Friday, June 28, 2013

HAPPY GOTCHA DAY MONDAY!

Exactly 4 years ago today, I adopted Monday. Holy cow, I can't believe it's been 4 years already!!! That's insane. Anyways, Happy Gotcha Day my dear Monday! You filled the hole left in my heart after the passing of Majestic, something I thought would never happen. But you crept in silently, like a super-skilled ninja, and brought me more joy than I ever could have hoped for. From the very first day you fit into our family like you were meant to be here...

Nicholas and Monday the first night.

Monday and I at home the first night after the long drive from Illinois.

Her kisses sealed the deal :).

We love you more than I'm sure you can imagine. Here's to many more years of making memories, giving kisses, and just overall silliness!


I didn't have time to make something special this week, so store
bought will have to do! Cake was from Brown Dog Bakery.









Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tug-a-Jug

In an earlier post, I talked about things to do when you can't get your dogs out for exercising. I mentioned food puzzles as being a source of mental stimulation that can help tire your dog out. Lack of exercise and boredom can lead to destructive behavior, and no one wants a destructive dog!! There are a number of toys on the market that can keep your dog occupied and enrich their environment. Bourbon's favorite food puzzle (well he really likes all of them because they have food :), but he's had this one the longest) is the Tug-a-Jug.

The Tug-a-Jug is a Busy Buddy Toy manufactured by Premier.

A Taste for Play

Interactive toys can be grouped into two categories: toys that involve self-play (dot interacts with toy) and toys that involve your participation. The tug-a-jug is a self-play toy, but I recommend keeping an eye on your dog while they play with it. It is fairly indestructible and doesn't have any small parts, but if you have an 'enthusiastic' dog there really is no such thing as indestructible :).

So the tug-a-jug is a food-dispensing toy that requires the dog to manipulate the jug and rope to try to get the treats out. But the harder the dog pulls on the rope, the less the food comes out. Actually, no food comes out with that method (it took Bourbon a long time to figure that out!). Dogs will generally toss it around, drag it around, or spin it on the floor. The food comes out of a narrow hole at the top, which has the rope sticking out of it. Your dog will eventually figure out that in order to dispense the treats, it requires them to push the rope into the jug. Take my advice though and introduce this toy on carpet or a rug to keep the noise down!

On the human side of things - you just unscrew the jug at the bottom (the wide end), drop in your dog's favorite bite-sized treats or kibble (the larger the treats, the harder to get out), close it back up, and watch the frenzy :).

More Play Please


Bourbon tried the Buster Cube method...rolling the jug around with his feet and nose, hoping the food would fall out. He tried the Kong method...poking his tongue in the narrow end, hoping to pull food out. He really likes chewing the big end, but with no luck. He used to try swinging it (make sure you don't have anything breakable in the vicinity!) but luckily he has stopped that! Eventually, he remembers how to tip the jug over and push the rope in to get the treats, but even that takes a long time. At least he still gets a few treats often enough to keep from getting completely frustrated!

Depending on the treats and how many times your dog has played with this toy, your dog could be entertained for at least an hour. It can also be used to slow down dogs who inhale their food :). It comes in three different sizes to accommodate the varying sizes of dogs. Sadly, the rope usually doesn't last too long, but Premier does sell replacements. And you could try a knotted sock instead or place balls inside the jug for somewhat of the same effect.

Pros

You use dry food/treats so it's less messy than the Kong.
Dogs can see and hear the treats inside.
Fairly durable.

Cons

Can get noisy on hard floors.
May not be strong enough for strong chewers.


Bourbon's Rating: 5 paws (out of 5)!


You can find the Tug-a-Jug at local pet stores or through various online retailers. It is always good to have a few different types of toys handy for variety. Rotate the toys through a cycle so your dog doesn't get bored too easily!



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday Training Tips: CGC Test Item 4

The fourth in my Canine Good Citizen (CGC) series going through each of the CGC exercises and offering tips for practicing in order to successfully pass a CGC Evaluation. Test Item 3 was covered previously.


Test Item 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose leash)

This CGC test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog's position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler's movements and changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. In the walking pattern, there will be a left turn, right turn, and an about turn, with at least one stop in between and one at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the way to praise or command it in a normal tone of voice.

A great example of walking with a loose leash.
Photo taken from springforthedog.com

So Your Goal: For your dog and you to walk together as a team, with a loose leash.


