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Tick woods

Don’t let disease-carrying ticks bug you this Summer.

This is the time of year when dog owners start asking lots of questions about flea and tick control.

Having lived in the Midwest for awhile with two active lacy dogs I can attest that ticks are an epidemic up here. Every morning after we’ve been outside, I pick all of the ticks I see off the dogs. After our evening walk I, once again, thoroughly pick ticks off the dogs and then the couch and no matter how many I get there is always at least one more.

Spot treatments, sprays, baths…these products are toxic and they don’t seem to reduce the amount of ticks I see every day. Spot treatments like Frontline claim to kill ticks that crawl on your dog within 12-24 hours but by the time the pesticides have done their job, the tick has already had a chance to bite and begin feeding on your dog. So while it seems these products prevent ticks from reproducing in the house or kennel, they do little to prevent the transfer of tick borne diseases.
As far as repellents for dogs, natural methods include external application of food grade-diatomaceous earth, cedarcide, and powdered sulfur. DE works mechanically by scratching away the insect’s exoskeleton but it is reportedly more useful as a yard or kennel treatment since it isn’t necessarily fast acting and the sulfur method has a really unpleasant scent to humans.

The use of Cedarcide, derived from cedar tree oil, seems to be growing in popularity among pet owners and families with young children.  Cedarcide is available is many forms to make treatment easy and effective. Visit The Cedarcide Store at for a list of products.

I read where Consumer Reports recently tested insect repellents for humans and in their test, two Deet-free products worked as well as Deet-based products.

And the top 5 were:

Off Deep Woods Sportsmen II
Cutter Backwoods Unscented
Off FamilyCare Smooth & Dry
3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent 8
Repel Plant Based Lemon Eucalyptus

The Repel product is simply Lemon Eucalyptus oil which, though it has a slightly greasy feel, smells delightfully like citronella. After a little research I found that, for years, people have been using lemon eucalyptus essential oil mixed with olive oil or some other inert base as mosquito and tick repellent. I sprayed some of the Repel brand on the dogs and, after a romp in the grassy field behind the house, I searched and found….no ticks! Surly it can’t work that well! There’s always at least one tick!

The only problem I have encountered with the spray is the dogs apparently hate the smell and will try like mad to rub it off, often rubbing it right into the carpet or couch cushions. At least it seems the oil-based product is sticky enough to stay on their coat.

With the dry conditions back in Texas I hope most of you enjoy a mostly tick and flea free summer but remember, dog owners do have alternative choices when it comes to pest prevention.

Happy Thanksgiving from the National Lacy Dog Association! We have a special holiday treat from our resident holistic care expert Betty Leek. She has great tips on feeding raw on a budget with Thanksgiving turkeys.

Not only is November good eating for humans, it’s great eating for dogs. At least it is for those lucky enough to be raw fed. Starting around the first of November, grocery stores start putting frozen turkeys on sale. Sales run from the turkeys being really cheap to discounts when you spend a certain amount of money on other food stuffs. Whatever turkey deal your grocer uses to get you into the store, take advantage of those cheap birds for your dog! I’ve seen prices as low as $.40 a pound for frozen turkeys, making it one of the cheapest ways to feed your dogs raw. If you have extra freezer space, buy as many turkeys as you can get and store them. The turkeys will be on sale through Christmas, so you have plenty of time to stock up on this really inexpensive raw food for your dogs.

The worst thing about frozen turkeys is just that, they are frozen. It takes such a long time to thaw them out so the dogs can eat them. But, unlike thawing turkeys for humans, you don’t have to worry about health issues when thawing the turkey for your dog. Any “bugs” the turkey gets while thawing won’t effect canines. Once the turkey is thawed, you can either feed it to your dog whole, or do as I do and cut it up into individual meals. I have found that there are a couple of easy ways to cut up the turkey. Both ways make use of my husband. I can cut the turkey up by myself, but it is much easier if he helps me with it.
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By shaping behaviors with Operant Conditioning, you can train your Lacy Dog to perform complex tasks in a matter of minutes.

By shaping behaviors with Operant Conditioning, you can train your Lacy Dog to perform complex tasks in a matter of minutes.

