Katie and Louie are great dogs, but it's almost impossible to overcome any dog's natural canine instincts 100% of the time. Sometimes the compulsion to chase just takes over when they see a rabbit or a squirrel (not that Katie or Louie have ever caught one). When over 235 pounds of the world's strongest breed of dogs are attached to my wrists I think it's critical to find some way to save myself from being pulled down to the ground or in front of a car. I've struggled at times to find a way to control the Newfs in this type of unpredictable situation. After trying several different collars and harnesses I have finally found one that I love! It's called the Sense-ation No Pull Dog Harness and it really works. The things I like about it:
1) It's easy to get off and on - takes about 5 seconds to do
2) The harness can fit loosely on the dog and still be completely effective
3) Katie and Louie seem very happy when wearing it and actually play more attention to me than ever
4) Since it doesn't go around the dog's neck the dog can't choke itself.
The leash attaches to a ring that sits on a loose strap in the middle of the dog's chest.
When the dog starts to pull, the location of the leash makes them turn slightly to one side instead of going straight forward as they intended. Katie and Louie learned in about five minutes that the only way to keep going straight was to stop pulling on the leash.
Last week I didn't realize that an orange cat was running by our parking area right as I opened the back gate with Katie and Louie beside me. I could see that Katie and Louie's chase instinct kicked in immediately, but they didn't make any progress towards the cat and my arms did not get pulled out of their sockets. Hooray for these awesome harnesses!
Bloat is a very scary medical condition that can quickly become fatal for a dog. I'm posting about bloat on our blog because a couple of months ago a dog that attended our dog school died of this terrible disorder. If you are not familiar with bloat the simplest explanation that I can give is that the dog's stomach fills with trapped air. If the air build up continues the stomach can flip over which will cut off the blood supply to the stomach. If the bloat is not quickly treated the dog will very likely die.
The chart in the link below explains how to recognize bloat, how to treat it and what happens during each phase. We have this chart posted near Katie and Louie's dog food to remind ourselves and any of the dogs' caregivers what symptoms to watch for.
Bloat is most common in deep chested dogs such as Great Danes, Rottweilers, Labs and Newfs, but it can happen to any dog. There is no magic bullet to prevent bloat, but a few things that are believed to be helpful are: feeding two smaller meals a day instead of one large meal, waiting two hours after the dog eats before exercising it and waiting one hour after the dog has exercised before feeding.
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"Welcome home to the Happy Haus" is the greeting I used to receive from Gary when we arrived home from work each day. Gary and I brought our daughter Natalie home from China in November 2011 to live with us in our cozy cottage. In October of 2013, we unexpectedly lost Gary, our dear husband, father and friend.
Our family includes our two sweet Newfoundland dogs, Katie and Louie. Newfoundlands are working dogs, so we make sure our two always have a job to do. Katie and Louie are both certified therapy dogs and bring lots of joy to people who are in need of some Newfie love. They have also competed in Rally Obedience. Katie has earned a Rally Advanced title and Louie has earned a Rally Excellent title. In keeping with Newf tradition, Katie has become a proficient draft dog while Louie prefers practicing water rescue whenever he gets an opportunity. They are also both protectors of their little sister, Natalie.