Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Day!

Mmmmm Mince pie! (our own recipe)

Sausage rolls

Bill works on Katie's laptop

Guys in the kitchen cleaning up.

Notice how helpful Finn is being!

It was a good day!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Play dates - the good, the bad and the ugly

Yesterday and today we had play dates scheduled with a group of neighbors. Since Finn was not socialized before we got him, chances to play with other dogs will help him to become more relaxed and confident.

Or so I hoped. Of course an important part of that is that the other dogs are relaxed, friendly, and non-aggressive.

While walking our dogs in the neighborhood over the last 9 month, Finn has shown nothing but friendliness and tolerance for other dogs. Some we had had play dates with before but only one or two at a time. We met yesterday, with 4 other dogs, 3 we knew and one new one. Other than the young puppy yelping from too rough play, and a growl at Finn when he tried some mounting behavior, everything went great. (All the dogs are neutered, I think Finn wanted to roughhouse, and didn't know how so he tried that) I found out the one dog we didn't know, they had only had for 3 weeks. A mixed breed dog, lab or chessie mixed with something. I was a bit concerned, since they hadn't had him long, and he had just been neutered, but they all seemed to play ok.

Today we met in another yard, and we got there last. For about 15 minutes all went fine, then for no reason any of us could see, the new dog attacked Finn. Finn simply tried to get away, not understanding what was going on, but the other dog kept going for his face and throat. This wasn't simply a dominance issue, Finn backed down immediately. In any pack once the other dog backs down the fight is over. But this dog kept going after him. I immediately called Finn, to get him out of the yard while the dog's owners tried to pull him off. Finn could outrun the dog, if he would just go, but I don't think he heard me calling him, or was too focused on avoiding the other dog. Once the attack was broken, he came immediately to me and I let him out of the yard to safety.

I didn't see any wounds immediately, but when I got home I found he had been cut on his face and mouth. Painful, but not serious. Finn has had all his shots, and since they just adopted the other dog, I know he has had his. I'll talk to my vet tomorrow, but for now the wounds are washed, and Finn is keeping them pretty clean himself.

So, instead of Finn having a good experience of play, he was introduced to aggression, something he had never experienced before. Could I have prevented it? Yes, I should have been more cautious. 3 weeks is not enough time to learn what kind of personality a dog has, and not enough time for his new owners to establish who was boss. I should have waited for a time when he wasn't there. Dogs can surprise you, no matter how long you have them (like Finn and his mounting behavior, where did that come from??) but I should have realized there could be issues and kept Finn from this experience. It was my responsibility to make this decision for my dog.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Baltimore Irish Festival

Today we took Finn to the Baltimore Irish Festival. We went as part of the Potomac Valley Irish Wolfhound Club to showcase the breed and let people pet and fall in love with them.

We had a great time!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

This was Finn's first Halloween. While he is 2 years old, I feel certain in his previous life he never was involved in the fun of this holiday.

First, of course, there is the costume. This is difficult for a wolfhound, there are no pet costumes big enough. Even the adult human costumes I looked at were not going to fit. I felt pretty confident of my ability to force him into something, but size is an issue.

We settled on Pirate. he already had the kerchief for his neck that I bought at Dogfest. I picked up a foam hat at Micheals, added a red plume and string to tie it on, and voila! I contemplated one of our vests and a pair of ragged pants (we have a whole container full of Pirate costumes), but there was no way it was going to fit.

Here is the photo..note his enthusiasm. 5 seconds after this photo he pulled the hat off. Oh well.

We had our first group of kids, and Finn greeted them at the door. With the mom's permission, I let Finn out to say hi.

Finn was ecstatic! Kids kept coming to the door! He got petted, scratched, and he got to sniff and lick all these kids. He spent the rest of the night at the front door waiting, watching the road and sidewalk, and when he spotted some 'trick or treaters,' he would start to whine and wag his tail.

So the costume part wasn't so much fun for him, but the kids coming by to see him was his favorite. He also managed to snark up a piece of dropped candy before I could stop him on our walk this morning, so another bonus for his version of the holiday, LOL!