I don't spay or neuter until the dog's growth plates are closed. In our breed, that is generally between 12-15 months of age. With our young girl (well, she's almost 7 now) her 15-month X-rays showed that she wasn't quite there, so we waited until 19 months of age for her.
Tuesday night I fed the pack their dinner and everything was normal. Pippin was prancing about, ate his dinner with great enthusiasm, and was acting perfectly normal. When I called him in at bedtime, he didn't come. Finally we found him, standing still, clearly in agonizing pain.
We sat with him through the night, ready to take him to E-vet if it looked like he was bloating. Yesterday morning DH took him to our regular vet, and the news wasn't good. Imaging revealed a mass easily 5 inches in diameter, wrapped around his spleen, constricting his intestines, and pushing on his heart. So sudden and out of nowhere.
The first words out of my mouth, in the darkened X-ray room, as the reality of the situation hit me, were "you're supposed to get more than 10 years."
We said our goodbyes and Pippin's last moments were in the arms of the people who loved him.
Hold your pups a little tighter...you never know if you will get another chance.
I've not used the toe grips, but have heard of others using them with success. One thing to remember is that with or without the toe grips, you still have to keep the nails trimmed, the shorter the better. Many breeds, mine included, grow quite a bit of hair between the pads of their feet. Keeping it trimmed flush with the footpads will also help with slipping on tile and vinyl.
An overweight dog is going to have more problems as it ages with staying on its feet.
Finally, the slipping in a senior dog may be a symptom of IVDD, DM, or a variety of other unpleasant realities of aging pets. Been there, it's horrible.
If you want to see crazy sheep try working Cheviots or Barbados.
We have worked both, and crosses of both with other breeds. Never really had any problems except for a few Barbs that tried to fly. The facility where we train has a Kathadin flock that varies from year-to-year...this year's was not very good, and at the end of the spring trial season saw a lot of them going to market!
I have a good friend with a small flock of Barb/Dorper crosses that are pretty nice to work.
The sheep that have caused me the most pain were a set of St Croix...big idiots.
We don't condemn our breed of sheep based upon the crazy/undesirable behavior of some sheep; we look at that the family line (nature/genetics) and how it was handled (nurture).
Crazy sheep? You don't happen to have Kathadins, do you? ;)
In following this thread, I only have one thing to add. I've been training dogs for a little over 30 years now, and I've got a pretty good read these days for which dogs might possibly be dangerous. My first clue? The owner.
Like so many products, it's so important to follow the directions on the package. Hopefully you get yours before the noise really starts..we will start hearing fireworks tonight, unfortunately.
The idea behind the Thundershirt is that the feeling of being "hugged" is comforting and calming. BUT....the dog needs a chance to associate the feeling with the shirt and other happy things. Put it on for a few minutes at a time, a few days in a row, when there is nothing around to create anxiery. If you wait till the fireworks start and then cram a dog into a tight-fitting jacket, you have just taught him to associate the jacket with the scary noises.
There are a lot on the market.
On the economy end, there's this one
The Snoozer line costs a bit more, but are very versatile, and well made. They have everything from open bicycle basket carriers, to convertible backpack-to-rolling luggage type carriers.
Single-coated breeds (poodles, yorkies, wheaten terriers, etc) can be shaved with no ill effects. When you shave a double-coated dog, you are doing much more harm than good. The answer is to keep the dense undercoat combed out. Yes, it is time consuming. It's part of the "cost of doing business" of owning a double-coated dog, though.
Why you should not shave a double-coated dog.