An update on Pike

Since I’m home with a cold (THANKS NATHAN), I thought I’d take a few moments to update you on how Pike (or, as he’s most commonly referred to in our house:  tiniest dog) is doing.


The tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) version is:  fabulously, all things considered.

  • Housebreaking hasn’t been entirely errorless, but he’s making great progress anyway.  He can take himself up and down the stairs from the backdoor, and he’s starting to pee as soon as his little feet hit the dirt.  There have been zero pooping accidents inside.
  • He still sleeps with us at night, and has an overnight bladder capacity of about 4 hours.  So, Nathan gets up once, and I get up once.  That’s not too onerous.
  • He and Loki are best buds.  In the space of the last 24 hours they’ve gone from Loki trying to figure out how to play with Pike, to wrestling with each other and with toys.
  • Crate training is currently a mixed bag.  His crate is next to my desk, and if I crate him he grudgingly goes to sleep pretty quickly.  If I crate him and walk away, he screams like a banshee until he cries it out and gives up.  He has self-crated for a nap (with the door open to the crate) one time.
  • Jackson and Clover aren’t thrilled about the puppy, but they aren’t avoiding him either.  Clover has let him chew on her legs, and Jackson was trying to make overtures of playing this morning.

We have had a little bit of illness.  Around 24 hours after he came home, he woke up from a nap with his entire face all puffy and swollen.  This happened after normal veterinary hours (of course!) so I took him to the ER vet, where he got a dipenhydramine (Benadryl) injection.  The causative agent is unknown.  That was followed the next night by the start of a case of kennel cough.  When I picked up my phone to email Marsa, I found out his sister also was affected — but then I talked to a friend (who had been in contact with one of her friends), and we all compared notes.  All of us were together in Springfield, so the likeliest cause is that our grown up dogs picked up the bug in Springfield, but being adults, their immune systems fought it off … but the puppies with their immature immune system caught it from the big dogs.

So far Pike’s symptoms have been extremely mild.  I have a prescription for antibiotics from my vet just in case he takes a turn for the worse, but he hasn’t even run a fever or slowed down yet.


This morning he got his first introduction to formal operant conditioning (clicker training) and his nails done by Dremel for the first time.  He fought me for exactly as long as it took for him to understand that if he doesn’t pull back his food when I touch his nails with the Dremel, he would get a piece of turkey.  Then, when he understood how to turn on the turkey dispenser, we got all four paws done in record time.

The big dogs were extremely dismayed that the tiniest dog got a treat for every single nail, because they’ve all been put on one-treat–per-finished-paw.

In socialization, he’s been introduced to:

  • Around 25 people, including adult men and women of all body sizes and ages, men with and without beards, people wearing hats, coats, and glasses
  • Around 10 adult dogs
  • His veterinarian (who did things like taking his temperature and getting him microchipped) and the ER vet
  • Getting a bath
  • Getting his nails done
  • Listening to the vacuum cleaner run in another room
  • Several car trips
  • A visit to our Tuesday night Dungeons and Dragons group
  • Busy Boston city streets and traffic
  • Dishwashers and washing machines


And, finally — liver nosed Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a reputation for being more “wild” than their black nosed counterparts.  I can’t say whether or not that’s true, but … last night, Pike knocked over the wooden gate we use to block off the bottom of the stairs.  All my dogs have done it as least once or twice before, and usually that’s all it takes to teach them to respect the gate.  The noise and the clatter is scary, and we don’t even have to pressure mount the gate because they’ll give it a wide berth wherever we put it.

Well, after he knocked it over, Pike walked across the gate like it was no big thing at all.

I’m still considering what that will mean for the future.

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A solution to yesterday’s algebra problem

Here’s the solution from yesterday.

First, break down the turkeys in ground meat and ground raw meaty bones, adding 18 pounds of ground turkey and 9 pounds of ground raw turkey bones to the inventory.

Next, because Clover’s portions can be sent whole and frozen, set aside the two bags of chicken backs, and 3 tubes of Blue Ridge Beef to send to Amy.  This requires no work on my part.

Third, Loki’s portions can be covered by the food already ground and in tubs (with the exception of the organs), so those also don’t need to be thawed and repackaged.  Set aside six tubs of ground raw meaty bones and 11 tubs of muscle meat for Loki, with the bags and tubes for Clover.  This will take up a whole shelf in your freezer.