Training Tips:

Alright let's get moving! We've all seen dogs that want to charge ahead and drag their owners along behind, making walks very unpleasant and not fun. I'm sure many of us have even experienced this first hand (I know I have ... to many times to count)! Many people automatically turn to collars for control - pinch/prong, choke, head halter, or no-pull harness. If safety is a concern, then yes you should use something that helps control your dog on your walks. But when you start actually training loose leash walking, you should do so with just a flat buckle collar or martingale (if your dog has a throat or breathing problem, then use a regular harness). And you should start training in the least distracting environment you can manage, like your living room, basement, garage, or driveway. Once your dog gets the idea of what you are asking (walking next to you with slack in the leash) then you can gradually add more distractions and take your training around the block and out into the real world. But first, your dog has to understand what you are asking of them. There are many different techniques to teach this. I'll cover the things that have worked with my dogs and fosters. Please remember that loose leash walking does not happen overnight :).

First, I start in my driveway (it's not very distracting because my house blocks most of the view of the street) and I make sure I have VERY TASTY treats. Treats my dog will go nuts to get.
  • Start with your dog at your side (whichever side you would like to have them walk on).
  • Hold the food in your hand (that is on the side your dog is walking on) and the leash in the opposite one.
  • Walk forward and as your dog walks along, reward with treats.
    • At first you want a high rate of reinforcement, so about every other step you would give a treat. As your dog starts to get the idea, you can start to vary your rate of reinforcement and eventually fade out the food. However, I still do randomly treat my dogs when walking with a loose leash as it keeps the excitement fresh.
    • If when you start walking, your dog forges (walks faster than you so ends up in front) try dropping the treats on the ground next to your leg as you start walking so your dog has to pause to eat them.
  • I also walk in unusual patterns, throwing in circles, quick turns, pace changes, and random stopping.
Here is a video of me working with Monday in the driveway behind our house. There was a dog walking by on the street so she was a bit distracted (I was making noises at her to keep her attention as I was rewarding) and a bit aroused (hence some frustration jumping and demanding behavior). If your dog jumps up at the treats, just ignore them and continue walking. When all four feet are back on the ground, then wait 3 seconds and reward. 



You'll notice that I didn't use the leash. It just sat in my right hand as a safety measure but I didn't do anything with it. That is the goal. :) Your leash is not a steering wheel!

Here is another peek at Monday heeling (you'll have to excuse the hovering sits she is offering - obviously we need some work on that!!!).



You can also do this with a toy if your dog prefers a toy over treats. Monday is not very toy driven and it's something that we are working on building. Tug can be a great motivator, so if your dog enjoys it, use it in your heeling! Here's Monday heeling with a toy. It's harder to keep her interested so you'll notice I talk to her more to engage her with me.


Obviously, using a toy for motivation for Monday isn't a hot ticket item for her. Treats are the way to her heart, but every dog is different. So make sure you find something that is rewarding for your dog!


Taking it around the block

Once your dog gets the idea, you can start adding distractions and test driving your new skills in the real world. However, do not move too fast too soon or you will be starting all over! If your dog is performing like Monday in her videos, then you are ready to start walking on your block. It might not be the whole block, it might only be three houses down and the back, but it will start exposing you to more distractions.

It will be harder to keep your dog's attention on you when you start walking the block. If your dog begins to walk ahead of you and/or pulls, stop dead in your tracks. Don't correct your dog and don't move forward as long as the dog is pulling. Just stop and wait. After a few seconds or even minutes, if they don't return to your side, call them there and indicate what you want (at this point I usually change directions to go in the opposite way as that helps bring them back to your side). Remember to keep rewarding them when they are walking by your side. Repeat this process for your entire walk. Your dog will eventually realize that you don't intend to walk forward unless he is beside you. Also remember to throw some curve balls in your walk - circles, quick turns, changes of pace - things that spice up the walk and keep their attention on you.

Continue this for as long as it takes to get the message across. Many dogs respond nearly immediately but regress with each new walk, until you go through the drill quite a few times. Soon it will become habit and you'll rarely have issues. Other dogs (dobermans in particular it seems!) may require a month of walks before they finally get the picture. One day you'll get a light bulb moment and what a joy that will be!

Preparing for the test day: Be sure that you take a nice long walk or have a good play session before the test. Long enough to adequately diminish your dog's energy level. :)

Next week we'll discuss CGC Test Item 5, Walking Through a Crowd.


