Thursday, June 30, 2011

DNA - Vizslas and Cancer Research

The CHCC (Canine Hereditary Cancer Consortium) is an unprecedented alliance of researchers, veterinarians, physicians and dog owners who are taking advantage of new genetic resources and technologies to learn how the DNA of dogs affected with cancer varies from that of the DNA of healthy, unaffected dogs.
No dogs are kept for research; we use only samples from dogs with naturally occurring disease. This research is funded by the National Cancer Institute as well as by corporate sponsorship.

Vizslas are currently included in two of our studies: melanoma and lymphoma. Samples from affected dogs stored at the CHIC repository have been utilized, along with samples submitted by Vizsla owners directly from their affected dogs.

All samples are strictly confidential; no identifying information about dogs or owners is ever released or published.

We also need samples from healthy Vizslas who do NOT have either melanoma or lymphoma, to serve as controls. We will be happy to send buccal (cheek brush) DNA collection kits at owners’ request. The kits are very user friendly, easy to do at home, and include prepaid return mailers.

To participate in the study, please email the following information to Dr. Roe Froman DVM :

Owner’s name:


Names of your pure bred vizslas available for cheek swab sampling

Your participation is needed to help us develop new genetic screens, diagnostic tests, and treatments for canine cancers, as well as helping us to gain insight into the biology of human disease. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

 Last year, I participated in the DNA testing of "the pointing gene" by the same group in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Very good people who have great love for our canine companions.  Do it if you can.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bailey and Chloe Outfox foxtails!

In the San Francisco Bay Area, a visit to the vet for removal of a foxtail in the nose runs about $600.
"Really dad?  I have to wear this in public?"
  There is a joke of a vet wearing a golden foxtail necklace because they make so much money from this wild field weed.

OutFox mesh head protection was tested by Catherine and me on Bailey, Chloe, and Tony for a one-hour bike ride and field run and pond swim.

Now with this headgear, fields and trails that have been off limits from May to August open up to us again.

excuse the wind noise in the video.

Two thumbs up on Outfox.

If you buy Outfox, let them know redbirddog sent you.

They can even swim in them.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dog Trekker - California dog friendly travel

I have linked this new link to redbirddog.  I really like the way the site is put together and its mission statement.

"Welcome to, fun for dogs and the humans who follow.

 DogTrekker is a collaborative effort of dog lovers who want to share what they've learned during 200 combined years of on-the-road and on-the-trail adventures.

We've checked out the best places in Northern California for you and your pup to stay, eat, hike, swim and play.

 Please explore our site, sign up for our weekly newsletter and be sure to take us along on your next DogTrekking adventure.

Our Mission and DogTrekker, the weekly newsletter, are on a mission. We pledge to provide our readers with countless ideas for dog-friendly adventures. We also pledge to support the unselfish and tireless work performed by founders and volunteers of dog rescue shelters and organizations throughout Northern California.

DogTrekker's support for rescue organizations and shelters includes visibility in the newsletter and on the site, with technical and financial support to be extended as we grow. Our goal is to make a difference in the number of dogs entering shelters and rescues, and to assist those already there in finding good homes.

Our support further extends to organizations advocating for dog-access rights in our cities and on our public lands. "Leash Wars" currently are being waged on a number of fronts in Northern California. At risk are many on—and off-leash—privileges long enjoyed in our national, state and regional parks. We at DogTrekker will be following the news, updating our site and letting you know about public meetings and other ways to get involved."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nothing in Life is Free - Training Method


The below information I had heard of about two years ago.  Found that Bailey and Chloe both respond well to this type of training around the house and in the field. 

"Undesirable behavior can be caused by many things, including undetected illness. No behavior modification program should begin without first taking the dog to a veterinarian for a complete physical examination. While you're there, give your vet a printed copy of this page and ask if it would be an appropriate technique for you to try. The NILIF program is an accepted standard in dog training/behavior but it is not, and is not intended to be, a substitute for an in-person, professional evaluation of your dog's behavior. This technique is intended for dogs in good health and of sound mind and stable temperament.

The NILIF program is remarkable because it's effective for such a wide variety of problems. A shy, timid dog becomes more relaxed knowing that he has nothing to worry about, his owner is in charge of all things. A dog that's pushing too hard to become "top dog" learns that the position is not available and that his life is far more enjoyable without the title.

