Welcome to The Boxer Dog Stories

Specs Dogs is a collection of boxer dog stories told from the eyes of Brix, the boxer dog. He is also known as the B-Stud. From these boxer stories, we learn of the joys and pains of puppy-hood to adult life. Along the way, boxer dog and owner learn to strengthen their human to canine bond thru training, playing and just being plain silly. Enjoy!

For videos visit: http://www.youtube.com/specs23
Send us your dog stories: leungjcp@gmail.com

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Boxer puppy playing

So today I'd thought I'd try posting a video of Neilynne playing with a boxer. Shy is there too. We are planning to get a boxer and this one is a beauty. He is the most popular dog in the daycare. After deciding on what breed would suit us, the boxer dog came out on top. Enjoy the vid.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Jogging with your dog

Many of us get dogs for different reasons. I was asked by my daycare manager, "What are you looking for in your next dog?" I replied, " The next one has to be energetic." "That's the first time I've ever heard of someone wanting an energetic dog, " she said. Call me crazy but for me, having a dog or being around dogs has got my butt off the couch.

How many of us hate jogging, or exercising for that matter? We shutter at the word or thought of it. We cringe at the sight of sweat. Perhaps a dog can motivate you to get exercise. I personally hate jogging but if you add a dog to the mix, you'll have a great jogging partner! Jogging with your dog can be fun but there are some tips and precautions to be aware of.

1. Jogging with your dog should occur after the age of 1 yrs old. Your dog needs to have strong limbs and bones to endure the forces of high level exercise.

2. Before starting a jogging program, have your doggie vet checked for good health.

3. Never feed your dog a meal before running. Just like when we were kids, we never ate dinner before we swam in the pool. Same with dogs, no food before jogging. Dogs with deep chests like boxers can have bloating issues which are life threatening.

4. Start off jogging short distances to build up your doggie's stamina. Check your dog's body language for signs of tiring. Dogs do have limitations so be aware of any signs of pain or discomfort.

5. Don't jog in extremely hot weather. Dogs get heatstroke before you know it. Do bring your own water so they have a chance to hydrate themselves.

Jogging with your dog is a great opportunity to get some exercise and bond with your dog. Again not all dogs are capable of jogging long distances. If your dog is constantly wrecking the house, running in circles, and just insanely high strung, give them some exercise. Go for a jog and let them expel that energy. I guarantee you a happier, healthier, calm dog and owner.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Basic Puppy Training Rules

Puppy training or dog training can be a very rewarding and fun experience or a stressful and frustrating one. Here are some basic puppy training rules to follow when training your dog.

1. Reward behaviour you want, ignore behaviour you don't want. It's that simple. Behaviours are learned and we, not knowingly, train our dogs bad behaviours. A classic example is when we get home from work, and we get into the house. Fido wants to greet us and what does Fido do? Fido gets on two legs and licks our face while we praise him and say we miss him and love him. It's the beginning to jumping on people and it's not fun if you have kids coming through the door. Trust me, it happened to me. So only reward the behaviour you want whether it be a treat, a click or praise.

2. Be consistent, from what you say to what you do. If you want a well behaved dog, you must be consistent so they know what is expected of them. If the command for the recall is "come", don't have another family member say "let's go" or " over here". It will confuse your dog and success occurs less often.

3. Train to succeed. Do not setup your dog for failure. If you know your dog will not remain in a stay position while in a busy park, then don't train there. You must build your dog's ability incrementally. Small successes will equal greater ones in the end. Failures will set you back further. Keep your training sessions 5-10 minutes long and always end on a positive note.

4. Have patience. Here's an important one. Do not hit or yell at your dog for not getting it right. Maybe we're the ones not doing it right. Let your dog try figuring out what you want them to do. Let them offer you the behaviour you want. If it doesn't happen don't sweat it. Again, reward what you want and your dog will begin to understand, "oh that's what they want me to do."

5. Tone of voice. Dog training should be fun so be happy and sound happy. It should be exciting for your puppy. If you are not feeling the mood to train, then try it another time.

Follow these basic puppy training rules and you will be on your way to having a healthy relationship with your dog.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dead raccoon and squirrel in High Park

Two dogs are now dead from the High Park incident we first heard of yesterday. My heart goes out to the owners. The investigation continues and today police found flax bread with traces of antifreeze in them. What's really strange is that two dead raccoons and a dead squirrel were found in the crime scene as well. One dead raccoon seemed to have been placed at the scene with flowers in it's paws. The other found near a dead squirrel. No word if the two are connected.