Don't forget to check out the other CGC test items we've covered:



Monday, June 24, 2013

Vehicular Searching

This weekend Bourbon pretended he was a top cop dog searching out contraband at the border. In all actuality, he was sniffing out birch on our car in the driveway. But hey, let the boy have his dreams! :)

In my previous post on nosework I had briefly described the four elements of a Nosework competition - container search, interior search, exterior search, and vehicle search. Bourbon has practiced a lot on interior searches and exterior searches so I thought this weekend we would focus on vehicles. I think vehicle searches are fun!

Since Bourbon doesn't have any experience searching vehicles, I did four pretty easy hides. Also, I made sure I was outside doing this at a time when it was really windy in order to help him be successful. The first hide I placed on the outside of the front tire rim.

First hide.

Bourbon had a little trouble with this hide at first because he didn't realize he was searching for it! LOL, he thought I was going to be taking him for a car ride. Once, I got his brain back on track (which only took a few seconds) he got right down to business.



As you can see, once he was focused he found it fairly quickly. We did three more hides (for a total of four) and then were done. I wanted to make sure I kept it fun and simple since he had never worked vehicles before.

This was hide number 2. You can't really tell from this angle,
but the tin is inside the tire rim.




Hide three which introduced some elevation. 



Hide four which was actually under the car (again hard to tell from
this camera angle).  It was under the front bumper.



Bourbon did a great job working the vehicle for the first time. I was mighty proud of him :). Once we have practiced this many more times, we'll move on to adding more vehicles into the search area. During a trial, they have several vehicles lined up so the dog has to locate the correct vehicle and pinpoint the odor! Whew, hopefully Bourbon is up for the challenge!

Don't forget to check out my posts on Intro to Nosework and Box work if you are interested in getting your dog started in K9 Nosework!






Friday, June 21, 2013

Wrapping up Strut Your Pup

So I had an epic fail on sharing my experiences participating in Live Health Iowa's Strut Your Pup challenge. At least I managed to share 3 weeks (never mind that the challenge was 6 weeks long!) so I got half of it :).

The challenge ran from April 22 - May 31 and during that time I shared Monday's trip to Ada Hayden Park, Baron's adventure to the Farmer's Market, and Monday's experience at the Angie Anderson Memorial Dog Walk. I wasn't a horrible doggie parent, but I also wasn't a stellar one - sorry guys!! We did have many other escapades; I just either didn't get good pictures or didn't really have anything to write about.

One the upside we did win two prizes, even though we didn't win the grand prize. We came in 9th out of the 25 participants - so still pretty good! Top ten even :). Especially since I failed AGAIN and didn't get in to my account to record date for the last several days :(. Bad Erin.

We got a $5 Subway gift card and a package of 2 bully sticks.

Also, just for participating we got a cool travel bowl. I will be keeping this in my car for any future water needs :).

Pretty cool huh?
All in all it was a great experience and it got me thinking about new places to take the puppers. I'm pretty sure they enjoyed it as much as I did :)




Thursday, June 20, 2013

Every Drop Counts!

Yesterday Monday gave her second blood donation to the Canine Blood Bank of Central Iowa through Iowa Veterinary Specialties (IVS). She wasn't happy at first that she had to skip her breakfast, but she definitely likes the special attention she receives from all the staff members.

She thought we said she could be a doctor! Nope, she can be a donor :).

Don't Let Mosquitoes Get to Your Blood First

Damn pesky insects :). Back in the first post on Monday's acceptance into the blood bank I covered how to see if your dog is eligible and what the requirements from IVS entail. I really urge you to see if a local clinic could use a blood donor and if your dog is viable candidate. Every drop certainly counts and you could help save some lives :).

Soon after I drop Monday off (which is around 8:00 AM), the staff preps her for the donation. She is slightly anesthetized and her neck is shaved (at least her collar is thicker to hide that later - Thanks Hogan!). They then insert the needle into her neck and let the blood donation begin :).

Ready for donation!

Insertion of the donation needle.

Monitoring the donation.

A close-up :).

From Monday to You - A Gift of Life

Monday's blood donation.

Monday gives 450 ml of blood every donation. Geez, that makes me lightheaded just thinking about it! Once the donation is done (and it doesn't take long), they go ahead and reverse the anesthesia and give her some breakfast (I drop off food for her since she has allergies and is on a different diet). The staff is great and always calls me after the donation is done to let me know how it went and how she is doing. Then they monitor her until the afternoon to make sure she is still doing OK, as sometimes donation can take a lot out of you.

