Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Brana and Lukka are three weeks old today.
Here is an edited photo. (Remember, you can click on it to enlarge it.) Both pups have now opened their eyes a bit although I doubt they can see distinctly yet. The "blaze" pup just opened her eyes this morning so they are still kind of squinty.
(I have more photos from this morning. If you email me, I'll be happy to send them along privately: - email@example.com )
Today for the first time I noticed them playing together - although I think I sometimes hear them playing in the middle of the night - they sleep next to my bed. Soon that will changed and they will be moved into a larger nesting box. As their muscular coordination develops, I expect the play to be longer lasting and not quite so clumsy. They are too funny! Halfway through an attack, they both fall asleep.
We had a bit of a SNAFU. I ordered gene testing through VetGen in nearby Ann Arbor, Michigan done on the girls to see if either carried the b-gene for chocolate-brown. I paid extra to have the process expedited but somehow the fast-tracking got lost along the way and we are still waiting for the results.
I apologize to the families who are waiting to hear how things turned out!
VetGen has generously canceled the extra cost and promised to expedite the tests. That's why I keep going back to them and recommending them to others. They are pleasant and work hard to get things right! They always return my phone calls or emails promptly.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
One of the pups opened her eyes today. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)
There's so much to see in this big world. Exciting times lay ahead for the two of them! Kria is leaving them alone more and more often. The other dogs have all now had a chance to smell the new arrivals. Kria watches them like the excellent mother she is but at least she is now more tolerant of their presence.
Mom's appetite is huge to fuel the rapid growth of the kids.
Third week birthday is approaching!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Happy birthday! The pups are one week old today! They are gaining weight and becoming more adventurous. They spend a little less time with Kria and often wander away from her, they look like they are swimming, as if to explore their whelping box. Of course their eyes are still closed but their sense of smell has developed and they 'recognize' familiar friendly animals like mom, Kata and me. Occasionally they even sleep a few inches away from mom. Kria is slightly less protective and spends more time simply gazing at them. Soon they will be playing with one another.
Monday, March 23, 2009
The girls got their OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) hip test results for hip dysplasia today and both are OFA Good. These are preliminary results and should be repeated when they are two years old. Probably we will not be doing that. The prelimnary results correspond nicely with results from the age of two and we've already got the PennHIP results. Now we just have to find the time and the money to do the CERF eye tests.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
An absolutely gorgeous spring day! All's right with the world. (Clicking on the photos enlarges them. Do it!)
Snowdrops (Galanthus sp.) have been blooming for about a week now.
The winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) have been going full force for about a month.
What I love about both plants is that they self-seed if left to their own devices. The snowdrops have localized in the back of the yard. The winter aconite have spread to almost everywhere. Amazing plants; they appear months before the crocus.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Vinlands Sigga in Switzerland has just produced her first litter.
I am looking forward to seeing photos of the puppies as they grow. I am so proud of Petra and Sigga's accomplishments.
You can visit her website by going to http://www.icelandicsheepdoginternationalbreeders.com/
Copy and paste that into your browser and then look for Tara Woods and click on that.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Vinlands Totty (top photo) and Vinlands Piaf (Pila) had their PennHIP HD tests done recently. Totty scored L=0.51, R=0.60; Pila scored L=47, R=0.37.
The median score for the 96 Icelandics tested so far is 0.50.
Totty is on the down side of the median score of 0.50.
Pila is in the up side of the median score.
Totty and I need to find an acceptable mate whose score is better than hers.
Pila, because she is on the better side of the median 0.50 score, is a good bitch to improve our average score here. I will still try to find a mate with a better score than hers.
Another way to approximate where they are: -
Totty's scores might compare to an OFA evaluation of Fair-Normal or HD-Fri B.
Pila's scores might compare to an OFA evaluation of OFA-Excellent to OFA-Good or HD-Fri A1/A2.
Korpur and Kria had two black/white female puppies born in the early morning on Tuesday, March 17, 2009.
They are both doing fine and growing well. Kria is protecting them from the other dogs in the pack for now. Only Kata is allowed brief visits; they are best friends.
They are being tested for the presence of the b-gene (the chocolate-brown gene). Kria is a carrier and has one copy of the recessive gene from her mother, Thordunu Eyja in Iceland, who is a chocolate-brown bitch. Each puppy has a 50% chance of inheriting the gene.
I'm hoping at least one of the puppies will also be a carrier.
If you are interested in adopting one of these lovely girls, please drop me a line at: - firstname.lastname@example.org or copy and paste the puppy questionnaire from February 2009 located on this blog site.
Korpur and Kria's last litter together two years ago produced some wonderful dogs.
Friday, March 6, 2009
I try to find balance in my life. There is so much bad happening now and yet there are still so many wonderful people I have met on line and long time close friends who have a positive outlook on life. They have helped and supported me during some of the trying times I've had lately when I've felt so alone.