Like I said before, how can we, humans be doing this? Let's just hope it's not an act of a human and just maybe it was an honest accident. I pray that the other dogs pull through.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dogs ill after antifreeze poisoning at High Park

I was on my way to work when I heard 5 dogs got ill from antifreeze at the off-leash park in High Park. It is suspected antifreeze was poured into the hydrant that pumps water for the dogs. Police are now under investigation. Apparently the residents have been disputing over the High Park off-leash area. Whatever the case may be, this is cruel. Putting antifreeze in a dogs drinking water is like putting cyanide in a drinking fountain at the local community center. Who could have thought of this let alone act it out? Humans have some serious problems.

When it comes to dogs drinking communal water, I usually bring my own water and bowl for my dog. You just don't know where that water came from or who's been drinking from it. I wouldn't drink water from a public water bowl so I wouldn't expect my dog to do the same. As for off-leash parks, I'm not a big fan of them and I'll tell you why.

Off-leash parks are not supervised, the ones that I know. Unless owners are very experienced and knowledgeable with canine body language, some bad behaviours can be learned. Dogs approaching with direct eye contact, dogs playing too rough and not having a "soft mouth". Dogs are like humans, they are not going to like everyone and they don't have to. Could you stop several dogs if they started to get into a disagreement? Could you get your dog to recall in a situation like that? All right that may be an extreme but it does happen. Not all of our pets are going to be well trained or behaved so I do caution off-leash parks.

Just a final word. Simply put use common sense. Be wary of communal water, if you don't trust it, bring your own water for your dog. Watch over your dog if you go to off-leash parks and teach your dog to have a reliable recall.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pooper Scooper

Like the pic? I found it on the net . It made me want to talk about dog poop and the pooper scooper. C'mon, everyone has their poop story. I'm not insane, I haven't run out of things to write about. What if I told you there are people that are making good coin as a professional pooper scooper. There is a serious market for the pooper scooper business.

Let's face it. No one really likes to pick up poop. I know I end up picking up the poop most of the time in our household. I've picked up hot poop with my bare hands and I have even stepped in poop that somehow ended up in my shoes!!! If you have a small dog...lucky you 'cause the poop is mostly just bullet size. So you can just pick it up and flush it right down the toilet without having to smell. Big dog owners, I hope you have a pooper scooper. If you own a horse....hope you have a dump truck.

I see poop at the daycare all the time but we don't have a pooper scooper. Why is that? I could have used it in my worst poop experience. I had to clean up was after this Australian Shepherd Collie mix. He had finished his class and was out in the main hallway when SPLAT! "...Holy shit! Did someone spill brown paint on the floor or something," I screamed in my head. Total Dog Diarrhea! It would have been worse if it was on the carpet but luckily it wasn't. But in the main hallway? C'mon, people have to enter in that way. At least the owner said sorry. I brought the mop out and took a first pass at the mushy crap. The mop just spread it around. Crap! Literally! So I had to get down on my knees and scrape up the liquid waste with a plastic bag in my hand. Oh god, it smells bad. I made a dash to the dumpster faster than Ben Johnson could say, "I cheetah all the time." If the dog's poop is hard, I'm all right but when it's the liquid stuff, God help me.

If you truly love dogs, you have to love the poop that comes out of their butts. All living things create waste. Too bad they can't use the toilet like humans do. Oh wait, I think I saw a video where a dog was trained to poop and flush the toilet. Anyway, like I said earlier, there are professional pooper scoopers and pooper scooper businesses out there. If you don't want to deal with the mess, give those guys a call. It's a growing opportunity. Want to cash in on poop?

Barkham - A chance for socialization

So today was Barkham and we were excited to enjoy the day outdoors and in the company of dogs and music. It was also a chance for us to introduce Shy (min pin) to new dogs. How would she react when socializing with other dogs?

I'm sure a lot of us pet owners ask ourselves that question. In a previous article I talked about dog socialization and how important it is in developing confidence in a puppy. Again, Shy has a lack of confidence and freaks out at the sight of new dogs. Here's how the day developed.

