, and when he's lying in our apartment he just kind of melts into total relaxation.
It's as if it's the biggest struggle in the world just to keep his eyes open...

Luckily he doesn't try that hard to stay awake...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fun with friends... and the cupcake bandit

We had some friends over this weekend so I decided to make some of my yummy cupcakes- chocolate white mountain and banana butterscotch. Unfortunately, I left a tray of the banana butterscotch cupcakes on the table and then stepped out for about 5 minutes to go to our neighbor's... I came back to find Captain in the middle of scarfing down the cupcakes! He ate almost a dozen of them!!! Luckily the chocolate cupcakes I'd made were in the fridge, and Captain had no adverse side effects from all that sugar (other than looking very very guilty).

Aside from stealing cupcakes, Captain has been busy spending time with his pal Keoni... here are some pics of them having fun playing:

Monday, March 8, 2010


This Saturday we had a training session with Kelly and Ian Dunbar from DogStar. Dr. Dunbar had some really good advice and tools to help us better deal with Captain's adolescence. Specifically, we're working towards controlling his bark when he gets out of hand (he has a mean bark for about 2 dogs in the neighborhood and also tends to bark when scared), and more broadly, helping him develop into a confident male dog. To get there, we're using some basic positive reinforcement and hand feeding for a few days, and then lots and lots of practice. Luckily Captain learned great bite inhibition and is very social, but we're still working on the barking. It is a lot of work and you do tend to forget that training is something that really needs to continue well after puppy class.

If you're not familiar with Ian Dunbar, there's some more information on his work on Dog Star Daily. Basically, according to my husband, Dr. Dunbar "wrote the book on dog training" - actually, he literally has written a number of books about dog training, but he also developed puppy training classes, the Sirius Dog Training classes, and the field of dog training itself. So it was a great experience to get to spend some time with him. Hopefully Dog Star will be developing some web-training videos, and one may feature our session with Captain. He was a pretty good learner (actually, the dog is usually quicker to learn than the human!); but we still have some homework to do.

I'd love to hear comments about other male Vizsla adolescence trials & triumps. Here's Dr. Dunbar's blog post on adolescent dogs.

Happy training!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Playing tour guide

A new toy from Grammy & Papa!

Last week my parents were visiting so we showed them around our favorite spots. Crissy Field, Rodeo Beach, and coastal drives were included! We also headed up to wine country and stopped at one dog-friendly winery, Mumm. Before we headed back home we also checked out the nearby Alston dog park. It was a beautiful day!

View of vineyards at Mumm:Captain had a fun time with his "grandparents"!