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Quiet On the Set! And…Action!

September 3, 2011

Superstars Delilah and Jasper in their first video ever!

Favorite Toys #2

August 26, 2011

Photo courtesy of Pet Food Express website

We call this a BunnyBall at our house, and it’s one of the dogs’ all-time favorites.  It has a squeaker inside, and the dogs love to grab the long ears for shaking back and forth.  Then they are off and running, ending in a friendly tug-of-war match.  Good times! 

This toy has proven to be pretty sturdy, but since it’s plush with added parts (ears and feet), supervision is important.  We’ve actually gone through several, but they’ve lasted a good long time, and mostly it’s been a matter of them getting dirty from constant play that’s prompted the purchase of new ones.  I always check for holes and tears, though, as with all plush toys.

I’ve seen the BunnyBall at most pet food type stores.  We get ours at Pet Food Express, where I especially like to go because they support adoptions and don’t sell any animals in their stores. 

Jasper and Delilah Action Shot:

Innocence Maintained

August 20, 2011
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The look on her face is classic Delilah…ready for more while maintaining complete innocence (tail wag included).  This little football just didn’t stand a chance (which, by the way, had been brand new a matter of hours before).  I imagine anyone who has a dog has been treated to this exact same scenario.  No matter how hard you try to keep an eye on them, dogs will sometimes find a way to have an especially good time in their own way.  We gotta love ’em for it!  All you can do is clean up with a smile on your face, and hope for an indestructible toy next time around!

Pain in the Neck

August 2, 2011

Harnesses…get one!  It’s so frustrating to see dogs being tugged around by the neck.  Especially for small dogs who have tiny little necks and tracheas that are easily damaged, there’s no reason every one of them should not be walking on a harness.  I always want to take the collar off the dog and put it on the person so they can experience the inhumanity of it all.  When I see the poor little things walking on anything else, I just cringe.  No matter how much someone thinks they do or don’t pull, it’s happening and it’s harmful to the dog. 

I know people generally have a harder time controlling bigger dogs, but now there’s all kinds of options for walking, like a gentle leader or other similar products.  These take a short amount of time for dogs to get used to, and give great control without pain.

I’ve been to lots of classes to learn about dogs, their behavior, and their needs, as well as having been a trainer (of positive methods) myself.  When people use methods other than positive and rewarding, it teaches the animal to respond out of fear…fear of pain and punishment.  They respond to avoid these, and to appease the guardian.  Nothing else.  I think that most people want to establish a trusting relationship with their dog, and want the best for them.  Unfortunately there are a lot of trainers out there using archaic, outdated methods, and people listen to them because they can’t imagine others having anything but the best in mind for their companions.  Think again.

Adverse methods, even those which might seem “mild”, don’t promote a positive relationship with dogs.  It’s like people who punish their kids to get them to do what they want, instead of taking the time to teach and communicate with them.  It may work in the short term, but guess what kind of relationship is being created.  And what always amazes me is that almost no adult would walk up to another adult and hit them, or apply any other physically negative approach, because one wouldn’t cooperate with another.  Because you can’t.  They can fight back.  Dogs can’t.  And they rarely want to, because they want to please this person who they believe is looking out for them.

So let’s be a civilized, compassionate society, and get rid of the choke chains, prong collars, shock collars (interestingly called “training” collars by those who would use them), and the outdated “alpha dog theory”.  People need to put themselves in their dog’s place and imagine how they would want to respond to these “tools” that people and incompetent trainers use.  Just an aside, one of my instructors said there’s only one good use for a “choke chain”, and that’s for hanging plants!  So00 true!

Obviously most people want the absolute best for the dogs they love and care for, and it’s time that they were provided with great information and methods.  Beware of misinformation and lousy trainers…they abound.  If something doesn’t feel right in your gut, don’t do it.  Whether it’s a product that’s recommended or a trainer.  Get rid of both and find the great, compassionate innovators who promote sound methods and positive relationships.