It is equally successful with dogs that fall anywhere between those two extremes. The program is not difficult to put into effect and it's not time consuming if the dog already knows a few basic obedience commands. I've never seen this technique fail to bring about a positive change in behavior, however, the change can be more profound in some dogs than others. Most owners use this program in conjunction with other behavior modification techniques such as coping with fear or treatment for aggression. It is a perfectly suitable technique for the dog with no major behavior problems that just needs some fine tuning.


The program begins by eliminating attention on demand. When your dog comes to you and nudges your hand, saying "pet me! pet me!" ignore him. Don't tell him "no", don't push him away. Simply pretend you don't notice him. This has worked for him before, so don't be surprised if he tries harder to get your attention. When he figures out that this no longer works, he'll stop. In a pack situation, the top ranking dogs can demand attention from the lower ranking ones, not the other way around. When you give your dog attention on demand you're telling him that he has more status in the pack than you do. Timid dogs become stressed by having this power and may become clingy. They're never sure when you'll be in charge so they can't relax. What if something scary happens, like a stranger coming in the house? Who will handle that? The timid dog that is demanding of attention can be on edge a lot of the time because he has more responsibility than he can handle.

Some dogs see their ability to demand attention as confirmation that they are the "alpha", then become difficult to handle when told to "sit" or "down" or some other demand is placed on them. It is not their leadership status that stresses them out, it's the lack of consistency. They may or may not actually be alpha material, but having no one in the pack that is clearly the leader is a bigger problem than having the dog assume that role full time. Dogs are happiest when the pack order is stable. Tension is created by a constant fluctuation of pack leadership.


Your dog already knows that he can demand your attention and he knows what works to get that to happen. As of today, it no longer works, but he doesn't know that yet. We all try harder at something we know works when it stops working. If I gave you a twenty dollar bill every time you clapped your hands together, you'd clap a lot. But, if I suddenly stopped handing you money, even though you were still clapping, you'd clap more and clap louder. You might even get closer to me to make sure I was noticing that you were clapping. You might even shout at me "Hey! I'm clapping like crazy over here, where's the money?". If I didn't respond at all, in any way, you'd stop. It wasn't working anymore. That last try -- that loud, frequent clapping is an extinction burst. If, however, during that extinction burst, I gave you another twenty dollar bill you'd be right back in it. It would take a lot longer to get you to stop clapping because you just learned that if you try hard enough, it will work.

When your dog learns that the behaviors that used to get him your attention don't work any more he's going to try harder and he's going to have an extinction burst. If you give him attention during that time you will have to work that much harder to get him turned around again. Telling him "no" or pushing him away is not the kind of attention he's after, but it's still attention. Completely ignoring him will work faster and better.


As the human and as his owner you have control of all things that are wonderful in his life. This is the backbone of the NILIF program. You control all of the resources. Playing, attention, food, walks, going in and out of the door, going for a ride in the car, going to the dog park. Anything and everything that your dog wants comes from you. If he's been getting most of these things for free there is no real reason for him to respect your leadership or your ownership of these things. Again, a timid dog is going to be stressed by this situation, a pushy dog is going to be difficult to handle. Both of them would prefer to have you in charge.

To implement the NILIF program you simply have to have your dog earn his use of your resources. He's hungry? No problem, he simply has to sit before his bowl is put down. He wants to play fetch? Great! He has to "down" before you throw the ball. Want to go for a walk or a ride? He has to sit to get his lead snapped on and has to sit while the front door is opened. He has to sit and wait while the car door is opened and listen for the word (I use "OK") that means "get into the car". When you return he has to wait for the word that means "get out of the car" even if the door is wide open. Don't be too hard on him. He's already learned that he can make all of these decisions on his own. He has a strong history of being in control of when he gets these resources. Enforce the new rules, but keep in mind that he's only doing what he's been taught to do and he's going to need some time to get the hang of it all.