That leaves Jackson and Pike, who need to have their food ground, in bags.  One bag per day, per dog, then frozen.  Begin by grinding the 40 pounds of chicken necks at the same time you grind the turkey necks, because you will need a total of 44 pounds of ground raw meaty bones between the two dogs.  Overnight, thaw  24 pounds of muscle meat, 8 pounds of liver, and 8 pounds of kidney.  Grind the liver and kidney together to make an organ glop.

Then it’s just a matter of spooning the right amount of raw meaty bones, muscle meat, and organs into bags, and labelling with the dog’s name.  The remaining organ glop can also be put into tubs to take with Loki.

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Dog Food Freezer May 2014

An apology to my algebra teacher …

You know how, in high school, you were a snotty know it all who challenged your teacher on “When will we ever use this stuff in real life?”

No?  Just me?  Okay.  Whatever.

Anyway, it turns out I totally use algebra every day in real life.  Here’s what I spent a fun hour working on today.

Jackson and Pike will be boarded with Marsa for 14 days.  Clover will be boarded with Amy for 14 days.  Loki will stay with me for the 14 days.

My spreadsheet helps me figure out how much to feed each dog, per day.  Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 2.15.38 PM

(The “other” column is the amount I can feed them of treats, bites of my food, chew items like bully sticks, etc.)

Using those numbers, I can figure out how much I need to send with each dog … but! … the food I have on hand isn’t nicely divided up by ounces.  Some of it is whole, some of it needs to be ground, some of it is ground already, and so on.

40 pounds of raw meaty bones, ground, in 4 pound tubs
40 pounds of chicken necks, whole (these will be ground)
10 pounds of chicken backs, whole, in 5 pound bags
17 pounds of muscle meat, ground, in 1 pound tubs
10 pounds of muscle meat, ground, in 2 pound tubes
10 pounds of liver, whole, in 1 pound bags
15 pounds of kidneys, whole, in mixed weight bags

And I have 3 whole turkeys, which each yield 6 pounds of muscle meat and 3 pounds of ground raw meaty bones.

From all that, I have to figure out how to divide up what, to send with whom. Pike and Jackson’s portions need to be divided into bags — 1 bag, per day, per dog (these will be given to Marsa frozen, who will thaw them as needed prior to feeding).  Marsa will handle dividing the bags into meal portions.  Clover’s portions can be sent whole and frozen — Amy will handle feeding Clover like she feeds her own dogs while she has Clover.  Loki’s portions can be left frozen in tubs and carried in our cooler — his food does not necessarily need to be divided into daily bags.

As an exercise to the reader, given the above data and constraints, how would you handle dividing up this food to (1) make sure everyone has enough food for the 14 days and (2) minimize the amount of work you need to do in thawing and re-packaging food?

I’ll give you my solution tomorrow.

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Taking advantage of the post-holiday turkey prices

First, let me say I’m kicking myself right now for not buying pre-holiday when turkeys were 59 cents per pound.  Even so, I found today the all-natural, no antibiotics, no hormones etc. etc. turkeys were 89 cents per pound, and they had the smallest amount of injected “flavorings” available in the store.  I couldn’t find any that were just straight turkey, sadly.

So, I bought 70 pounds of whole turkey (they averaged about 14 pounds each, and I bought five of them).  Since they were fresh, thankfully I didn’t need to thaw them.  We put three of them in our spare refrigerator (yes, I have one of those, as well as the dog freezer) to be dealt with tomorrow.

The other two turkeys I set to de-boning, using a combination of this (incredibly fascinating) video from chef Jacques Pepin:

and this video from preymodelraw.com.

This was my first time deboning any bird, so I know I left some usable meat behind on the carcass.  That’s okay, it got saved to be turned into poultry stock in the future, so it’s not going to waste.

I found that the two birds I deboned tonight had a yield of about six pounds of muscle meat, and three pounds of grind-able raw meaty bones.  My grinder isn’t up to the task of grinding the larger turkey bones, so I ground the wing tips and first joint of the wings, the tail, and the necks from the giblet bags.  The drumsticks, thighs, and body of the bird got deboned for straight muscle meat, along with the gizzard and heart from the giblet bags.