Some places to start are reading some books that have become standards in the world of positive dog training: 

Also, visit these sites and read their behavior handouts and advice:

For magazines/journals, I’d go with:

And on tv/online, check out:

  • Dog Star Daily
  • It’s Me or the Dog with Victoria Stilwell (hands down the best on tv, regardless of other “famous” trainers out there…heh hmmm.  People need to stop watching and supporting the other popular tv dog trainer, you know who I mean.  He’s not what people think, and his methods are unsound.  Trust me.)

All of those listed above are the best in their field, and ensure that there’s still hope out there in the world of dogs.

She Did It!

July 25, 2011

Oh my gosh!  We’re so excited!!  Delilah has overcome her car phobia…yea!!!  It’s like a party here, and I’m even calling friends and family to let them know about her successful car ride.  And bless their hearts, they’re genuinely happy for her, too. 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we tried a Thundershirt.  For our situation, or Delilah in particular, it didn’t do the trick.  She was just as scared with it on when she rode in the car, as when it was off. 

I’ve also been trying to desensitize her, and we had worked up to a ride around the block.  Although this was bearable for her, she was still clearly nervous.  She would stay in my lap for the duration, and while she didn’t go into panic mode, she wouldn’t accept treats, and praise did nothing to reassure her.  So her anxiety level continued to be too high.

Then, in a catalog, I saw a picture of a small car seat that fits on the console between the two front seats.  Knowing I couldn’t continue to drive around the block with her in my lap for the rest of our lives, and thinking that being near me might help a bit, I thought I may as well give it a try.  It has a high back, three straps to secure it for safety, and a built-in clip to attach to your dog’s harness.  I’ve since seen them at a few online sites, but I got mine through PetEdge:

Photo courtesy of Snoozer Luxury High-Back Console and PetEdge online catalog

 

Delilah’s seat arrived last night, so I took it out of the box and set it on the living room floor.  I put her in it, and she took to it right away.  She jumped in and out of the seat a few times, and buried her nose into the soft corners.  It was just her size.  Then today, I strapped the seat securely to the console and retrieved Delilah from the house.  She whined in reluctance as we headed for the car.  We got in together, and I placed her in the new car seat.  As the car began pulling out of the driveway, Delilah showed signs of being nervous.  But then suddenly, as we made our way down the street, she began accepting treats and praise.  And then the miracle occurred and she stopped shaking!  We extended our trip to the next block where she proceeded to flip onto her back for a tummy rub.  And then she was up again, waiting for the next treat.  We were able to drive six whole blocks (I didn’t want to push it), and then returned home…with Delilah riding along oh-so-calmly.

I guess it was just a matter of finding the one thing that would work for her.  That’s true for all of us who face any kind of challenge…what works for one doesn’t always work for another.  But it’s worth discovering just the right solution for the situation…and there always is one.  A happy one.  And so again, here’s one more lesson my dogs continue to teach me.

 

Getting Our Water Wings

July 19, 2011

Another first!  In this hot weather, we needed some cooling down!  So out came the kiddie pool, and Jasper and Delilah tried their paws out in the water.  Apparently Chihuahuas and Terriers aren’t “water” dogs, because Delilah mostly drank the water, and Jasper didn’t wade for very long.  But it’s good for a little summertime fun anyway!  And we found a few floaty toys, so that made it even better:

 

Favorite Toys #1

July 15, 2011

I’m always on the quest for the perfect toy.  The one that will have the dogs mesmerized and consumed for hours.  Sometimes, though, the toy I’m sure will delight ends up being dropped in a corner moments after it’s been received, and those I least suspect are the ones that bring about joyful puppy play.  You just never know!

The regular, stuffable Kongs are a daily event in our house, and I don’t think we could do without them.  The quest for new and interesting recipes is always in the back of my mind when I’m at the grocery store…hmmm, what can I fill the Kongs with this week?  However, I hadn’t tried out the Kong Wubbas until now.  And, voila, we have a winner!

So this week’s favorite toy is the Kong Wubba:

Delilah picks the purple one…

Jasper picks the red one…

And, of course, it doesn’t matter that Delilah and Jasper each have their own Wubba.  The toy that the other dog has always looks more interesting, and so they have some tug-of-war fun…

Visit Kong for a look at all their toys: