Monday, May 18, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

I read on another blog, I think it was That Mutt but I could be wrong, that you shouldn’t try to avoid situations that your dog has issues with but should try to confront those situations and work through them. I’m paraphrasing obviously. :)

I sometimes don’t like walking Trooper because when we encounter other dogs he gets rowdy. Timber is the same way. But I realize that the more I walk Trooper and encounter dogs in various states of excitement the better he gets in his reactions.

If a dog is lunging (excited or aggressive) Trooper still wants to react toward that dog but with the choke chain and the sharp command “leave it” or “No” he isn’t trying to pull me off my feet anymore. Of course, an aggressive dog makes him get protective but he’s getting better at that too.

Timber, meanwhile, is also making gains in walking properly with his mama. I took him to daycare on Friday and for about 20 minutes went back and forth from my car to the door trying to get him to not pull on me. Finally the owner took pity on me and in 2 minutes had that dog healing and looking up at her in total submission.

I was very jealous. What was I doing wrong? I was being too nice!!! =) Which is funny since I’m the “mean” one of the family (mean as in strict). But I wasn’t being mean enough.

So more practice is necessary. My goal is to be able to someday walk both boys together. Without being pulled over. In the meantime I’ll be happy walking them separately without having a shoulder dislocated. :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Don't Bring Me Down

So I’m browsing around and come across this article, via Instapundit, about some yahoo who wrote another article dissing dogs and dog owners for believing that their dogs love them.

Eric Zorn, a writer for the Chicago Tribune, recently mocked a local woman, Jess Craigie, who dove into near-freezing waters to save her dog from drowning. Zorn wrote, “Note to Jess Craigie: Your dog still doesn’t love you.”

Uh huh.

I wrote a post a while ago about dogs and souls. It’s a more complicated and mysterious than any of us can truly understand or explain in our lifetime. Perhaps after we die we will find out the true answer.

For now I refuse to believe that my dogs don’t recognize and love me in their own doggy way.

It may not be love the way I understand love and express it as a person. But it is their own way of showing us their affection for us. When I come home from work and hubby has the door cracked open just enough so that their happy doggy noses are sticking out, tongues out, and tails wagging. You can just sense their excitement.

When I walk in the door I’m sniffed and rubbed up against…of course this is partially conditioning. I give them luvins when I come home and they expect it.

But you can’t tell me that Trooper isn’t fond of me. Perhaps he only sees me as alpha and his “affection” and attention is merely his way of relating to alpha. Maybe.

Me and my baby boy Trooper Bear

If that’s all it is, I’ll still take it and accept it as his way of loving his mommy.

Can anyone truly quantify the love or affection of a dog (or cat for that matter)?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Pups

Yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and take Timber and Trooper for a walk. Separately. I keep telling hubby that he needs to work with Timber more often but the laziness factor seems to keep that from happening.

Don’t get me wrong, hubby LOVES his dogs and plays with them a lot (wrestling, ball, tug of war) but walks seem to elude his vocabulary.

And I’m tired of Timber practically pulling me down when I take him to daycare. He needs to NOT pull.

So around the neighborhood I went with Timber not sure exactly why mommy was with him instead of papa. But he did very good. Several times I had to use the choke chain and jerk in the opposite direction to make him stop pulling hard but that should decrease the more we work.

One of my neighbors was walking out to get his mail and I asked him if we could train a bit with him. I made Timber sit and stay and the neighbor walked towards us. Timber freaked out and got all excited and started jumping up and waging his tail and barking. So the neighbor stopped (he knew what he was doing) while I calmed pup down and made him sit again.

It took a little over 5 minutes for the guy to actually be able to get close enough to us with Timber being calm before I’d let Timber approach the man. He tried jumping up once but I was ready for it and the guy was too. It’s good to have neighbors who know how to handle dogs. Plus he’s a total dog lover.

We only went around the neighborhood once but that was enough for Timber, who seemed wiped out…with all the switching directions we probably actually walked the equivalent of two times around.

Trooper is a breeze after wild man. But I was a little more strict with him last night because I want to take him with me in public to an outdoor craft show on Saturday. So for the most part I kept him right by my side, something I don’t always do on regular walks. And I only let him leave my side if I said “OK” and gave him extra leash so he could sniff and mark. He did really well. When I stopped to chat to someone he just sat down nicely. He’s such a good boy.