Usually, after I pick up Monday she goes home and rests for a few hours and then is right back to normal. She's never down for long! :)

The only gift is a portion of thyself. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson






Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tasty Tuesday - Cheddar Pumpkin Treats {gluten-free}

It's been awhile since I made treats at home for the puppers! The days are so full with stuff I don't have much downtime to bake :), but I found myself with some free time the other day, so I whipped out a recipe from Doggie Dessert Chef to try.

Ingredients

1 cup of Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 cup of Oats
1/2 cup of Soy Flour

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2.  Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.

I'd say the ingredients are well combined :)
3.  Spread by hand onto the prepared baking sheet 1/4 inch thick. Take a pizza cutter and score the dough horizontally and then vertically to make a grid. [In the interest of full disclosure, I did not do it this way. I can never make this way work for me, ugh. So I made little cookies about 1/2 tablespoon size.]

My 'cookies' ... LOL, the whole scoring and breaking into pieces
thing never works for me!
4.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned at the edges. [Back to the full disclosure thing - I baked mine for 15 minutes and then Nicholas's mom stopped by and I got distracted and I'm sure they baked for at least 10 more minutes! LOL, I did tell you that I'm not real good at baking right?!? Mine did turn out fine, as shown above!]

5.  Cool and break into pieces, then refrigerate. [My dogs go through them so fast, I don't bother refrigerating. Plus, mine were a bit...um...harder :).]

Feed us now woman, and no one gets hurt.



Monday, June 17, 2013

Tornado Organization

So we've had a few recent tornado scares, nothing serious in our area but we've realized that we really should get the basement organized a bit better if the real deal ever does happen. Plus it will help us maximize our space, which is always a plus in a house as small as ours (and the amount of crap we accumulate!).

The first dilemma I needed to deal with was the fact that we get water in our basement. Not a ton, but a nice size stream does appear from time to time that runs across the floor to the sub pump. So I had wire crates placed strategically throughout the basement to avoid the water, however it made walking through the basement a bit of a maze. :) So I had to pick a spot to center efforts which has remained dry.

Another annoying fact about my basement is that after the 1993 floods, the owners had buttresses installed about every 5 feet on all the walls. Seriously. And they stick out about 3-4 feet. So I don't have a ton of open wall space because of these cement 'partial' walls sticking out everywhere. Very annoying. At least we were lucky in that we had a perfect spot (in between buttresses) along a wall that has always remained dry.

Now I didn't want to push my luck, so I had to think of some way to keep the crates off the ground in case the floor did get wet over there. Knowing us, we'd move everything and then next weekend it'd rain and that damn area would get wet :). I don't want the metal to rust any faster than it already does and I didn't want to be moving around crates while we were expecting tornadoes. Especially since Bourbon and Baron can't be loose together, which is always something we have to factor in when we are emergency planning.

Since we moved offices last week for work, there were a few left over pallets that were going to be pitched. PERFECT! I grabbed up those pallets and we stopped at Lowe's on Friday to grab some cement blocks to put under them. Now we have ready-made platforms to keep the crates off the ground! And it got them out of the middle of the basement, which was nice for walking around down there :).

The two large crates and a food storage bin.

It has a nice cozy feel :). Now I just to have get a sheet of plywood to put on top of the kennels to protect them if the window shatters (and to store stuff on!).

What are your emergency plans? Do you have an area set up that is safe for your dogs?




Saturday, June 15, 2013

Going to Court

Yesterday I took the day off so that I could go to court for Animal Control. No, not for myself! LOL, but I was a 'witness' of sorts. See there is a person in my neighborhood who continually lets their dog run loose and I am beyond done dealing with it. It has been going on for more than a year and a half and it has affected my dogs. Not to mention the danger it puts their dog in, we live in a pretty high-traffice area!! So Nicholas and I were all ready to go and say our piece and back up our complaints that had finally resulted in citations (which they were contesting).

I was a bit nervous, never having gone to court before. And I had no idea what I was actually needed for - would it basically be my word against her word? But I decided that I had to do this because otherwise I really wouldn't have the right to complain. If I was going to be calling Animal Control to deal with the loose dog all the time, then I needed to stand behind my calls.

Well interestingly enough, they came in and paid their citations last week and admitted they were at fault. No one from the City or from Animal Control notified us, so we were ready and at the Courthouse for nothing. Which in the end was fine - I had the day off to spend with Nicholas and we got to get some things done around the house. But it was also a bit disappointing as well, I was interested in how the process worked and what would be expected of us. Oh well. Hopefully, they have learned their lesson and their dog will safely be contained from now on so we can restart walking that direction on the block again. Monday misses the kids that used to feed her treats :).