With a yield of about nine pounds from each fourteen pound bird, that gives me a price of around $1.40/pound for the turkey meat, which is cheaper by 25 cents than the cheapest option from my raw suppliers, so I’m still coming out way ahead.  Extrapolating out my yield, I can expect to get 45 pounds of food from 70 pounds of turkey (and tons of bones left over to make stock for soups).

If you’re wondering why I ground everything, turkey tendons are much, much stiffer than chicken tendons.  I know of a single verified case where the tendon in the wings was implicated in an intestinal puncture, so I err on the side of caution with turkey.  Everything goes through the grinder, even the muscle meat.

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Final Show Results for the Canaan Dog Supershow

Rather than do my normal post-show report, because it’s eight days worth of shows and I wasn’t there for half of them, let me add a summary.  Over the course of two weekends, and through the efforts of a tremendous number of dedicated owners, breeders, and enthusiasts, we ended up with the following:

Bird:  two majors toward her CH (I think she’s at 7 or 8 points)
Clover:  new champion
Poppy:  new champion
Jury:  new champion
Mary Russell: new champion and Best of Breed at The National Dog show (look for her on television Thanksgiving Day following the Macy’s Parade)
Harvest: new champion and one major toward his grand championship
Reen:  new grand champion

All the dogs were amazing, but I want to call some special attention to Harvest (CH Hatikva Harvest Rain at Relic).  Harvey, as he’s affectionately known, is just over a year old, and he finished his championship with very limited showing.  In just seven shows, he’s gone Best in Sweeps at this year’s Canaan Dog National Specialty, he’s gone reserve to a major Specialty weekend, and he finished his championship with four major wins, going Best of Breed from the classes multiple times.  And, he did all this with charm, grace, and good temperament.


Also in Springfield, on Saturday Loki was Reserve Winners Dog to his brother Dante, and Dante won his first major.  This was the first weekend I’ve shown Loki since Clover had her cat fight (followed by ringworm for all three dogs), and he picked right up without missing a beat.  That boy knows his job and really enjoys doing it.

Our last show of the year will be Eukanuba, and Pike will be old enough to head into a 4-6 month special class in January.  Here’s looking forward to great success in shows next year!

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Jackson and Loki

Happy Thanksgiving!

There are so many things I am thankful for in my life right now, including my amazing dogs, who bring so much joy to me every day.

They got the giblets from our turkey as part of their breakfast this morning; the gizzard was the size of my hand, and I split it between Jackson and Loki, Clover got the heart, and I split the six-ounce liver between the three of them.  (Pike is still at Marsa’s house until tomorrow.)

In a few hours, I’ll take the turkey itself out of the brine bath and get him started in the oven, probably right as The National Dog Show begins airing on television.  Side dishes will be very simple this year, and now that I think of it … same thing we had last year.  Mashed potatoes, mashed butternut squash (with maple syrup and bacon), root vegetables with garlic and cranberries roasted in the same roasting pan as the turkey so they catch all the drippings, and a loaf of fresh bread.  Obviously, I don’t have a photo yet of this year’s turkey for you, so here’s our table from last year.

Thanksgiving 2013


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Halfway through the Canaan Dog Supershow

The past weekend in Pennsylvania was just the first of two back-to-back weeks of Canaan Dog majors here on the East Coast.  PA has wrapped up, which means at the end of this week you can look forward to Springfield, MA shows.

Here are the results for PA (registered names found in this post):

WB/BOB:  New CH Clover
RWB: Bird

WB/BOB: New CH Poppy
RWB:  Bird

WB/BOB: Mary Russell (look for her on television Thanksgiving Day)
RWB: Poppy

RWB: Mary Russell

So, we finished the weekend with two new champions, and two more bitches who needed majors, getting them.  Congrats to all the girls, who just survived one of the most difficult show weekends on the east coast, because it’s a televised, benched show, so there are larger crowds than normal for spectating, and there are TV crews and camera equipment and all the other hubbub that comes along with that.

Looking forward to Springfield, there will be Canaans entered Thursday-Sunday again (I will be attending Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).  If you’re in New England and you want to meet a Canaan Dog in person, come see us!

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life is better when your paws are muddy