Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mt Talbert Nature Park Disallows Dogs

   Just a quick note to any of you Oregonians living near Mt Talbert Nature Park and enjoy the park as I do, will find it somewhat disheartening that this park is now a dog free zone. They no longer allow dogs at Mt Talbert Nature Park.  I really used to enjoy taking our Boxer dog “ Scout “ for hikes in this park. I can reach the park in about a five-minute drive from our home, and it really seems as though you are in the deep forest many miles from home when hiking under the tree canopy in this park; I still enjoy this park but will miss bringing my Boxer.

   It seems that this is the way of the future for most state and national parks, to really limit dogs. I am planning to visit some national parks in California this year and in my research have found that dogs are really discouraged for many reasons. Destroying plant-life attracting predators and creating a nuisance is among the top reasons. If you plan on taking your dog on an outing most of the trails in the Columbia River Gorge are still dog friendly to my knowledge. National Forests and Dog Parks are good options as well.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Shedding Doesn’t Have To be A Problem

    There are many hypoallergenic and non-shedding dog breeds to choose from, the Boxer Dog is not one of them. Boxers do shed,  however it is not nearly as big of an issue as with a longhaired breed. Boxer Dogs are considered medium shedders and generally only shed a couple of times a year, although you will find hair falling out at all times it just is very minimal. Boxers don’t really have a thick undercoat like cold weather breeds like Malamutes or Retrievers. Diet is a huge factor in how much your pet will shed. I once tried Costco food with our Boxer and hair fell out in clumps. Good dog food contains polymers and good oils like Omega 3 which really help control hair loss. It is good to note that while all dogs will shed their coats to some degree, coat loss (alopeciais another matter and not a natural occurrence.

   The Boxer Dog requires very little grooming from its owner just an occasional bath and brushing, I also brush his teeth and cut his nails once a month. If you want to keep hair in your home and on the furniture to a minimum I suggest a good brushing once a week. I have found the greatest tool for brushing and extracting dead fur from your Boxers coat. The Furminator Brush is fantastic. It seems as though the hair will never stop coming out while brushing with the Furminator it works that well. After I have brushed our Boxer “ Scout “ for just about 3 minutes I notice a huge improvement on the amount of hair that falls on our clothing and couch. The Furminator has a patented blade technology; it is sharp but never hurts your Boxer Dog. The deluxe model is 4” wide and comes with a hair extractor on the blade that operates with a simple flick of the thumb. The Furminator De-shedding tool is awesome and I highly recommend it. Although this brush is not cheap I think it is well worth the price for a tool that will last for the life of your pet and does the job it ‘s intended for.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Cropped Ear Debate

   Whether or not to crop a Boxer Dogs ears invokes some strong emotions and always has carried with it some controversy. Cropping a Boxers ears goes way back to the early years when this breed was established. One of the reasons of cropping ears on dogs that hunt or fight is to give their opponent less to grab on to during an altercation. Some people also argue that by cropping the ears it will help deter ear mites and prevent having a moist ear canal, this has not been proven however. Breeders today generally still crop the ears and dock tails in an effort to maintain the breed standard. Ear cropping meets with the most scrutiny here in the United States; many believe it is unnecessary and puts the Boxer through much pain and discomfort.

   The process of cropping a Boxer Dogs ears involve surgery on a very young pup and subsequent visits to a veterinary surgeon. A period of 3 weeks is usually prescribed were the breeder or owner will administer disinfectants to the incision marks on the dogs ears. The Boxer will certainly go through considerable discomfort during this period and must wear a cone to protect itself from getting at the surgically altered ears. Unless you plan on showing your Boxer I certainly don’t see the need to have a Boxers ears cropped. In fact I find the look of floppy ears on a Boxer Dog quite cute, although they almost look like a different breed.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Boxer Dog Obstacle Course

 Boxer Dogs are an extremely active breed and to that end need plenty of exercise and human interaction. Boxer Dogs also are known to excel in dog training making a very well behaved and disciplined pet. Some Boxer Dog owners simply can’t get out as much as their pet would require. Maybe there is a physical limitation that prevents the owners from hiking with their pet.  Whatever the reason, I have a great solution for those of you that have yards.
Have you ever considered building or hiring a contractor to build a Boxer dog obstacle or agility course? Boxer Dogs compete in various competitions throughout the world and use such obstacle courses. A dog obstacle course keeps your Boxer healthy, happy and fit.

   Building your obstacle course doesn’t require a lot of carpentry skill. Have fun and get creative. Using old tires, cinderblocks, hula-hoops, scrap-wood, tarps and barrels to name just a few items. Use your imagination and make areas for your Boxer Dog to jump or climb a ramp that teeters then walks through a water obstacle. Try hanging an old Hoola-Hoops by some thin cordage at varying heights in succession. You could also make a jumping wall out of old scrap-wood very similar to that of a Steeplechase in equestrian events. How about weave poles like football players use? You can also add a tire jump with old tires. PVC or CVC pipe make an excellent material in the construction of jump stands. Boxers don’t like dark tunnels, I can’t even get my Boxer to go into a doghouse. When making a tube or tunnel it needs to be light or clear using fabric and not black corrugated waste pipe.

   If you want to spend the money there are online sites that sell pre-made kits that will assemble for an obstacle course. I don’t see spending the money at least until you work with your Boxer Dog on a homemade course. When introducing you Boxer to the course for the first time it may be a bit frustrating. Just because you have built your Boxer a course they often will be resistant in participation. My Boxer “ Scout “ respond very well for treats of almost any kind. You will need to walk your Boxer through the course several times with an enthusiastic load voice coaxing your pet with treats. After repeated practice runs your Boxer will learn to know what all those contraptions are for and he/she will come to look forward to and thrive on the obstacle course you have built.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pet Insurance For A Catastrophic Illness

   If you are a responsible Boxer Dog owner and give your pet premium care you certainly know how expensive a proposition it can be to just maintain a healthy boxer. I strongly recommend getting some type of pet insurance to offset expensive medical bills. What happens when thing go terribly wrong and your Boxer just ingested something that has just created a bowel obstruction, or worse yet gets diagnosed with cancer. Needless to say the veterinarian bills can go through the roof. Pet insurance can help immensely when something catastrophic happens to your Boxer Dog.
   There are many online pet insurance companies and I won’t recommend one over another. I will suggest however to do your homework when choosing a company and more importantly a plan that meets your needs for pet insurance. Remember that not all plans are the same and some veterinarians won’t accept certain plans. There are many limitations and exceptions with pet insurance plans so be careful.
   Another option to be considered is to self insure your Boxer Dog by setting aside monies in a separate account or fund for the sole purpose of covering an expensive procedure at the veterinarians office. It is good to remember that most pet insurance plans only cover catastrophic illness and rarely cover routine care. You must weigh the options financially whether to set aside your own money or to pay an insurance company for a chance the unexpected may happen to your Boxer.
   Making the decision to get pet insurance is not so different than getting life insurance on people. The insurance company tries to minimize risk by putting many stipulations on what may be covered and they are betting on the fact that you stay healthy. You are betting the odds that you will have a disastrous illness or injury making the money spent on insurance well spent. This concept holds true with pet insurance as well.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Best Dog Breed For Hiking

   Many dog breeds can make great hiking companions and for many different reasons. Today we will talk about why the Boxer Dog may or may not make a great hiking dog. The Boxer Dog comes from the working class breed and loves to work. A Boxer Dog has high energy and loves to please his master. Boxer Dogs will do quite well and actually thrive on carrying a dog-pack with some weight in it. Load up your Boxers pack with water, snacks and food, they will then feel very much a part of the hike.
   I have taken our Boxer Dog “ Scout “ on several hikes and he thrives on getting out on the trail. When I am in an isolated area I will take off the dog leash and let him run on ahead. Scout loves to run ahead a few hundred yards then sprint back to me as I am hiking, this way Scout get twice the exorcise.
   Lets look at the downside to hiking with the Boxer Dog. Even though Boxer Dogs are high energy they don’t have a great amount of stamina in comparison to lets say a Siberian Husky. Boxers don’t do well in extreme temperatures either; their tolerances are very similar to humans. On the flip side a breed such as a Retriever or Lab mix will do quite well in cold weather. I have purchased an insulated dog raincoat for Scout from R.E.I. and it works well to keep the chill off.
   I would recommend the Boxer Dog for a hiking companion just be aware of this breed’s limitation. I would call the Boxer Dog a fair weather hiker. I have also learned from experience that if your Boxer is a puller and you get worn out holding him back I have a great suggestion. Using a halter in conjunction with the leash immediately corrected the pulling problem with Scout. The head harness or halter works on the same principle as the when the mother Boxer scolds or keeps in line her offspring by applying pressure to the bridge of the nose. Many people look at a dog halter in use and think that it is cruel but in fact it’s just the opposite. The halter doesn’t hurt at all and works very well. 

               The following recommended items are products I use and work well for me:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Portland Area Dog Parks -Reviews And Directions

Oregon Dog Parks

   Dog Parks are wonderful places to take your pet for many reasons. Oregon has a few good Dog Parks to choose from depending on your needs and location. I will be profiling some Dog Parks that I have visited mainly in the Portland area along with directions and reviews for you to use. All of the Dog Parks will have off-leash areas.

