We are the Cane Corso Association of America’s newest member!
Directly from the CCAA’s website:
“Welcome to the Cane Corso Association of America website. As the official AKC Parent Breed Club for the Cane Corso in the United States of America, the CCAA is dedicated to preserving the working ability, soundness, and intelligence of the Cane Corso in its purest form. The CCAA, the AKC Parent Breed Club for the Cane Corso, is the largest, most progressive Cane Corso Club in North America. We strive to promote the Corso in a positive way and educate the public on the Cane Corso. The CCAA is a club where the advances of the breed are made in a civil, open situation following our constitution and the AKC’s rules and regulations. Where compromise and working together, as a unified group, will let us reach our goals of bettering the breed. Every member is encouraged to get involved in Corso activities and CCAA functions, and we welcome all new comers to read through our site, get to know our breed and visit us on our forum. Our goal is to help you understand the Corso better. We have compiled extensive information on the Cane Corso through our website, you will find pages on the Breed Standard, Information, Photos, Events, Shows, Forum, a Store & more!”
Anyone who wants to learn more about the Cane Corso breed should visit the CCAA website by clicking here or go to http://www.canecorso.org/.
Today was a difficult day for Orso and us. We have had Orso for almost 7 weeks and have struggled the entire time with his ears. We have taped them, we have DermaBonded Dr. Scholl’s mole foampad in them, we have rubbed them with vitamin E, we have prayed to the puppy ear gods, we have done it all!
Although at times he has gone several days with his ears standing, the majority of the time they have been flopped – the right one in particular. Over the last couple of weeks, his ears became progressively worse with both ears permanently flopped inward, spurring us to do tons of research on cropping Cane Corso ears. The first thing we learned is that the absolute latest that they should be cropped (or re-cropped) is 16 weeks – a benchmark that was quickly approaching for us. Orso is turning 15 weeks on Thursday, September 30th. The other observation we made is that his ears are somewhat longer than any other Cane Corso ears out there who have gone on to become conformation champions. There is no dispute that Orso has a lot of growing to do and would possibly “grow into” his ears, but we were not 100% convinced of this. The final issue we were having is that one ear was about ¾ of an inch longer than the other (it was actually measured by us), a detail that perhaps would be overlooked in relation to the size of his head when fully grown, but it was something that in the meantime was very obvious just by looking at him.
All of these different factors brought us to a fork in the road – do we wait it out and risk his ears not turning out OK or do we re-crop the ears to increase the likelihood of the ears standing correctly? This was a very difficult and emotional decision for us. Our biggest concern was Orso’s welfare. We were not comfortable with the idea of performing surgery on this young puppy, even though puppies his age go under general all the time for neutering and spaying. We obsessively debated over this matter for about 2 weeks, continued to do massive amounts research and spoke to several veterinarians who specialize in ear trimming, including Dr. Nunn, an extremely well-respected veterinarian in Arizona who was incredibly helpful and generously spent time looking at videos and photos of Orso before giving us his recommendations. We panicked about the effects of general anesthesia on an almost-15-week-old puppy and endured the criticism of people who are anti-cropping. In the end, we made the decision to re-crop Orso’s ears. We consulted with our veterinarian, Dr. Pane, over a period of several days. Although hesitant to perform the surgery, Dr. Pane knew that he is the only person I would trust to touch our puppy’s ears. He kindly agreed to do the procedure and went way, way beyond the call of veterinarian duty on this one.
When we dropped Orso off for all his pre-op tests, Dr. Pane told us to stay nearby because he wanted us to come back in an hour to help him mark where the ears would be trimmed. As promised, he called us an hour later and we rushed right back to the clinic. Orso was already under anesthesia and hooked up to all his monitors. Dr. Pane, Gus and I, along with the help of photos of Orso’s dad (Saggio) and other accomplished Canes, spent about 30 minutes measuring his ears and drawing lines on them with a permanent marker. When we finally agreed on where the cuts should be made, we were kicked out of the operating room so that Dr. Pane could work his magic. I gave him a extra tight bear hug for good luck before leaving the clinic. I fought back the nervous tears and left the clinic.
An hour later, Dr. Pane called to tell me that he was done and that he believed the ears had turned out beautifully. He told me that it was team effort and that several other members of his team, including Mimi, had helped make sure his ears were perfect. Nichelle was also working so she kept texting me with status updates. Orso was awake and doing well. We picked him up a couple of hours later and he looked gorgeous. He’s swollen and stitched up, but you can still tell what a detailed and careful job Dr. Pane did with our boy. Orso must have behaved pretty well because they even sent him home with a personalized Certificate of Bravery!