Ever since B.F. Skinner laid out the foundations of Operant Conditioning, OC based methods have been increasingly used to teach dogs and other animals a wide variety of behaviors. Much of the original development of the training techniques occurred at marine parks, where scientists and trainers were assisted by graduate students and Skinner’s children. Then, with the aid and impetus of the Internet, groups of dog owners and trainers alike discovered the benefits of OC and the Positive Training movement began to explode. Today, there remain two fundamentally different approaches to dog training: Positive Reinforcement (Here Fifi sweetie, come to Mommy and you get this treat) and Traditional (Hey Atlas, you crazy cur, stay away from that rabbit trail or my boot is going where the sun don’t shine). The trend, however, is clearly towards OC based Positive Reinforcement training methods. Dogs trained with the new techniques have shown, in obedience, agility and other competitions, that these techniques produce results that equal or surpass Traditional correction based training methods. The most popular OC based training method, by far, is Clicker Training. Originally conceptualized by Karen Pryor at Sealife Marine Park in Hawaii, Clicker Training has even being used for performance training of human athletes.

Why you should understand Operant Conditioning

“But I have a hog hunting/blood tracking/herding Lacy Dog bred to do those things. And he does them. What do I need with some fancy technique?” Well, the funny thing is you already use Operant Conditioning with your dog, all the time, every single day. This is so important I’m going to repeat it. You are use Operant Conditioning, every day, every time you interact with your dog! Now, given you are going to do something, don’t you want to get it right? Hey, you have a Lacy Dog. You know he is smarter than 99.9% of the dogs out there, and I bet your dog watches every little thing you say and do. You picked your dog because of what he is capable of doing. So make the most of it!

And there is a specific reason why this is the right technique for a Lacy Dog, even more so than for other breeds. Reading the NLDA Breed Standard, a Lacy is to have “incredible drive and determination to work.” These are reflections of a Lacy’s high prey drive, or predatory instinct. Lacy Dogs are bred to retain as much of their wild wolf ancestor’s predatory instinct as possible and still be safe around humans. One of the things that separates wild predators from domestic animals is that wild predators cannot be successfully disciplined. You can’t discipline a killer whale or a tiger, and, most importantly, you can’t use discipline to successfully train a wolf. Yank on a wolf’s collar and all he does is yank back even harder. Read the rest of this entry »

minimal vaccine lacysA vaccine can be a great thing. But vaccination can also do a lot of damage. So how do you decide how and when to vaccinate your Lacy Dog? By reading and educating yourself. There is a ton of info on the internet which supports vaccinations as well as going vaccine free. Hopefully my info will help readers make their own decision.

“After more than twenty years of practicing veterinary medicine, I am observing chronic diseases that begin much earlier than before,” writes Charles Loops, DVM. “A normal dog or cat living to twelve years of age will receive at least twenty and possibly thirty vaccinations during their lifetime. Fifteen or so of these shots will have four to seven disease fractions present in each vaccination. In all of this, balance in nature has been lost to the pharmaceutical-medical complex’s philosophy, propelled in great part by monetary factors, leading us to believe that all vaccinations are beneficial.”

Vaccines have become much more than they were ever intended to be. They were originally developed to help people or animals have a better chance at living through a disease that is usually fatal. Now vaccines are being given for things that are rarely lethal. Read the rest of this entry »

blue lacy family

Though the Lacy is a wonderfully unique breed, it’s not easy owning a driven working dog. This breed can be challenging and isn’t for everyone. So what type of person should own a Lacy Dog?

1.) You have a real job for your dog. Lacys are very popular with hog hunters in Texas. They make great tracking dogs for deer hunters. They are a huge help to professional trappers. Cattle ranchers can move an entire herd with just two dogs. If you want to compete at the top levels of agility or flyball, these dogs have the natural talent to take you there. And they make good all-purpose ranch dogs, patrolling the property, killing varmints and protecting their family. But if you have to make up a job to justify having a Lacy, this isn’t the right breed for you. If you need a working companion, Lacys are incredibly driven, intelligent dogs that rise to the challenge.

2.) You have a very active lifestyle. If you’re a professional rancher or hunter, that is pretty much taken care of. But people who want to use Lacys for tracking or dog sports need to keep their dogs active and entertained on a daily basis. Lacys don’t make good couch potatoes, especially when they are young. Long daily walks are just the beginning when it comes to meeting their exercise needs. So if you like to go jogging in the mornings and hiking every weekend before deer season starts, you might make a good Lacy owner.

3.) You are an experienced dog owner. Lacys are extremely smart dogs, and while that means they can learn new tasks very quickly, it also leads to independent thinking and testing boundaries. Many Lacy owners say their dogs talk back to them and will even question their authority. This breed is very pack oriented, so it’s especially important their owner is a strong leader. All of that can be overwhelming for first-time owners. But if you have experience with curs or active herding dogs, you might be prepared for a Lacy. Read the rest of this entry »

blue lacy hair lossEver seen a balding blue Lacy? Sometimes it is just a couple patches here and there, other times it affects their entire coat. It is rare, but it does happen due to a genetic disorder called Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA).