Ø      Hondo Dog Park- Hillsboro, Oregon
Washington County has done a wonderful job with this Dog Park from planning to implementation. This Park is by far the most popular and well managed around the Portland area. There is three-fenced areas: A sandy area is used for wintertime and to let the grass recover from dog abuse in the main larger area and there is also a small area for the very small breeds to hang out and not feel intimated by the larger breeds. This Dog Park has a nice trail that circles the property along with benches and several dispensers that provide Baggies for your dogs business. In terms of popularity I have never seen the park even close to empty. I would give this Dog Park 4 stars. Location: Intersection of 229th Ave and Evergreen Pkwy, Hillsboro, Oregon. Take exit 62a off Hwy 26 go south to Evergreen Pkwy turning north. Turn right on 229th and you have arrived.
Ø      Sandy River Delta Dog Park- Troutdale Oregon
 Also known as Thousand Acre Park. If you are looking for a huge Dog Park for your pooch to run and run this park has 1400 acres. Located just past the Troutdale exit on I-84 take exit 18 at the Sandy River. My Boxer Dog “ Scout “ just loved this park as we could walk clear to the Columbia River. Keep in mind this Dog Park is nothing like Hondo Dog Park in terms of being fenced in and groomed it is more of a rural setting. I would give this park a 3 star rating.
Ø      Happy Valley Dog Park-Happy Valley, Oregon
There is a nice dog park for the residents living in East Clackamas County Located at Happy Valley City Park. This Dog Park has two separate fenced areas one for wintertime use and one for summer; however I have never seen either side completely locked before. This Dog Park has the added benefit of being located within a nice community park complete with trails. When you get tired of standing in the local dog park simply leash your pet and take a nice stroll through the park. This Dog Park is lacking in amenities and you should bring your own water, as none will be provided. I would give this park a 3 star rating.
Ø      Milo Mciver State Park Off-Leash Area- Estacada, Oregon
You will notice I didn’t even call this a Dog Park as it is nothing more than a large plot of land where you may off-leash your pet legally. I would caution however that if your dog is a runner there are no fences and many acres of land to get lost in. The main park road runs through this off-leash area as well so be watchful for cars. I have enjoyed this area mainly because there is an added benefit of being in a State Park. I would give this Dog Park a 1 star rating.
Ø      Mary S Young Off-Leash Area-West Linn, Oregon
Another Off-leash area located off of Hwy 43 between Lake Oswego and West Linn. This dog area can get quite muddy in the winter months and there is no fencing. Water is available as well as bathrooms. I would give this dog area a 2 star rating
Ø      Wilsonville Dog Park- Wilsonville, Oregon
Located at Memorial Park in the City of Wilsonville you will find this quaint little Dog Park complete with chicken wire fence, benches and some shady areas. Once again if you have children with you they can enjoy the nearby play equipment located within this City Park. Located just west of Wilsonville Road and I-5. I would give this Dog Park a 2 star rating.
Ø      North Clackamas Dog Park- Milwaukie, Oregon
This Dog Park is located off of Rusk Rd. and Hwy 224 inside North Clackamas Park. There is one large fenced area that really never gets any recovery and can become quite muddy in the winter months. If you are a Boxer Dog owner like myself then it will interest you to know that once a month on the 3rd Saturday it is Boxer Dog day. No water or other amenities. Bring your own disposal bags. I would rate this Dog Park at 1-½ stars.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Boxer Destroys Man's Yard

   As I have stated in an earlier post, I believe if you want to become a boxer dog owner then you owe it to this breed to provide a yard. Be prepared however to see a transformation from a well manicured lawn to utter bleakness and destruction. As you can see in this photo our yard is beyond ugly thanks to our Boxer dog. We live in Oregon, a state that gets ample rain and to that end it creates a soggy environment that is easily destroyed. I have tried all sorts of remedies like: sand, wood shavings, bark chips, bark mulch ect ect.. Since a Boxer dog is so active and agile they can cut and switch directions on a dime. It’s this cutting that does the most damage along with the constant urination on the grass… grass what’s that? Sometimes it looks as though someone came in and rototilled my entire backyard while I was away.
   If you think about it, dog parks are no different than my yard in that they get destroyed especially in the winter and have to close sections off so they can mend. Some dog parks have a sandy area for the dogs to play in during the winter months. Do not use sand in your own yard unless you want sand tracked in your home constantly.
   Boxer dogs are known to be somewhat destructive when left to their own devices. Being left alone contributes to this deviant behavior. It’s not aberrant behavior it’s what they do. My Boxer dog Scout will chew on any thing left out like: hoses, lawn chairs, hose nozzles, fencing. He especially loves to dig up tree roots to the point that the tree completely dies. On another beautiful episode he tore up yards and yards of landscape fabric that I had painstakingly laid down as a weed barrier.
   I can’t leave Scout alone to wander the house either as he will get into mischief like destroying expensive electrical devices. This is the main reason why he sleeps in his crate nightly.. During the day or any time we are home we simply section off area of the home with baby gates or chairs. Here is a great item that will help you section off your home, the Northstate Superyard Playgate.
   Just make sure you know what you are getting into when you decide on a boxer dog. You may have luck with Boxer dog training. By the way I am open to suggestions on keeping my yard nice while owning a Boxer dog. Just leave your suggestions in the comment box below. Thanks Shawn..