In the end, we are blessed that Orso made it through this procedure just fine and are very gracious to the team at South Kendall Animal Clinic for their efforts; specifically we are very appreciative to have such a wonderful man as Dr. Pane in our lives. Thank you, Dr. Pane, for everything you do for our precious four-legged family members. To visit Dr. Pane’s clinic online and meet his fantastic team, click here or go to http://southkendall.com/.
Below are some photos of Orso from this evening. Keep in mind that he is very swollen because the photos were taken mere hours post-surgery.
After spending a couple of hours at home following our family photo shoot day, it was time to load Orso back into the Jeep and head to puppy class. He snored the whole way there. I was convinced he was going to be completely lacking energy for class after the long day he’d had with us. No such luck! The minute we walked into class, he was ready to get back to puppy playing business!
In tonight’s class, we did a few very cool things. We worked some more on the stay command, which Orso did quite well in. This puppy will do ANYTHING for food. We also kept switching handlers, so Orso got to work with different people. For the most part, it worked out OK with the other adult handlers, but he has become so accustomed to the way we give him commands, that he seems to get confused or impatient with other people, especially kids. We also put on hats and sunglasses for a portion of the class to get the puppies used to seeing people wearing funny accessories. Dee says that it is typical to have the testers in the CGC exam wear big hats and sunglasses to try and elicit a response from the dogs. None of the puppies seemed to mind or even notice, not even my big beach hat that someone was wearing. It was a good class tonight and we enjoyed seeing 5 of the 6 puppies in attendance, despite the horrible tropical storm outside.
Below are some of my favorite shots of the night.
Orso is a natural supermodel! So are Mouse and Luna if we could get them to cooperate a little more. Today was our family photo shoot with with Shelly and Jimmy from Doggy Studio & Boutique in South Miami. To visit them online, click here or go to http://doggystudio.com/. Shelly is also a fellow blogger! You can visit her blog by clicking here or go to http://blog.doggystudio.com/.
What was supposed to be a 2 hour session turned out do be an all day affair with endless wardrobe changes and different in-studio backdrops. We arrived just before 11am at Doggy Studio & Boutique. By “we” I am referring to Luna, Mouse, Orso and us – the whole family! We had a lot of fun, albeit frustrating at times, it was a great experience. It was also fascinating to watch how Shelly and Jimmy manage the dogs and get them to cooperate – most of the time, anyway. We were there until about 2:30pm shooting! It was close to three and a half hours of taking photos!
Exhausted and in need of some recharging, we headed out with the dogs to find some lunch. We tried to eat at Ra Sushi but were treated somewhat rudely by the hostess; it’s like I said in a previous post, South Miami is not as pet-friendly as Coconut Grove. After collecting our belongings (and our pooches), we left Ra Sushi and went to Casa Larios down the street. The folks at Casa Larios were extremely hospitable and welcomed all three of our monsters with open arms! Thank you, Casa Larios!
After lunch, we all headed back to look at the photos at the studio. Shelly and Jimmy had set up the photos in slide-show format in a special – and very, very comfy – viewing room with an overhead projector and background music! Wow, now THAT’S a set-up! We looked at about 300 images and immediately realized that we were going to have a very difficult time choosing photos. During the shoot, each dog was photographed alone with 2 separate backdrops, we were each photographed alone with each of the 3 dogs with 2 different backdrops and we did group shots with all of us and some with the 3 of them without us! All the while, we were constantly changing clothes to match the dogs, the backdrop and each other! We decided to come back without the dogs to look at the photos calmly and decide on the best ones! Check back soon because I am hoping to post some photo proofs to the blog!
Kudos to Shelly and Jimmy for their patience with us – ALL OF US – and for spending so much time working incredibly hard to get the perfect shots. You guys are awesome and very passionate!
It’s been almost a week since my last post and much has gone on in Orso-world. As usual, he’s been going out with us and getting to know new people. His down command has come along beautifully and he responds to it immediately now – the dozens of puppy treats have come in handy! In our house, Orso pretty much has to work for everything – food, praise, playtime, etc. So do Mouse and Luna, by the way. Up until now, sitting on command has gotten Orso just about anything he wanted, so did speaking on command. Introducing the down command was tricky because he couldn’t understand why sit or speak – without solicitation of the action – wasn’t getting him his dinner or toy. He picked up quickly the down command as soon as he figured out that it is the command of the week around here. Now he lays down for EVERYTHING!!! He is too smart for his own good! See a cute photo below of Orso working on his down command this morning, with Luna’s help of course:
This morning, as I took Orso out for his first potty run of the day, I looked down and was shocked at how he looked. He was THIN! Bones out! When did this happen? This puppy eats three times a day – large quantities of food – and gets an endless supply of treats throughout the day! He must be going through a growth spurt or something. The decision was made to increase his food intake once again. He has been eating 1.5 cups of dry food, plus some raw food mixed in here and there, three times daily. We went up to 1.75 cups of dry food per meal, starting with today’s breakfast. We definitely don’t want a chubby puppy, but we don’t want him to look like we starve him either! Orso was very happy with his extra portion, evidenced by his ability to inhale his food in under a minute. We are also ordering him a slow feeder bowl to slow him down a bit.