Barkham wasn't as crowded as a I expected nor did it have the number of dogs I anticipated. Nonetheless, it was a good chance for dog socialization. For the first 45 mins, Shy relentlessly barked at the sight of another dog. We tried calming her down but it was too much for her to handle. We were stressed! We couldn't handle our dog. But something happened as soon as we started to see groups of dogs. It's as if she said, "Great, I can't take all of them on. So I better not make a sound." And she stopped barking. Instead, she became calm and started to sniff the butts of other dogs. (which is a good thing)

She really socialized well with the new dogs. Since going to daycare, her confidence has improved and today was like a breakthough. We left Barkham and headed to another popular location where dogs were. She surprised us by going up to dogs on her own to sniff them out without becoming fearful. At one point, Shy was even able to work on focus exercises with success.

Again, socialization can happen anytime in a dog's life. It is never too late to socialize your dog, but it is more difficult after the critical fear period. Many rescue dogs or stray dogs who never had socialization become great family pets because it is never too late. Who says an old dog can't learn new tricks!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Event: Barkham Sat. June 21.Main St. Markham.(Hwy 7 + Markham Rd.)

This sat. Markham is celebrating The Markham Village Music Festival and of course, there will be a ton of dogs there! If you are thinking about getting a dog, or want to learn more about a breed of dog, there will be many experts, trainers, owners on site. This would be a great opportunity to get out and meet new dogs and people. Barkham is held by "Helping Homeless Pets" http://www.helpinghomelesspets.com/ a non-profit organization to help raise funds for pet rescues.

There will many dogs performing tricks, competing in the first Canine Idol, and also showing off in the Canine Good Neighbor test. Meet dogs that have been rescued and just enjoy the fun, music and the sun. Here is a schedule:

11:00 am : Best Dressed Pet (Parade). Top 5 Best Dressed Pets and their guardians.
11:30 am: Rescue Presentation
12:15 pm: Best Dressed Finals on Main Stage (sponsored by Peppertree Klassics)
1:00 pm: Canine Idol Contest
2:30 pm: Dog Training Demonstration (Presented by Rob Goddard)
3:10 pm: Rescue Presentation
4:00 pm: Entertainment by our Rescue Friends - Hype Muzik

Hope you guys come out and enjoy. Located Markham Rd. and Hwy 7.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Benefits of having a dog

Ever wonder why so many people or families want or have a dog? Besides the fact they are cute and furry (that's another topic for another day), people might unknowingly not realize there are some benefits to having a dog.

According to researchers, there are several benefits of having a dog. Here are some:

1. Owning a pet reduces stress

Having a pet can reduce the stress you feel in your daily life. Take it from me, I've had bad moods or stressful days at work but once I get to the dog daycare, it brings a sense of happiness and calmness to my life. Why? Because the dogs don't care if you just failed a test, or missed a deadline, they are still there licking at you, trying to get close to you, wanting to please you, even at your darkest days. People with dogs are less depressed. I read an article of how men with AIDS who do not own pets were three times more likely to report symptoms of depression over men who had AIDS but owned pets.

2. Having a dog reduces your blood pressure and cholesterol

Stress and blood pressure go hand in hand. Less stress means lower blood pressure, lowered heart rates. Maybe I should let my mom know about his one. (she doesn't like dogs but has high cholesterol) Again studies have shown, pet owners not only have lowered blood pressure but also have decreased levels of blood triglycerides and cholesterol. Why do you think we have therapeutic dogs working at hospital? They help to increase survival rates and decrease recovery time of patients after surgery. Amazing if you think about it. How can a living thing, that doesn't talk have such benefits to our health?

3. Dogs motivate you to become active and to exercise

It's a chain of logical events. People have lowered blood levels, are less stressed because dogs make you exercise! Taking a dog out for a walk should be a daily thing. We all know walking is a good form of exercise and what better way to get into shape than by walking the dog. Personally I have been looking for a dog to jog with, and I hate jogging. Having a dog with me to jog with makes it all worth while.

4. Dogs allow for social interaction

People with dogs appear more approachable. I was watching a program called Cell Dogs where dogs were introduced to people in prison. These were people who had life sentences and people you thought could never feel any emotion. The prisoners were to take care of the dogs. Everyone in the the Cell Dog program noticed other inmates approach them to interact. Something they normally would not have done before. Having the dog made these people more approachable. I have had several people come to me and ask questions about the dog while on our walks. They seem like they sneak up from behind me sometimes! It's a great way to meet and greet new people.