You're going to have to pay attention to things that you probably haven't noticed before. If you feed your dog from your plate do you just toss him a green bean? No more. He has to earn it. You don't have to use standard obedience commands, any kind of action will do. If your dog knows "shake" or "spin around" or "speak" use those commands. Does your dog sleep on your bed? Teach him that he has to wait for you to say "OK" to get on the bed and he has to get down when you say "off". Teach him to go to his bed, or other designated spot, on command. When he goes to his spot and lays down tell him "stay" and then release him with a treat reward. Having a particular spot where he stays is very helpful for when you have guests or otherwise need him out of the way for a while. It also teaches him that free run of the house is a resource that you control. There are probably many things that your dog sees as valuable resources that I haven't mentioned here.

The NILIF program should not be a long, drawn out process. All you need to do is enforce a simple command before allowing him access to what he wants. Dinner, for example, should be a two or three second encounter that consists of nothing more than saying "sit", then "good dog!", then putting the bowl down and walking away.


Now that your dog is no longer calling the shots you will have to make an extra effort to provide him with attention and play time. Call him to you, have him "sit" and then lavish him with as much attention as you want. Have him go get his favorite toy and play as long as you both have the energy. The difference is that now you will be the one initiating the attention and beginning the play time. He's going to depend on you now, a lot more than before, to see that he gets what he needs. What he needs most is quality time with you. This would be a good time to enroll in a group obedience class. If his basic obedience is top notch, see about joining an agility class or fly ball team.


 The NILIF concept speaks to who initiates the attention (you!), not the amount of attention. Go ahead and call your dog to you 100 times a day for hugs and kisses!! You can demand his attention, he can no longer demand yours!

Within a day or two your dog will see you in a whole new light and will be eager to learn more. Use this time to teach new things, such as 'roll over' or learn the specific names of different toys.

If you have a shy dog, you'll see a more relaxed dog. There is no longer any reason to worry about much of anything. He now has complete faith in you as his protector and guide. If you have a pushy dog he'll be glad that the fight for leadership is over and his new role is that of devoted and adored pet."

©1999 Deb McKean 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Father's Day

This song came out last fall.  The week my first granddaughter was born. 

The two grandmothers showing me our latest grandson, Sam.

Bailey meets his new son

Now for something on the lighter side of fatherhood

Lament of a Stud Dog

My job is making puppies, and I get two tries at that.

They pat me on the head and say ‘good boy’ – and that, is that.
Its half my job to give ‘em teeth and top lines,

fronts and other,
remember it’s only half my job, they also have a mother.

It’s NOT my job to carry pups and make ‘em grow
 and nurse ‘em, and feed and clean and make ‘em strong, that’s for the mother and her person.

It’s not my job to wean - and feed the calcium and food,
and stack and gait and housebreak, and make ‘em showing brood.
It’s NOT my job, to plan the breeding and learn what produces well,

to study pedigrees, learn what’s there and pick out what to sell.

It’s NOT my job to guarantee champs,
 - the breeder picks the pair.
To mate, and whelp, and feed, and show,
 and HOPE the champ is there.

It’s NOT my job to be on hand, when points are given out,

the breeder, owner, dam and friends take credit, with a shout.

It’s NOT my job to deliver a win, it’s only genes I sell.

But, let the puppies turn out BAD,
and guess who catches HELL!!

Happy Father's Day to all you fathers

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Vizsla Saturday Bath

My two Vizslas get a bath very rarely.  Some of my friends, who own Vizslas, will bathe the dogs after every walk in the hills.  The dogs run through poison oak all along the sides of the paths most of the time.
 So yesterday, after an hour of walking in the hills, Bailey wanted more than a drink of water.
 Chloe thought that was a good idea too.

A Saturday Dog Show in Northern California

Contra Costa County Kennel Club event in Vallejo, California

Brave New World in Dogville

Assembly line beauty salon

Hippie dog

Tie-dye background behind your hunting dog?
The Vizsla Ring

Getting ready for the next group

Bailey's field trial and South Dakota hunting buddy, Hank, ready to show
 How Bailey and Chloe spent Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Is Frontline or Other Spot-On Flea and Tick Treatments Safe for Dogs and Cats?

It's flea and tick season.

Interesting article from last year on some problems pet owners have had with these pesticides.

"The year long investigation, conducted by a team of veterinarians assembled by the federal agency, concluded that certain pets – small dogs between 10 and 20 pounds – are most susceptible to the problems, which include rashes, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures."

We have been using Frontline successfully now for a couple years.  With all the walking in the hills that we do, I pull ticks off of Chloe and Bailey quite often.   I actually pull them off myself after many walks.  I wonder if they make Frontline for humans?