On the playing front, Mouse has started to feel extremely comfortable playing with Orso. Unfortunately, we suspect that Mouse did not spend too much time before we rescued him socializing with other pups because his playing style is a little too assertive sometimes. Orso is learning to understand that Mouse is only playing and isn’t as nervous to play with him anymore. He even paws at Mouse’s face now and barks at him! Lots of good improvements in the Mouse-Orso department. On to Luna… Poor Luna. She deserves an award, a lifetime supply of treats, a statue in her honor – anything that will truly honor her as the best play partner in town. She has been so patient with Orso, so kind and motherly! Below is a short clip of Luna and Orso playing tug with one of the gazillion ropes floating around our house – Luna won this game because of her oh-so-scary looking teeth.
In the end, though, Mouse took possession of the tug for himself! See below:
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, a lot has been going on this past week. On Wednesday, we took Orso with us to the Grove to see our jeweler and run some other errands. We ended up eating at Che Tito’s in Kendall with him. This was our second time there with him and everyone remembered him. They were also kind enough to set up a table for him outside since there was nowhere to sit when we got there. He behaved great, but we started noticing that his right ear was looking a little droopy. We dismissed it as him having a lazy day and didn’t stress about it. On Thursday morning, his right ear was completely flopped over when he woke up. It started coming back up by mid-morning, with the occasional flop here and there. At this point, he had our attention big time. By Friday morning, the ear was all out rebelling against us. It was totally down with the occasional up and perky stance. We were now pretty stressed. We don’t understand how the ears stand perfectly for almost a week and then voila! they fall down again!!! How does that happen??!!! And we are not stretching the truth, check out the video below:
What we don’t get is how it can be floppy one minute and perfectly straight the next! We agreed to reach out to Diane for some advice on Saturday. By the time Saturday rolled around, it truly had evolved in ear hell around here. The right ear flipped inward and the left ear decided to join in on the party, see below:
Now we were REALLY freaking out and began to torment Diane via email. Poor woman, I swear she must think we are nuts! She tried her best to console us and told us to get them taped up again or use Dr. Scholl’s Mole Foampad to keep the ear standing, which we did immediately, see below:
Orso was not impressed by this new form of ear torture. He demonstrated his unhappiness by shaking his head relentlessly for what felt like an eternity. When he wasn’t shaking, he was scratching. It sucked to see him like this. Just really sucked. The Mole Foampad had to be adhered to the inside of his ear using DermaBond because the adhesive that it comes with is not strong enough to stay on. Poor guy, it has to feel so uncomfortable. I spent the whole night listening for sounds of him fussing with it and kept having thoughts of waking up to a puppy with raw ears from scratching so much. Luckily, this was not the case when I woke up this morning. His ears were in one piece and the padding was still attached. Thank you, puppy ear gods!
As a matter of fact, he woke up in good spirits and ready to play, go through his obedience drills and destroy things when no one was looking:
In particular, he – along with Mouse & Luna – decided to have a toilet paper party while I left the house. These videos show the remnants of 3 perfectly good rolls of toilet paper:
Today was a long day for Orso because he was out and about with us all for most of the day. Like we try to do several times per week, we took him with us to run some errands. We stopped for lunch at Sushi Maki in South Miami, which was a little stressful because South Miami is not quite as pet-friendly as Coconut Grove. Don’t get me wrong – the restaurants and shops in South Miami welcome your pets with open arms, but the set-up usually isn’t as comfortable as the places in the Grove. Either way, we enjoyed our lunch with Orso and kept running errands, including paying a visit to Shelly over at Doggy Studio & Boutique. We’ve been in talks with Shelly for a couple of weeks now to get our “family” portraits done, so we figured we’d stop in and introduce Orso to her. He behaved like a little gentleman in her shop – thank goodness, because her boutique is every puppy’s Disney World with all the treats and toys and bedding she has in the place! Thanks, Shelly, for letting us visit and we are excited about our portraits! To visit Shelly online, go to http://doggystudio.com/.
