Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ticks and Fur and Fights!

I'm finding out that there are a few things I was unprepared for after moving to the country and getting a second dog.  I've always lived in suburban developments and I've never had more than one dog at once.  There are a million things I love about the country and multiple dogs, but there are things I definitely didn't consider.

First off -- TICKS!  I've never had a problem with ticks before.  I found one tick on Kyra the whole two years we had her in the old house, and we'd never found ticks on my parent's dog in the 14ish years we had her.  Following the recommendation of my vet, I don't Frontline my dogs.  There are more natural ways to prevent fleas and ticks, but I had not utilized any since I'd never had a problem previously.  Well, we went on a hike in the woods a week ago, and they came back covered in ticks.  OOPS!  And now every time I think I've gotten rid of them I find another one.  So I've put together a plan of action and we'll see if it works: I've started giving them supplements with brewers yeast and garlic which are supposed to make them unattractive to ticks; I bought Sentry Natural Defense Natural Flea and Tick Squeeze-Ons and applied them over the weekend; and I bought some yard spray with the same ingredients as the squeeze-ons, but I haven't used that yet since it was rainy over the weekend.  I also bought Natural Defense spray to spray on the dogs coats in case we go hiking again.  I'll let you know if we end up defeating our tick problem.

Next, fur.  You would think having two dogs would mean twice as much fur.  I was prepared for twice the fur.  I was not prepared for the fur explosion that has taken place at my house.  I can't clean fast enough!  We were spoiled with Kyra, she defies her breed and does not actually shed too much.  She doesn't have the thick undercoat that most GSDs have.  Marcus does.  Boy, does he.  It's coming off in fist-fulls around my house.  I really need to start brushing him on a daily basis, but I've been lazy and I'm paying the price by having to vacuum every 5 minutes.

Finally, fights.  Dogs get into scuffles, and mine have snarked at each other a few times over toys or because one ran into the other too hard, etc.  This morning they had what was, to me, a fight ... although anyone who has dogs that actually fight would probably laugh at me.  They were playing around in the family room while I was checking my email, and I don't know who ticked off who but suddenly they were both on their back legs snarling and in each others faces.  It probably only lasted 5-10 seconds but it seemed like a lifetime.  Like I said, I've never had more than one dog so I've never had to break up a fight (or scuffle, which is all it really was), and at dog parks Kyra will back down if a dog even glances at her wrong.  So I was totally unprepared and a little freaked out!  I just stood there yelling and clapping my hands which didn't work at all, while repeating to myself that I shouldn't pull them apart unless I wanted to get bit.  Thankfully it was over as suddenly as it started and they were back to kissing and snuggling within minutes.  Marcus does have a little war wound - a scratch under his eye that was probably from a nail or being smacked by a tooth, definitely not an actual bite.  Next time I will be more prepared with a squirt bottle or a blanket to throw over them or something other than yelling helplessly.  Although I hope there's not a next time, realistically I'm sure they will have arguments again.

So, does anyone have any good tricks for dealing with ticks, fur, or fights (aka scuffles)?  Anything you use to break up dogs that are arguing?


  1. You should take this very serious as you probably already do since you are writing about it. It could indicate problems in the making. No reason to panic though. Try to take it from her and see how things are progressing. If you can see tension increasing or getting more frequent you will have to do something about it before things get out of hand. And try to establish the underlying issue for the individual dog, resource guarding of toys, food or your attention? Or something else. When you know what triggers the tension you can start doing something about it. Every dog should be able to behave around each other in the household.

    To stop the "fight". Make yourself large and bend over them. Yell at the top of your longs, and do it "in their face". They will notice :)

  2. Wow, three problems in one package, let me see ...

    2)FUR: That's the easy one, really. FURminator is the answer, works like magic

    1)TICKS: Not as easy if major tick infestation. Great tool for getting them our

    Let us know how your products work, I am liking this product line, but we don't really have a tick problem so cannot tell how well it would work http://naturalchemistry.com/pet-products/products/show/73

    3)FIGHTS: this one isn't easy to address in a short comment. Not sure how long you're having the two dogs, but as a rule of thumb for some time they should unsupervised as little as possible, particularly with toys around, until they 'settle' into the 'siblings' life.

    A time-out is probably a good idea after such event, and/or removal of the toy that triggered the reaction.

    Our guys never got into scuffles, but sometimes they do give each other 'shit', which normally just consists of one giving a snarl and the other apologizing. Then they actually put themselves into a time out before resuming play activity. Same with J.D. and his buddy at the farm.

    They should learn that communication is encouraged as long as it is civil and taking it further is not allowed.