 The report tends to show that smaller dogs (under 20 pounds) are affected with negative reactions.

A long-time dog owner / breeder of Vizslas suggested that with Vizslas, not to use on pups until they are over 6 months old.

Too young for flea and tick pesticides

Makes sense to me, but then I'm not a vet or animal professional, so take any and all advice with caution.

Actually, I don't like to give advice, but just hopefully pass good information on.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Two Years of Blogging redbirddog

The very first post.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sitting in the "dog house"

This is the first post of Redbirddog.

This will be the adventures of Bailey and Chloe as they travel the Western United States with their owners, Rod and Joanie Michaelson.

Who reads this and why will be a mystery to me.

My posts will be short. I can't read a long post and I can't imagine anyone else wants to.

comment from Amanda: (first one)

Too cute! Welcome to Vizsla blogging. I'll add you to my Vizsla bloggers list- you can find tons of other V-lovers there.

-Amanda and Zoe

2 years, 315 posts, 24,790 visits, and 51,735 pages viewed later

On post #314, the same Amanda commented: (latest one)

I've really enjoyed watching the litter grow- can't even get enough Vizsla puppy pictures! :)
I really like the world Vizsla community. 
 Especially the bloggers and forum posters.   An interesting breed.

On the back of our first motor home.
We are enjoying sharing our little part of it.
Happy trails and trails,
Rod and Joanie Michaelson

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Breeding Cycle Complete

This morning, I took the 100-mile drive to take just a last look at Sophie / Bailey's litter. 
 I spent a little over an hour enjoying the pups.

Over the last 8 months, from the initial communications between Julie and me to the 5 pups now old enough to start heading to new homes next week, I have been posting our first Vizsla breeding adventure.
The creation of life and beauty. 
 Something I will always remember.
I believe we created some excellent Vizslas with healthy bodies and very pleasant personalities.
5 little Red Bird Dogs ready for their new lives with loving owners.
I hope you have enjoyed following this journey with me.
This week, our oldest daughter just added a new grandson into our lives.
Since we've gotten our Vizslas, our 2 daughters have added 3 wonderful grandchildren for our future family adventures.
  Healthy and happy pups and babies. 

It doesn't get much better than that!
Breeder, Julie Fitzgerald's contact information.  Two females remain available as of June 11.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dog's stomach, food and Salmonella

Last week, during a walk with a fellow Vizsla owner, the subject of raw foods and salmonella came up.

  I told him I feed Bailey and Chloe raw turkey wings for teeth cleaning from time to time.

 He said he'd be afraid to feed raw because of Salmonella posioning.  I told him I had heard that dogs were very rarely infected with Salmonella poisoning, but didn't know why.   He did tell me that a dog's stomach pH was much more acidic than ours.  I thought that was interesting, as I had never heard about that.

 So I looked into it.

Low pH

"Normally a dogs stomach pH is very acidic - at a pH of 1 to 2.

 Foods, like dry dog foods, that are high in carbohydrates shift the stomach pH to a more neutral environment (close to pH of 6).

 A raw diet is very low in carbohydrates (only provided by fruits and vegetables) and allows the stomach to stay within the optimal pH range (closer to a pH of 3).

 This is more easily illustrated in the figure below. Both diets were tested using a solution of hydrochloric acid at a pH equal to that of a dog's stomach and compared for the changes that occurred during digestion.

Figure 1. The pH change seen during digestion of raw and dry dog food.

Reduced Survival of Bacteria

Most bacteria, such as Salmonella and E.coli., cannot survive at a pH lower than 4 and optimally require a pH range of 5-7 to grow. Since raw food allows the stomach to stay within its naturally acidic pH range the bacteria are killed before they reach the small intestine......."

The whole article can be found at:

Mountain Dog Food education on digestive process

I am going to buy some pH strips and will make a brine out of the cooked ground turkey meat, green beans and kibble mix that we feed our Vizslas.  This will tell me the pH of the mix.

From that, I can determine if the diet will keep their digestive tract in the acidic range they need to stay healthy.

Chloe and Bailey have not had intestinal issues, but there are plenty  of Vizslas out there that do.

Diet pH level could have something to do with it.   Keep it acidic.