Check back next week to see what we accomplished today at the house...of course it is a dog-related project :). Here are your hints:








Thursday, June 13, 2013

Confessions of a Dog Trainer - 3


I am dog trainer. At least most days :).

Generally, people expect a dog trainer to have trained dogs. Perfect little robot dogs. Well, not so much in my case (what FUN would that be?) - people who have met my dogs can attest to the fact that they are NOT perfect. Nor will they ever be. They have personality...and a touch of insanity :). Hey, it makes life fun!

We like crraaazzzzzyyy....
Photo: Amy Turner

So if you come to my house, please expect to see at least three dogs on the couch. Another dog is usually on the chair, with yet another barking out the window. Of course, this is after they've barked at YOU for at least five minutes. :) With five dogs they are always under foot and in your way! My dogs do not usually sit quietly in a corner waiting for your attention - they demand center stage (and they are pretty good at it!).

Monday, the spoiled one, sleeps under the covers with me. Sometimes, she even sleeps with her head on my pillow. Oh yea, I kiss her on the lips too (sorry Nicholas!). :) What can I say? I love her and no this does not encourage 'aggressiveness' or make me less of an 'alpha' (ps. I really, really, really HATE that term and philosophy).

<gasp> I know this is all very shocking.


Photo taken from Inspired Leaders Academy.

I also know that most people have the same things going on in their house. But we feel the need to hide this and strive to impress with perfect little robot dogs. Why? What is 'obedience' really anyway?

I certainly don't think of it as a one way communication with submission being the goal. I want my dogs to be themselves and be dogs, while still working within my expectations. Sometimes naughtiness is fun and lightens the mood :). My goal has always been to maximize each dog's natural talents (like lure coursing for Bourbon's extreme prey drive) while allowing them to be a unique individual. As long as I am happy with my dogs, then in all honesty, I don't really care what other people think of how my dogs act.

By letting my dogs be individuals, they have taught me so much I might never have learned. They are just as much teachers as I am. Every day they make me smile and laugh. I've learned how to live in the moment, enjoy the small things in life, and most especially to play every day whether I want to or not.

Now if I had perfect little robot dogs I would missed all those important lessons :).

Mama, I don't want to be a robot...




Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday Training Tips: CGC Test Item 3

The third in my Canine Good Citizen (CGC) series going through each of the CGC exercises and offering tips for practicing in order to successfully pass a CGC Evaluation. Test Item 2 was covered previously.


Test Item 3: Appearance and Grooming

This test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer, or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner's care, concern, and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it cleaned and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it, and give encouragement throughout.

Grooming :)
Picture taken from www.examiner.com

So Your Goal: Accepting brushing and gentle inspection of feet and ears (or other handling).

Training Tips:

Pleasant daily handling and grooming will help you recognize physical problems early on, and your dog will learn that being examined and groomed is a welcome part of everyday life. So to prepare your dog for this test, you'll need to get started now with a daily routine of simple brushing and handling exercises done by you. Gradually build up from gentle touching to brushing and checking each area that will be inspected - ears, body, and feet. Every interaction with grooming utensils and hands :) should be a positive experience.

If your dog becomes afraid or uncertain when its ears or feet are touched, spend time linking touch to those areas with positive associations (praise and treats). Lots of dogs prefer not to have their ears handled, so you want to start making your touch to this place more of a massage. Stroking and massaging your dog's ears on a regular basis often becomes pleasurable for them and can help them deal with the brief inspection done by the evaluator. Once your dog is comfortable being groomed and examined by you, ask someone else to do the same.

The handling does not need to be extremely invasive and remember to take your time as you practice these exercises with your dog. Use a soothing voice - channel the massage therapist in you! Your dog needs to associate these grooming experiences with pleasure (and treats!). Grooming is also a wonderful way to bond with your dog, so make sure to take the time to enjoy the time spent with your dog.

Here is a short video demonstrating Test Item 3. (I used an unfamiliar brush on Mia and apparently she didn't think it smelled so good! Just another reason to use one that your dog is used to and smells like them.)

video


Next week we'll discuss CGC Test Item 4, Out for a Walk (Walking on a Loose Leash).