The "Good Helga" (above) is such a good friend. Although I have never met her in person and probably never will, she is always just an email away. Our correspondence over the years takes me away from my problems. We have shared both good and bad news and I appreciate her. I can always talk with her about our dogs.
I recently ran across this old quote from The Enterprise. (I think it's from the Next Generation with Patrick Stewart.) "Whenever a group of people believe they are better than others, the results are always the same."
I am sick of some of the politicians in this country (and probably other countries as well), bankers, insurance people, Wall Street types, mortgage folks, a few religious leaders, etc. and their self-serving behaviors.
What is happening to our economy here and to retirement savings is devastating to me and my friends - the people who were supposed to protect us are not doing their job.
I recently re-read The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope. Trollope and Dickens continually remind me that what is happening now is not unique. It has all happened before. Why do we let them do those bad things? Human nature is most interesting. Dickens and Trollope give me perspective. The results ARE the same. 150 years later we repeat the same bad and good behaviors. We seem not to learn from history.
Good people like Helga are still there for me and I truly appreciate them. I think most people are "good". I rarely give appropriate thanks to them. I am woefully remiss.
On the advice of a friend, I started analyzing why and when my dogs bark.
Here's some preliminary ideas: - They all bark for different reasons.
Huld, my oldest, barks to let me know that she understands something. She also barks to discipline the others. Really.
Kata barks for a reason - a squirrel or something in her territory. Most of the time she doesn't bark.
Korpur barks when he's excited or proud of himself. He also does not bark often. He's too regal, he thinks.
Kria is a pointless barker, like her daughter Totty.
Totty goes out the door barking and continues all around the yard. She barks at nothing and everything. I call her and her mother pointless barkers because there is no reason that I can ever see for the barking. With her collar on, she almost never barks now. - but she does give me some pure evil looks! Both of them also seem to get very excited and assertive towards the others when they get on a barking jag. I do not leave Totty's collar on all the time.
Pila rarely barks - never in the house. She does bark when she's at school if other dogs, usually big ones, like Rotties, Black Russians, GSDs and Dobes, start. She is also Kria's daughter and I'm glad that she, at least, did not inherit that gene.
A very good friend suggested that I try electronic bark training collars. I was reluctant at first but the collar she recommended can deliver a vibration as a warning and then either a short electric shock or a long electric shock. The strength of the vibration or shock can be regulated. There is a digital read-out screen on mine so I know the strength of the vibration/shock.
There is a remote control hand held device that controls 1. the vibration or shock and 2. the quick shock or longer shock plus 3. the strength of the reaction on the collar.
I have found the vibration - which is harmless, of course - to be more effective than a shock. Surprisingly. It must be more irritating - maybe because they have tender tracheas??
Totty almost never barks when her collar is on. She knows when it's on. It only took her two or three times to figure that out. If she does bark, the vibration stops it and she comes running back to me.
The batteries of my collars and hand device are rechargeable.
They are expensive. The company produces many models at various prices and you can choose one that meets your needs. I love mine mostly because there are so many options when using it.
My collars are "dogtra 280NCP Platinum Series". I thnik you can Google it. I talked with w very nice knowledgeable lady by phone before buying one and got what I needed. Again, expensive but I do not want my very tolerant neighbors to ever have to complain.
Many people refuse to talk about this behavior problem in Icelandics. The barking has been bred in for centuries because barking is a herding thing. Some dogs bark very little (Level One). Some dogs bark about as much as any average dog (Level Two). However some dogs bark lots (Level Three) and may even nip - that's also a herding thing. (The collars can discourage that as well.) I suppose it's possible to breed the barking gene 'down' a bit. I believe that two Level Three barkers should never be bred together. (I just made up those levels but I think that might work and explain some things.)
I would call Huld, Kata, Korpur Level Two barkers. Pila is a Level One. Although Kria and Totty only bark outside, I would still call them Level Three barkers.
I have only been using the collars for a few weeks.
On another related note, I trained Huld and Kata and Korpur to bark less by starting early and being consistent long before I had even heard of collars. It took months to reduce their barking but I was persistent and it worked. My point here is that training should work except with the small percentage of pointless barkers. This is not a 'yappy' breed.
All bets are off when company comes to the door. There's three minutes of chaos followed by tranquility.
Every breed of dog has good and not-so-good things about their health and temperament. Icelandics are no exception. This issue is not a biggie, in my opinion. The unconditional love and their amazingly friendly temperaments far outweigh any negative issues.
I have a sign that says, "If you don't like dogs, why are you here?"
I am grateful that my friend recommended the collars. They saved my dogs and my sanity. She also uses them when she takes her dogs for walks.