After our adventures, we managed to make it in time to feed Orso lunch and allow him to recharge for a few hours before heading to puppy class. We were missing a few of the puppies in class today – it was only Orso, Barney & Brinkley for most of the class and then Cupcake came by for the tail-end of the class. Today’s first command was “down” and Orso learned it very quickly – Dee was extremely helpful with her instructions – see some short video clips below. We also worked on building “stay” into the “down” command, which Orso seemed to learn pretty easily. It’s amazing how a puppy who has a very high food drive can be so incredibly easy to train! Way to go, Orso!
Dee using Orso as an example to teach the “down” command:
A few favorite shots from tonight:
60 second video of Orso learning to speak.
GETTIN’ ME SOME TAIL! – 09.20.2010
Check out this 20 second video of Orso tormenting Luna! Too cute!
It was another great weekend for Orso! His ears are still standing very nicely, which is an amazing relief to us. He had no adverse reactions to his vaccines on Friday. We had our first chewing casualty, my favorite flip-flops – see below.
As part of his “socialization training,” Orso did quite a bit of parading around town with us over the last few days. He must have met at least 50-60 people over a 2-day period, along with numerous other dogs and puppies. He sat down by our side throughout several meals and waited patiently as we visited local shops.
We like to take him to Coconut Grove with us because it truly is a dog-friendly village. However, it is still a part of Miami and in true Miami fashion, somehow conversations with strangers always make their way around to money. Gus and I are very simple people. We don’t shop or spend money frivolously; most of our money goes to food and our hobbies. My idea of dressing up is wearing a new pair of sneakers and we’d rather stay home for a great home-cooked feast than go to the latest and greatest new restaurant. That’s just us. But in Miami, maybe not all, but many of the residents are very centered on how much money you make, what kind of car you drive, the clothes you wear and how much you paid for anything and everything you own.
Having said this, it is not surprising that we are often getting the question – “How much did your puppy cost??!!” – a question that the more I hear, the more it seems to offend me. Let’s be real, I don’t go around asking people what their fertility treatment cost or how much their engagement ring was. It’s rude! Why ask me what Orso cost us???!!!
The most uncomfortable part is giving an answer. If we tell the truth, the expressions of shock are awkward. If we choose to tell them that it’s none of their business, it’s awkward. No matter what direction we go with our response, it gets awkward. So, what drives people to ask this? Does everyone who comes home with a new puppy get this question? Is buying a puppy like buying a new Coach purse or a set of Versace pumps that people are dying check out the price tag???!!!
C’mon folks! Let’s get real! Why don’t you start asking what it costs to feed him or ask for an estimate of how many pounds of poop he produces in one day, not what it cost us to make him a part of our family?!?!?
Straight from the ASPCA website:
"The wait is officially over: The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption by Jim Gorant, an in-depth look behind the scenes of the Michael Vick case and “where are they now” account of the dogs rescued from his property, hit bookshelves nationwide on September 16. The Lost Dogs can be purchased at your local bookstore and through online retailers including Amazon.com. (Tip: If you purchase the book on Amazon.com using this link, the ASPCA will receive a small donation at no extra cost to you!)
Naturally, the ASPCA is excited about this book because of our firsthand involvement in the investigation—but having gotten our hands on an early copy, we’re very happy to report that it is a terrific, compelling read for anyone interested in animal welfare, canine behavior, the evolution of animal protection laws or our country’s criminal justice system."
PINCHING & PROBING – 09.17.2010
Orso went in to see Dr. Pane today for his 3rd set of shots – still no lepto until next set of shots. We also started him today on his first dose of heartworm prevention. He weighed in at 37.8 pounds! He turned 3 months today and is growing so fast. He got a bunch of new toys since we like to rotate them every few days. Some also had to be thrown out because he has destroyed them! We took advantage that Orso is now vaccinated enough to take Mouse and Luna to the groomers, who were very happy to see them. They hadn’t been there since early August because we did not want to expose Orso to anything that Mouse and Luna could have brought home from the groomer. Lastly, I removed the tape off Orso’s ears yesterday. They got wet on a potty run and we didn’t want to leave wet tape, so we decided to remove it. As of tonight, the ears are still standing!!!! YAY!!!!
BORN TO BE WILD – 09.16.2010
As promised, here is a compilation of playtime video clips from the last 5-6 days. It’s a long video – 5 1/2 minutes – but very cute and worth the watch! Our house, especially the family room, has turned into a romper room. Orso has the ability to clear a room like a full grown man with indigestion. He is relentless in his pursuit of Luna! Even poor Mouse is getting some abuse these days…
Disclaimer – no animals were harmed during the making of this film! Heeheeheehee! Enjoy!