Of course you may be thinking, I have a dog and I don't see these benefits. Or I have a dog and it's just the laziest thing you've ever seen. In any case, having a dog shouldn't be a burden to your life. It should enhance it. If a dog is burdening your life, it's probably not the right time for you to own a dog. Show a little love to your dogs, and you will get lots of love in return.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dog Socialization

So today I want to talk about dog socialization. It's something owners hear over and over again. What does socialization mean? Simply put, it means learning to behave willingly according to standards accepted by society.

Dogs have a sensitive period from around the age of 3-12 weeks where their impressions of people, other dogs or various environments are long lasting. Today in our "High Anxiety" class, I experienced what lack of socialization could mean not only to dog, but to human. "Shy" our min pin missed out on some things during the critical socialization period. She is great with humans but with other dogs on leash, she says, "...get the @#$! away from me..." She will bark, she will lunge, she will do whatever it takes to get that creepy creature away from her. Of course we also indirectly taught her that by doing those things, the creepy creature goes away 'cause we remove her from the situation. Or we also taught her to continue barking since we were almost barking ourselves. "Stop it Shy! Quiet! No! No Barking! Stop it!"

For the human, it is a stressful situation. Our blood rises, our heart pumps faster. How am I going to stop this? It can be overwhelming. In our case, the lack of socialization means lack of confidence. A walk in the park can mean several outbursts at the sight of bicycles, skateboards, buses and trucks. We start feeling ashamed and lost because we do not have control of our own dog. Hope is not all lost. It is never too late for dog socialization.

On a good note, she has gotten better. We socialize her at the doggie daycare, she is in class now, and we are constantly working on her focus. Dog socialization doesn't stop after the 12 weeks of puppyhood. It continues for the lifetime of the dog. Many think socialization is for big dogs because they are bigger and pose more of a danger because of their size. Little dogs are no exception. Socializing your dog can give you many happy years with your dog or many stressful ones. I rather choose to have happier years.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dog recall or come command

The importance of the dog recall or come command became evident to me when the family dog ran off leash towards the park. Of course we called her to come back, made all the hissy, kissy noises we could but she kept walking. "...Shy come!....Come girl....come on...now!..." My wife behind me was freaking out. " Oh my god...run after her...she's
running away! " Walking turned into jogging. Jogging turned into running! Her recall was non-existent. Sure, she was able to do the recall happily inside the house. Outside, no way. We chased her past the park, then she was headed towards the intersection. She crossed the road....and then into the intersection....we basically stopped traffic and I finally caught her, my blood boiling and heart pounding. Who's fault was it? Of course ours. We should have worked on the come or recall more especially with distractions. That's the importance of the come command.

The come command should always be a happy experience for our dogs. It's the first thing we teach in obedience classes. As owners, we should never punish our dogs when they come towards us especially if we were working on the wait or stay commands. We want our dogs to learn that coming to us is a rewarding, safe and happy thing. We get our dogs to perform the recall by treats, toys or even clapping our hands. I like to get our dog to sit in front of me and focus on me before I touch her collar and give praise. If our dogs don't learn anything else, the come command or recall could be a life saver.

Dogs detect cancer

Dogs never cease to amaze me. We hear of incredible stories of how dogs save the lives of humans and how they have an unexplainable sense of knowing something is wrong. Almost 10yrs ago I was watching a show called "Miracle Pets". It's a show about the bond between human and pet. In one episode, a lady and her yellow lab were sitting on the couch. She was doing crossword puzzles when all of a sudden, the lab bit her breast. She yelled from the painful act. "He's never done that before," she explained. Two weeks later she had her annual physical, and was told she had breast cancer. It was in the early stages and immediately began treatments. I remember her saying on the show, "....he (the dog) was trying to tell me something was wrong. He saved my life..." Truly amazing that dogs could even detect something like that.

In further studies, researchers have tried to examine a dogs' ability to detect cancer. From the British Medical Journal, a study was performed with 6 dogs, all of which had no scent training before. Over a 7 month period, the dogs were trained to smell urine samples from bladder cancer patients, to healthy individuals and individuals with other types of diseases. The dogs consisted of 3 spaniels, 1 labrador, 1 mixed breed and 1 papillion.

