Tobi gets neutered

At around 6 months, dogs typically will begin to get neutered/spayed and there are many recommendations on when the best time to do it. Each dog is different and it’s important to consider a lot of things. Our dog is male so neutering him at 6 months to us felt appropriate. Female dogs will have a different recommendation by vets and its best to refer to them. This is solely based on our experience and what was best for us.

Tobi isn’t a very aggressive dog. He’s rather on the submissive side, rolling over to playmates all the time. He’s rarely shown any aggression which we are thankful for. He’s very sweet to be honest. I know people say that about their dogs all the time but he really is. He does gets overly excited meeting new dogs and humans and will jump :/ In regards to being a male dog, they will mark their territory. When Tobi goes potty he wasn’t lifting his leg till maybe about 4 months old. Being that he’s a corgi it was hard to see when he was peeing so this signal to us was very helpful. He was marking more on our walks and such (luckily we haven’t seen it in the house that we know of). We thought 6 months was a good time to neuter him before he developed any aggression, marking in the house, etc. There are definitely pros/cons to neutering later versus earlier. It’s often recommended at 1 year because that’s when dogs are fully grown and their growth plates are fully formed. It was a concern of ours but we thought it was best to do it around 6 months for us personally.

Tobi did have a slight complication in that one of his testicles didn’t descend. This is known as a retained testicle, or cryptorchidism. This would require an incision to where it was located and to remove it. It is not too uncommon and still would be a regular procedure. I wasn’t too worried. They ended up removing the testicle from his abdomen region and was fortunately not as costly as expected. It is recommended for removal to reduce any kind of risk for testicular cancer.

Healing process. He was very loopy the first night and tired from surgery. The next day he bounced back very quickly and was back to his old self. Unfortunately he wasn’t allowed to go on long walks and we had to keep the incision site very dry. We had gotten him a donut but he was able to reach the incision and lick so we immediately switched to a cone. The cone we got was a flexible, cloth cone with windows. He did chew up one side and my husband patched that up.

First night home. We tried the donut at first but he kept trying to get it off and wasn’t having it
As you can see he chewed the side but it allowed for more flexibility to move around. Hehe pooping pic

The incision where his testicle was healed very quickly (probably around day 7) but the one on the stomach was a slow healer. On day 13, the incision was irritated and red and there was a potential infection. Not to fret, we were given antibiotics, NSAIDs, and a chill pill that would help with the healing process. Sadly it just meant more time in the cone and no long walks. He loves walking around and we’d walk him for a couple miles each day.

After several days we had another check up with the vet and we finallllly got the ok to remove the cone!!!! Still had to lay relatively low but he was free! 🙂

Brand new dog mom

People say it’s going to be challenging to raise a puppy and I really tried to prepare myself for it – reading forums, books, youtube videos, etc. I did my best and not going to lie it’s a TON of work. I fortunately work part time so I am able to spend a lot of time with Tobi (short for Tobias). Some challenges are listed below…

  • Potty training
    • Pups can’t hold their bladder for very long. The rule of thumb is 1 hour for how old they are in months + 1. For example, at 3 months, they can hold it max for ~4 hours.
    • You have to constantly take them out to potty/poo around the clock and get them adjusted to going outside versus inside.
    • This in turn results in us having to wake up in the middle of the night to let him out to potty. This took a tremendous toll on our sleep schedule! I would say this was the hardest thing the first couple of months.
    • Things that helped include bells by the door. We asked Tobi to touch/ring the bells each time to go outside so that he could slowly associate potty/poo with bells and going outside.
    • Another thing that helped was crate training. I know it sounds cruel and I was really reluctant on leaving him in his crate but it really helped with potty training. The idea behind it is that a crate is their safe space or “den” and that the space is only big enough for them to sleep/turn around/sprawl out. They will not potty/poo in their space of sleep.
    • I initially kept him in a crate only at night and used a play pen during the day. I found that using a play pen he still went potty/poo on one side and laid on the other. He would generally lay around the sides like he felt comforted to have his back against something.
    • Pee pads – initially used this but then I didn’t want him to relate that to going inside only so we eventually got rid of it
    • He’s currently 10 months and he’s had a couple accidents in the house. Maybe once every few weeks or so but that is also partially our fault in not watching him carefully in when he signals to go outside. I’d say he’s doing well in those regards. His best streak was 45 days!
    • Now that he’s 10 months and when my husband and I work, we do leave him in the crate. We have a Wyze cam that we’ll use to see what he’s up to but it’s been mostly napping. He’s grown to love it and even takes naps in it when the door is open. We have someone from Rover to check in/walk him during the day.
  • Biting/nipping
    • Corgis are herding dogs so they’re known to nip heels. As with all puppies they bite/nip as they’re teething. It’s important to have toys readily available if they start nipping to switch out what you don’t want so they know what’s okay to nip/bite at.
    • Tobi nipped a little bit here and there when we tried to pick him up. He’s gotten a lot better about it since then. His full adult teeth are in so his teeth aren’t sharp anymore.
    • Another strategy to this is to tire pups out so they are less likely to nip. Tug of war is a great game to play to tire pups out.
    • We also make say “ah-ah” or “ow” very high pitched to let him know if he’s hurting us.
  • Training
    • This has probably been the most fun part, but still a challenge with having a pup.
    • Corgis are very food motivated so training Tobi has been really fun.
    • Some tricks he knows: sit, down, stay, bang, roll over, shake, spin, go to your crate, drop it, leave it, come, weave, etc.
    • One of the most important one that we try to over emphasize is come here, especially when we’re at a dog park.
    • Another one to over emphasize is drop it. This is crucial when going on walks and when they pick up something that is toxic to them.