Tonight was Orso’s first of six Puppy Obedience & Manners classes and it went spectacular! We chose to do this class with a woman named Dee Hoult, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) who owns Applause Your Paws. I believe she is only one of two dog trainers in the Miami area who has earned this certification. Also, my veterinarian of many, many years, Dr. Robert Pane, highly recommended her – which is very important to me since I truly respect his opinion – and she runs the classes in the lobby of his animal clinic after the clinic has closed for the night. Below is a photo of Orso, our vet and me! Holding the class in our vet’s lobby was of particular importance since Orso has not had all of his shots yet and any group classes would have to take place in a fairly sterile environment. Dee also administers the Canine Good Citizen exam, which will hopefully be Orso’s first set of letters that will follow his name!
Our class was packed! We had 6 puppies participating and plenty of human family onlookers. We all resembled nervous parents on our kid’s first day of school. Our class roster looks like this:
Linda & “Casey” the apricot colored Chinese Crested,
Yvonne & “Orso” the Cane Corso,
Rupert and Jaime, their son Patrick & “Barney” the black mix breed,
John and Jeanne & “Brinkley” the oreo colored cockapoo,
Sergio and his daugther Paloma with “Bongo” the mixed breed blonde/tan puppy and
Daniella & “Cupcake” the wheaten terrier.
Our class is very diverse, which I loved, and although all the pups are around the same age, Orso is not surprisingly the biggest one AND the most vocal! It was wonderful to see him play with all these smaller puppies in a respectful manner. The class is done off-leash so the pups truly are interacting without human interference for the entire hour. All in all, we loved the experience and are looking forward to a great 2nd class! Below are some of my favorite shots of the class. I apologize if some of the photos are a bit blurry, but 6 fast-moving puppies are not always easy to capture with photographic grace!
I SMELL CHILDREN! – 09.12.2010
The last few days have been a blur in this house! Orso’s ears are still taped, by the way, so not much to report in this department. We plan to keep them taped – with necessary re-tapings – for another 7-14 days. He is also going up and down the stairs without our assistance even though we are all over him the whole time. I know I still owe a short video on this! Orso has also become very confident around Mouse and Luna and the entire day is like a bad episode of the Brady Bunch around here. It is complete chaos! Orso tackles everyone relentlessly, Luna makes devil dog faces with all teeth baring and Mouse has seen better days when it comes to coordination and clumsiness. Not wanting to dissuade Orso from playing, but at the same time very worried that he could get hurt on our marble floor, I brought home an area rug for the family room. It’s hard for us to control the level of activity without interfering with the bonding among the 3 dogs, so this area rug is our band aid for the slip and slide issues we’ve been having. Sometime this week, I will upload a video compilation of cute playtime moments among the 3 of them. Orso is also quite proficient at get up onto the couch without any help and now that there is a rug on the floor, he cautiously gets down on his own.
On another note, Mouse was kind enough to give me a black eye Thursday morning. As I was waking Orso up in the morning, which can be a challenge since he has become quite the sleepyhead, Mouse felt it was necessary for him to assist me by sticking his head in Orso’s crate to say good morning. His plan worked! Orso woke up, came bounding out and Mouse, while making room for Orso to come out of his crate, accidentally nailed me in the eyelid/eyebrow area with the peak of his skull. As I write this, I am sporting the remnants of a hematoma on my left brow bone and a beautiful shade of green/yellow/purple on my eye lid. No photos of me for a few more days…
On to better news! Today we celebrated a family birthday at our house. It was a surprise party and the whole family came over – it was 17 of us, including 6 children. The weather sucked, so everyone was crammed into our kitchen and family room area for most of the day, including Orso at the beginning of the party and Orso, Mouse and Luna for the tail end of the event. We crated them for a few hours in between to give them some deserved time out to recharge. Orso was delighted at the opportunity to chew on hands and feet that he had never before tasted! Mouse and Luna looked on with utter disgust, knowing that if they stooped to such impolite behavior, there would be doggie hell to pay. Lucky for them, they also got their fair share of attention. It was literally a kid & dog photo shoot in our house for over an hour. Below are a few of our favorite shots of the day.
Here’s a short video of Orso playing tug. We play this alot – usually outdoors in the grass – but with all the rain, the game was moved indoors. Just cause it’s raining doesn’t mean Orso loses his playtime.
We are using a method of playing tug that helps to build drive and focus. When the game ends, the tug toy is hidden and will not come out again until next tug session. We learned this from one of Leerburg’s dog training DVDs – The Power of Playing Tug with Your Dog. As you will see, he almost always brings back the toy and has learned the “out” command very well. Enjoy!