Saturday, November 29, 2014

ZogoFlex Dog Toys

Recently, GHF has decided to try out these funky-looking dog toys to see how they work: if the dogs like/prefer them, if they prove better than kongs, etc... so that, in the end, the BCs have something interesting and challenging to stimulate their ever-active minds!

So far, these have worked well; the dogs can get to the peanut butter easily, it doesn't get stuck down in the bottom like it does sometimes with regular kongs. The dogs haven't destroyed any of them yet, even our bigger BCs... so they seem rather durable. Each time we give one to a dog, they seem eager and excited; it gives them something to do with their mouth and their mind. Additionally, these are dishwasher safe for super-simple cleanup. They are also recyclable, non-toxic, and they float! We just fill them with peanut butter and stick 'em in the freezer, as seen below.

In use at GHF!

Here they are:

Tux Treat Toy by West Paw Design

Have you used these toys? If so, let us know!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cold Weather and Hunting Season Changes

With all the cold weather coming our way, we make changes at GHF accordingly; taking into consideration the weather and timing of the year to ensure the dogs are as comfortable as possible and that they still feel safe during the active hunting season of upstate NY.

During the transition from fall to winter, we adjust our protocol to account for these seasonal changes. The 'out schedule' changes most in the morning and at night, so that, especially on weekends when hunting is the most active, the dogs aren't alone when outside or, if they are alone, it's for very short intervals. MANY of our border collies have sound sensitivities and panic when gunshots go off... so it's important for our staff to know who is out, or to just remain with them while outside in order to lessen their anxiety and so that they associate humans with safety.

Here's some basic tips about exercising your dog during hunting season:

And as the cold weather hits, the staff has to be on their toes about making sure the heating situation for the dogs is matched appropriately to the weather outside. There are fans inside the barn as part of the heating system so that the heat is circulated and not simply vented out into one area or room (since each of the dogs have their own 'rooms' in the main rescue barn.)

Each of the annex rooms has their own heat set up as well, ensuring that all the dogs are in the best state of warmth when the weather drops. In the extreme cold, like we had last winter, dogs get large blankets covering all the floor space so that they have a cozy place to nest.

Here are some basic winter-weather tips for pet owners:

While these tips are fundamental and straightforward, it's always good to have a reminder about your pet's perspective and to review basic care. For instance, during very icy times at the farm, we may have to use booties to protect dogs' feet from being torn up or use a product similar to this to create a buffer between their sensitive pads and the harsh ice:

If it's really icy or desperately cold, the dogs are only out to do their business and then back inside, so as to avoid any potential injuries. It's much easier to for a muscular injury to occur during this type of weather, which is another thing to be aware of as a border collie owner, and it's certainly something we take into account at GHF!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What's with all the notecards?

When people come through the barn for a tour, they always ask about what the notecards on the doors mean. Lillie, our founder says that 'You sure have a lot of dogs named Thunder' is a common remark.

The notecards are one of the ways the staff communicates with one another, and generally they signify something of importance; for instance, if the note says 'BONE' like it does in orange above, the dog has a knuckle bone in the room... which is something to be aware of if one of the staff was to put another dog in there. Rooms that have 2 or more dogs do NOT have bones, because we don't want to create dog/dog issues by giving them access to a valuable resource, like a juicy bone. 

If the card says 'thunder,' like it does above, this does not mean their name is thunder, rather it signifies to the staff that the dog is noise-sensitive or is thunder-phobic. This is something to be aware of if we are outside with the dogs, and, for example, the weather turns or (like it is currently) it's hunting season and a gunshot goes off; the dog may panic, which the staff needs to be prepared to handle. 

The other two green cards seen above, saying 'no towels in crate' and 'crate Nim in PM' simply mean that the dog in question, (Nim, as seen on our website!) may chew towels which we want to prevent, and does better in the crate overnight, as some dogs do--usually to help with house training. 

There are many things we may write on notecards and place on the dog's room door, (where they are easily seen) like: 'no soft toys' (since the dog chews or destroys them) 'dog aggressive' (if the dog interacts poorly with other dogs, 'allergies' (if the dog can only have certain treats, etc. If the dog has something important that needs to be known about their behavior or personality, we'll tack it on a notecard and tape it on the door, to make sure that everyone is able to manage them properly, using techniques that work the best for each individual dog!

New roof!

The 'front annex' dog room has gotten a new roof!

Thanks to Kory and John, the roof has been replaced and is now in GREAT condition! It only took a few long days from these boys to make sure the roof was completed, ensuring the dog(s) rooming there are snug and dry for the upcoming winter!

Kory and John do much of the physical work for the Farm... repairs involving fences, etc. and also work during the camp season helping guests who vacation here at the Canine Getaway.

During the construction, we moved Banner (the dog staying in the front annex, check him out on our website!) to the barn so he wouldn't have to endure all the racket caused by the roofing process. He was happy in the quiet, but he is ultimately happier in his own space, which the front annex provides; it's tucked just in front of the rescue barn where most of the other dogs are, so Banner settles much better there where he is able to manage himself more easily. Each dog is different and handles space differently!

There are two additional 'annex' rooms slightly behind the front annex where other dogs are able to stay, cozy in the winter and cool in the summer with fans and thermostats in each room! There are windows for plenty of light and easy-to-clean floors... in short, they're like miniature houses! These three annexes are a wonderful tool for us to utilize for some dogs, since the environment mimics that of a real home, and, as mentioned before, it serves as a quiet place for dogs that may have more difficulty settling down. It's one of our many great, unique resources!