Thursday, May 26, 2011

Why you should NOT own a Siberian Husky

When I am out and about with my Siberian Husky, I am asked almost every day by a stranger on the street “How can I get one?”  I find myself listing the reasons they should not. 

Don't get me wrong, I love my furry little beast and would not swap him for any other dog.  He is smart, handsome, intuitive, and a bundle of fun.  In fact, I want a second one.   But, Siberian Huskies are not for everyone.  I did a lot of research on Siberian Huskies prior to getting one, so I knew about the quirks of the breed before I got him. Do your research about the breed you want. 

If you are in the market for a dog, ask yourself these questions and important points:

  • Are you prepared to give your dog at least 60 to 90 minutes of exercise a day?  Letting him out in to the yard does not count.  I mean walking, running, or going to the dog park so he can run with other dogs. A bored Siberian with pent up energy is a recipe for personal property destruction. 
  •  Do you have a secure area for your dog?  Some dogs are perfectly restrained by a 30 inch fence. The Siberian Husky needs a 6 foot fence (or maybe even higher!) and the fence must be attached to the ground. They don’t call them Hairy Houdini’s for nothing. 
  • Do you want a lap dog? The Siberian is very independent. Most are not lap dogs and don’t need continual attention.  Once they have had their exercise, they are content to lay across the room from you (and keep an eye on you in case you go to the kitchen for food.) Don’t be offended if he comes up to you, gets some attention, and then walks off. 
  • Most Sibes love everyone!  Kids, your neighbors, your friends, and the degenerate that just broke in to your house. 
  • Are you offended easily?   You may be sitting on the floor giving your Siberian a tummy rub when he hops up, trots to the other side of the room, and sits down.  
  • Sibes love cats and birds.  Their delicious!  Seriously, unless the Siberian is raised with a cat or other small animal, don’t trust him with them. 
  • Do you like fur?  The Siberian male sheds about once per year and the female sheds about twice per year. I’m talking Die Hard: Shed With A Vengeance shedding. He will need to be bathed several times during the shedding cycle and gently brushed every day. 
  • Siberian Huskies are natural explorers. You can NOT allow them off leash in an open space. They have no fear of traffic, large mammals, and Mack trucks. 
  • Are you not very strong? The Sibe *is* strong* and powerful. A young adult Siberian can pull a load 4 or 5 times his own weight. 
  • Those cute tricks you can teach your German Sheppard or Golden Retriever?   Fetching, sitting, coming when called, you know the ones.  Those are strictly optional with the Sibe.  When you yell “Dog, come!”, the Sibe will look around at you with a look that says, “Thanks, I’ll take that under advisement.” The Sibe *can* be trained, but it is much harder than with a dog that *wants* to please you. 
  •   The Sibe wants to be alpha and you will be tested.  All the time.  If you are not consistent with him, your azaleas will be mulch. 
  •   Despite being strong and fairly resilient, Siberian Huskies have a delicate tummy. Keep them on a consistent diet.  No table scraps and treats should be less than 25% of their daily food intake. If you change their food frequently or give them things they don’t normally eat, it will NOT be pretty come poopy time.
  I have heard too many stories of people having to return their Siberian Husky to the breeder or give them to an animal shelter because they cannot handle the dog or do not have time for it.

When you look for a dog, don’t just look for a dog that “looks like a wolf” or “has nice blue eyes”, but find a breed that matches your lifestyle and the time you have to give to the dog. Both the dog and you will be much happier.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

SnagIt screen capture and image editing

Over the past 15 years, I have used a lot of screen capture and imaging editing tools.  While I don't need something at powerful as Photoshop, I need a tool that is flexible, has a good feature set, and provides good image quality with a variety of images.  (For example, capturing screens for a book for publication requires uncompressed TIFF files.)

For the past few years, I have been using SnagIt from TechSmith and am very happy with it.