These are just some things I’ve experienced so far. After Tobi was able to sleep through the night with no accidents we were also able to sleep through the night. We’ve been lucky with crate training because he felt at home his very first night. He whined very little being in the crate. It all takes time and patience! I won’t lie. My full attention was on Tobi during the first couple of months that I neglected other important things. The transition of creating space for Tobi versus replacing him with other things is a balancing act. We are slowly getting the hang of it!

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Corgi breeder experience

If you don’t personally know me, I am a corgi lover! I’ve wanted a corgi for I don’t know how long, like 10 years. Since I’ve been working part time, I’ve had more time and thought I’d finally pull the trigger. I started reading more about the breed, what to look for, price range, etc. I started looking at breeders and found one about 45 minutes away from my house so my husband and I decide to visit the puppies which were at this point about 6 weeks old. This was back in June 2019.

Some background information:
-Puppies go home around 8-10 weeks
-They need a lot of exercise as they’re herding dogs so they’ll also nip and chew A LOT as puppies. Be prepared for that!
Corgis are prone to some genetic diseases:
–DM (degenerative myelopathy) – where they eventually lose all mobility in their hind legs however they it doesn’t hurt them. There is no treatment for this disorder. The signs and symptoms appear in older corgis, average around 11 years old.
–VWDI (Von Willebrand Disease I) – bleeding disorder where corgis who are affected have less than half of the clotting factors in normal dogs which results in bruising more easily and prolonged bleeding after trauma.
–EIC (Exercise induced collapse) – neuromuscular disorder where after exercising 5-20 minutes, their gait becomes unsteady and they may lose muscle tone. They don’t feel this and may continue to over exercise and further injuring itself. Worst case is it may even result in death!
-AKC registered dogs = American Kennel Club corgis meet a certain criteria to be registered, essentially, they’re pure bred.

Genetics! A little background on how genetics work. If somebody is all clear of the disease, they would be considered to have two genes that are dominant, or for example, “AA.” If somebody is a carrier of the mutation gene, then they’d be “Aa,” which would result in a really rare case to ever express the mutation/disease. If somebody is “aa,” which means they are recessive for the disease, they are at risk of expressing that.

Okay! Now that you’re all caught up, we visited the breeder at their house and were instantly greeted by the dad of the puppies, friendly amd somewhat overweight yet pretty calm. The mom seemed pretty small and sweet. Going into this, the breeder and I had exchanged emails back and forth about the pups. I asked about their genetics and specifically about DM. They said they didn’t test because they got one parent from North Dakota and the other parent from Yakima so their lineages aren’t close at all. If you know anything about genetics, their distance has nothing to do with it. The dad is about 9 years old and they said the disease would have presented itself by now. They also said none of the other dog owners complained about their dogs presenting with this disease, however their dogs are only about 4 years old. The mom is also on the younger side so the disease wouldn’t have presented itself yet.