Don't forget to check out the other CGC test items we've covered:




Monday, June 10, 2013

Vito's Story

Oh, Vito. He's the baby of the family and definitely knows it. He's not even the youngest :), but he is the smallest (even though he has the biggest mouth!!). And he has that perpetual puppy look, everyone who meets him swears he's still a puppy (yea a puppy going on six years old, LOL).

Who me? I can't help it if I am eternally young and handsome...

Small But Intimidating

I've shared Bourbon's Story and so I thought I would share Vito's as his comes with a troubled start as well. Not dramatic like with Bourbon and Hurricane Katrina, but definitely unfortunate. See Vito was dropped off at a shelter when he was only two weeks old with the rest of his litter, but not his mama. Who does that?!? It makes me mad just thinking about it, even after all these years. Some people. Anyways, Illinois Doberman Rescue Plus had arrived at that shelter to pull a Doberman and just couldn't leave the litter behind for an obvious death sentence. So IDR+ pulled the litter along with the Doberman.

Vito with his littermates. There were four puppies total.

Sadly, Vito is the only one from the litter that survived. Which explains his incredible stubbornness - he was too stubborn to die :). IDR+ president Pam had taken the litter to her house (which is dubbed the medical ward, LOL) to bottle feed them and give them the best chance possible. Then once he was older, he moved to a foster home for a while before I decided that I wanted to adopt him. I had no idea what I was getting into but I fell in love with him through the continual updates, pictures, and story shared about him.

He was soo tiny!! Basically the same size as a box of kleenex.

Even when the ball was bigger than his head, Vito was still obsessed.

Everyone who met Vito loved him. He just sucks you in with those puppy dog eyes.

More Than I Bargained For

Vito was 12 weeks old when I finally brought him home. He was definitely a large dog in a very, very tiny package. The moment he came into my house he took over. He had the best facial expressions which instantly had him getting his way time and time again. He also had these cute ears that never went in the same direction twice. They were all over the place!! And his damn spotted nose. He was definitely WAY too cute for his own good (and my sanity).

How do you resist this face?

Vito climbing on the kitchen table. He was not supposed to be up there....but you never could tell Vito what wasn't acceptable, he did his own thing.

He had a love affair with shoes. They ranked right up under tennis balls.

While Vito livened up my house, he also made me learn even more about dogs. Bourbon pushed me to learn more about training, exercise, and dog reactiveness; but Vito pushed me to learn more about fearfulness, anxiety, and resource guarding. Vito is not an easy dog to live with and he's taught me a lot. Over the years, I've had quite the roller coaster ride with the little man but I wouldn't trade it for anything.


Vito staring down Tito for his tennis ball. Even that young, he was very intense and possessive.

Vito loved agility but he eventually hated going places because of his anxiety :(.

Vito turns six next month, I can't believe how fast time has gone by. It seems like just yesterday he was a tiny, little imp that was smaller than my shoe. I'm sure he has more 'surprises' in store for me as the years go by. I can definitely say that he keeps life interesting!



Thursday, June 6, 2013

Making the Rug Theirs

It's been delivered!!

I finally got a new rug for the living room! Not that I don't love my old color block rug, but I've had it for almost 10 years and it's begun to, well...smell like dog. Imagine that! :) I've housebroke many a foster on that rug and I think it's time for its retirement. So of course I order a new rug that is light green and light gray - LOL, probably SURE to show all the dirt the dogs track through. Oh well, it certainly looks nice and the dog's have approved.

Bourbon supervising the new rug getting laid out. He's quite the helper :).

The new rug is A LOT bigger than my old rug. I probably should have really measured, LOL instead of just trying to guess. I'm horrible at spacial estimates! But the bigger size definitely works for the living room and it protects more of the floor, so that is at least a good thing. We need to sand down and reseal our floors, but that is definitely a project for another day (most likely another year!).

Bourbon is satisfied with its appearance, now to get it in the correct spot!

Once I got it situated correctly and vacuumed (who knew rugs came with carpet balls all over them!), Bourbon had decided he was tired from all the excitement. He was apparently done being my helper, LOL.

Whew, that was hard work! Time for a nap...

The true test was letting the rest of the dogs into the living room and gauging their thoughts. They were all pretty intrigued at first because of the new smells and new feel of it. But in true dog fashion, they were over all the fuss in about 2 minutes flat and life was back to normal in the living room (aka dog room!).

Mom, what is this thing on the floor? :)

Baron was over the new rug pretty fast and was way more
interested in what was going on outside  :).

Vito and Rookie approved!

How do your dogs handle new 'furniture' or room accessories in your house?