The dogs were given a set of 7 urine samples and had to identify the cancerous one by lying down in front of it. All samples were new to the dogs. The dogs were able to detect the cancer urine 22 out of 54 times. A 41% chance compared to a 14% chances if the dogs were to randomly pick a sample. Perhaps the most interesting finding to this study is all 6 dogs identified a sample as cancerous from one of the healthy patients. Doctors followed up on the patient several weeks after and discovered the patient did have cancer.

Could this mean that dogs are able to detect cancer even before machines can? It is definitely something I believe in. Is it 100%...no...but if it gives us a better chance or gives us another tool to fight this deadly disease, we all would benefit from this. Our dogs are not only our beloved friends, but could one day be our saviours too.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Top 5 reasons to get a Boxer Dog

My wife and I love Boxers. For the longest time we could not agree on a breed until we visited some boxers at the local dog daycare.  Here are some reasons why we love them.

1.  They love and crave human companionship.  They will find their way in your lap even though they are not considered a lap dog.

2.  They have a lot of energy, are athletic and make good jogging partners.  We love the outdoors and we are very active ourselves.

3.  Natural clowns as they are known for their humorous antics and kidney bean wiggle.

4.  A good medium sized dog,  not too small to break your back and not too big for apartment living.

5.  Short hair equals easier grooming maintenance.

I know I'm missing a lot of other reasons but those are the quick ones that come to mind.  

Thursday, June 12, 2008

All Breed Dog Show

The all breed dog show is a great way to meet the breeds, or at least see the breed standards. Some people get anal so word of advice, ask before you touch or take photos of a dog you like. No one wants their 1 hour grooming work go out the window by spectators putting their hands on their dog and going "..what a good doggie...yes you are!.." But from all the dog shows I have been to, all the people have been friendly. Here are some shots to enjoy from a couple dogs shows in Markham, Ontario.

Touch Command

Today was a busy day in training dog manners. I'm glad people are taking responsibility and learning how to become better owners.

One command we teach is the "touch" command. I never really understood this one at first. I never see it in books really. We start off by allowing our dog to touch the palm of our hand by placing our hand in front of the dog's face, leaving about a 2-3 inch gap. A treat is actually held in the palm by using the thumb. No command is given at first. Your dog should naturally be interested and touch your thumb or palm. Treat instantly and praise.

So why do we teach this? It's actually the beginning stages to many focus exercises, it's the start of teaching your dog to go away from you, and it's really a good way to teach your dog that hand touch is a good thing! It's also the first stages of how therapy dogs learn to close doors, turn on lights and even push the numbers on a phone. It's really amazing what dogs can do if we train them right.

How much is that doggie in the window?

How many times have you heard this one. "...that dog is so cute. Let's get this one....please...." Ya, I know, dogs are cute, and they tug at our heart strings. We tend to make that impulse buy, it happens to all of us. But with a dog, you just can't return it if you don't want it. Well sometimes you can, but for the most part, it doesn't happen often. I have a friend who purchased a dog, mainly because his girlfriend wanted one. It was the cutest little thing. It would curl up in your lap and snuggle with you while you watch tv. The friendliest dog...until it started to poop all over the place and didn't know what to do. Then came the barking 'cause it was in her crate for 8 hrs a day and the chewing of furniture just pushed them overboard. They had to re-home the dog @16wks. I cannot stress the importance of researching the dog breeds. Not only researching by reading, I mean going out to the shows, doggie daycares, talk to breeders and owners and find out. You're not going to buy a car without knowing it's history, reputation and performance? Would you? Too many good dogs end up on the streets because people just didn't know what to expect. If you're getting a dog, please use common sense and find out what you're getting yourself into. In this way, you and your dog will be happy for it, for the next 10+ years.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Welcome to Specs Dogs


Specs Dogs, is a place where anyone can come visit and express opinions, personal experiences and stories of their canine companions. As a dog lover, I love to hear or read about owners and their experiences with their dogs. I thought this would be a great place to learn about the human and canine bond. Growing up as a kid, I was told dogs are dirty, dangerous creatures and just a hassle to deal with. They can't speak to you so why waste your time and money on them. Now that I am older, and have many dog experiences, I cannot image a day in my life without their companionship and love.

Please enjoy.

Jason Leung

First Time

First time blogging.  This is a test