I was a little skeptical but hopeful it would work out. We ended up putting a deposit down for one of the pups that seemed really low key. The breeder agreed to do a cheek swab that I paid for that would tell us if Otis was at risk for the disease. I’m a first time dog owner and I just wanted a healthy pup not that I wouldn’t care for it if it had the disease. I think personally, I just wanted to prevent any kind of heartache down the road. The breeder had asked us what we’d do if Otis had it and I said we’d likely regretfully pass. :/

A week or so later, I get a text from the breeder and I kid you not, it says:
“Otis came back positive so I will be looking for a new loving home as you said you didn’t want him. Good luck finding one without this potential DM. My research says 70% have it and usually die from something else”

WOW. Is that super passive aggressive or what?! I asked them to call me to clarify if he is a carrier or at risk because they are two different things. They fail to call me and I call them after several hours. I understand they’re upset but I was upfront with them. The conversation was harsh and they said things like “I learned a very valuable lesson from all of this” and “You screwed me over 2 weeks of not being able to sell the dog.” I asked for the results because I paid for them and they said I’m not getting him so it doesn’t matter. I’m interested to know what lesson they learned – not to test their dogs and to not breed dogs at risk? Clearly, they’re just in it for the money and and I’m glad I went through this to find the truth about them. I would not want to support them and I just feel bad for the dogs.

I ended up finding another breeder who tested their dogs prior to breeding and went home with a really sweet pup who loves cold tiles, chewing on everything, and can sit. I couldn’t have asked for a better little guy.

This is Tobi!
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Finale

The last full day in Europe! It definitely went by really fast. We were able to spend some time in Krakow before heading to the airport to fly back to Paris for the last leg home. We went to the Pharmacy Museum and I really had a blast. There was so much history and they had such a pretty display of mortars, pestles, scales, dried plants, and everything. They had a huge monstera plant on the top floor and I was quite happy to see it since they’re one of my favorite plants.

We stayed one night in Paris before flying out the next morning. And I had booked an Airbnb for the night in Roissy en France which was close to the CDG airport that we would be flying out from. The hosts sat and chatted with us for about 30 minutes asking about our journey. It was a private room in a house and the hosts were unbelievably nice! They served us some wine and crackers. The host’s brother spoke English pretty well and even showed us around the town and gave us recommendations on where to get dinner. We ended up at a crepe restaurant. I thought it was a fitting finish to the trip.

Of course we had to go for the dessert crepe as well

After dinner we walked around the park and the town. It was March and they had some cherry blossoms and we even encountered some bee hives in the park. It was such a charming town and we really enjoyed walking around together.

The next morning we took an uber to the airport. Easy as pie!

On regards to Krakow…
PROS:
Walkable
Less crowded
Very affordable
Angie, she made it effortless for us to get around!

CONS:
Wish we had a little more time to explore

It was such a fun trip and I can’t wait to come back and visit other places. Everything in Europe is so close and it just so easy to hop around.

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A look into the past

The next day we went on an all day tour to Auschwitz (concentration camp during the Holocaust) and the Salt Mines. It was a really long day, but well worth the experience. We took a Sprinter van with about 15 other people for the tour. I specified Sprinter because we actually have a van that we’re building out as a camper! A post on that sometime 🙂 Our tour guide was great and was so knowledgable. He went into great detail about everything.

Our first stop was at the concentration camp. It was a heavy experience. I didn’t take too many pictures because I wanted to just listen and take it in. We walked around the barracks of where people crammed into. They turned these barracks into a museum with displays of personal items like shoes, clothing, suitcases, etc to photographs and stories. There was one room where I saw something extremely disturbing. If you want to know, feel free to ask me I’ll respond personally to you. I feel slightly uncomfortable stating that here. We also toured the second camp, Birkenau, that was built to ease congestion at the first camp. I know. Pretty sad.

Good thing we ended on a happy note at the Wieliczka Salt Mines! It was about an hour drive away. We were one of the last groups to enter the Salt Mines before closing. They had one main elevator so it took awhile to get everyone down beneath the ground. I must say it was a spectacular sight so see so much salt everywhere! No, I didn’t lick the walls to try, although it is tempting. There were statues, sculptures, and even a chandelier out of salt (man made of course).

It was a really long day but well worth it to see everything to see in a short amount of time. I’d recommend this tour for sure!

PROS:
Got to see two of the main attractions in one day
Small tour group ~15 people
Very affordable

CONS:
Long day – about 12 hours
Long time in the car, bring snacks!

Overall, I’d recommend to do this tour especially if you are crunched on time. It’s very informative and the sights are starkly different. I’m glad you end with the salt mines to leave it on a positive note.

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