Dogs with Color Dilution Alopecia are born with normal coats. Symptoms develop as early as six months or as late as three years. It often starts on the flanks or along the back, but bald spots can occur anywhere and may eventually spread to cover the entire body. Sometimes stiff guard hairs remain over dry skin. Even though dogs with Color Dilution Alopecia can be healthy, they are susceptible to sunburn, windburn and scaly skin. Because the hair follicles are damaged, they are also prone to bacterial skin diseases. But, for the most part, Color Dilution Alopecia is an aesthetic disorder.

This disorder is related to the double dilute gene, dd, that causes the blue coloration in Lacys. Not all blue dogs have Color Dilution Alopecia, and most blue Lacys will never have problems with their coats or skin. (Note: For the sake of this article, blue dogs refer to both traditional blue and tricolor Lacys.) But all dilute dogs, regardless of breed, can develop issues. All Lacys carry the dilution gene. The blues and tris express it more intensely and thus they are at greater risk for alopecia. Read the rest of this entry »

Always On The Go
It is hard to resist a beautiful blue Lacy puppy. In addition to their unique good looks, they are incredibly intelligent with an intriguing history and entertaining personality. But don’t forget that the Lacy was bred for decades to work on ranches in the Texas Hill Country. They have the stamina, energy and intense drive needed to hunt wild hogs, herd rough cattle, face trapped predators and track wounded bucks. In a few months, the adorable puppy curled up in your lap will become a very active adult dog ready for a job.

Will you be ready? Have you planned for life with an energetic, indefatigable, driven working dog? In 2001, these were the top ten reasons people relinquished their dogs to a shelter:

    Landlord issues
    Cost of pet maintenance
    No time for pet
    Inadequate facilities
    Too many pets at home
    Pet illness
    Personal problems
    No home for littermates

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Cleft palate pup Abraham grew more slowly than his siblings.

Cleft palate pup Abraham was much smaller and grew more slowly than his liter mates

Lucy had her first litter of puppies in June 2007. This was also my first experience with newborn pups. On Saturday night, she gave birth to seven puppies. On Monday morning, I discovered that one puppy was dead. Even though I was told to expect to loose some, this was very distressing to me. By Monday afternoon I saw that another puppy was in really bad shape and rushed him to the veterinarian. The vet informed me that the pup was dehydrated and gave the him some dextrose under the skin. He did OK for a day or two, then slipped back to where he started.

In my concern for the pup, I got on the internet and looked for anything that would tell me what was wrong with the puppy. Finally, I came upon a website that talked about puppies born with cleft palate. Sure enough, when I looked in the pups mouth, it was obvious that he had the cleft palate. These puppies cannot form the suction that is required to nurse from their mother. I had noticed that my puppy could get milk that was in the nipple, but when he had to suck hard enough to pull the milk down, he just couldn’t do it. So cleft palate pups will get some milk, but not much.

I found a wonderful website where a breeder of Labrador Retrievers gave a lot of tips about how to take care of a cleft palate puppy. This website,, is very helpful and has all the information anyone would need. I would highly recommend that anyone who is trying to save a cleft palate puppy read it. I tried what I read, but my pup died at three weeks. It was pretty hard to take, but I knew that if I ever had another cleft palate pup that I had more experience, better information and the pup would have a better chance of living. Read the rest of this entry »

December is here and that means Christmas is right around the corner. Though the hustle and bustle of the holidays is hard on young pups and new owners alike, many people choose to surprise their loved ones with a puppy from Santa. If you decide to get a Lacy this holiday season, make sure you prepare the entire family for the new addition, especially children. To ensure a smooth transition, sit down with your kids and go over these guidelines for safely handling a Lacy.

Puppies are cute and loads of fun but they are also a lot of work! There are some important things you should know about our new Lacy puppy.

  1. Puppies are still babies and can be hurt more easily than you might think. They do not like to be dropped or kicked. You shouldn’t hold them on their back or pull their tail and ears. Big dogs don’t like these things either. Read the rest of this entry »

larry-deerDeer meat is a great food for your dog. Now that we are officially into the 2008 deer hunting season in Texas, it’s the perfect time to start feeding raw venison.

Dogs are classified as carnivores. There is a mere .2% difference between dog and wolf DNA. If we realize that our dogs are so closely related to wolves, then it is a short step to understanding our dogs should eat like the wolf rather than eating junk out of a bag.

An ideal meal for our domestic wolves, also know as Lacy dogs, is raw on-the-hoof deer meat. Many hunters have deer meat left over from previous year, and that is fine to feed to your dogs, but today I am writing about feeding the deer that is freshly shot and ready for the dog to eat. Read the rest of this entry »

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