Daddy doesn’t want me to take Trooper out in public. He’s worried about liability, which I can totally understand after the incident. But he’ll be on leash, on a choke chain actually, and with me the whole time. At no point will he be off leash or out of my sight. If I see a small dog (and my eyes will be peeled) I will tighten up my hold and be extremely careful.

If I don’t ever take him out he’ll never learn how to behave. One of these days I’d like hubby and I to be able to take Trooper and Timber with us for long walks in public places but right now that isn’t realistic.

Anyway…both Trooper and Timber were very happy and tired last night.

At the Beach after a walk

What about Quinn and Kodiak? Well, their walk times have diminished drastically since Kodiak’s last surgery. Quinn can only make it once around the neighborhood and that’s pushing it. Kodiak loves to walk but ends up very sore afterward so we don’t walk him that often…maybe once a week. They’re both old enough that they like to sleep most of the day.

Lazy Kodiak

It’s the two young boys who keep us on our toes.

Aunt Jennie with the Boys

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Do You Order Online?

I’ve seen the commercials - order your pet’s medicine online and save money. I’ve never actually done it though. I generally buy all of our doggies’ medications directly from the vet. Mostly because none of them are on anything that is too expensive or that is ongoing.

But if one of them were on a regular medicine it would make more sense to order those online - as much for saving money as for saving time driving to and from the vet.

I wonder though if my vet would start to get snippy if we requested a prescription to purchase somewhere else, the way Two Nervous Dog’s vet did. I’d like to think that mine wouldn’t as they have sent us to the regular pharmacy in the past for medicine that could be bought cheaper there. I will admit that it was weird to get a prescription filled for my dog at a people pharmacy.

It seems like quite a few vets have issues (scroll down for the article parts) with allowing their customers to purchase medicines online, which is too bad. I realize that vets are also trying to make a profit, but it seems like they’d also be able to support their customers’ needs for lower cost meds. It creates good will and trust when a business looks after the best interests of their customers. And that in turn creates more loyalty and profitability.

My vet must make money on things other than medications…they sure charge enough. They are worthy it though.

Do you order medications online? How have you found the experience? Any problems? Concerns? Cautions for others?

Friday, May 1, 2009

We're Back - Lots of Pics

Oh my goodness…it is hard to be back, even though I do love being home in my own bed. We had such a great time on vacation, even though it was only 4 days long. It’s actually pretty stressful for me to go on vacation with my dogs, as much as I adore them. My next vacation might have to be without them.

It’s just a lot of work when your dogs absolutely can NOT be off leash and there’s no fenced in area for them. It means leads and tying the leads to things that can’t be ripped up or tipped over. And those leads then get tangled if all four dogs are out at the same time. It’s exhausting.

But it was worth it. We discovered that Timber is definitely part fish…or some sort of dog that loves the water. While the other three wimps freak out if the water gets over their knees, Timber was diving in head first with no fear whatsoever. It was incredible and I was almost in tears with happiness. I took a short video of his aunt Jennifer playing with him in the surf…please forgive my goofy commentary…and shaky hands.

Watching that makes me smile. He had SO much fun. He barked a lot from the house where we had a perfect view of the beach - every time he saw a dog on the beach he’d start barking, so he barked a lot. He was also enthralled by the birds…so was Trooper.

The house we stayed in was right on top of the beach and had a perfect view of Haystack rock. Unfortunately there were really steep stairs leading down to the beach, which made it impossible for my mother in law to go down and very difficult for Quinn and Kodiak. Quinn went on one walk with me on Sunday morning and while she had a great time she was done and exhausted for the next two days.

What's this?

Seaweed smells good!

Queen of the sand hill.

On our way back up the steps, I literally had to lift her back legs for her. :( The poor thing. Getting old sucks. But our walk was nice and relaxing…just the two of us.

I also got to take Trooper on a solo walk…it was after his main walk with his aunt and papa so he was nice and mellow. I wasn’t able to handle him so well when he was fresh with lots of energy. It was too exciting for him. :)

Trooper Bear at Haystack Rock

Fun at the beach

Thank goodness for their aunt Jennifer…she loves to walk and took the boys on real long walks that tired them out nice and good. A tired dog is a great dog!

Run Trooper Run!

Happy Boy


I have so many more fun photos to share but I should probably stop. LOL If you want to see the rest of the photos I have (except for some of the family ones…hubby doesn’t like his face on the net) please check out my Vacation 2009 folder in Flickr.

It’s good to be home. I think the doggies were still tired for a day after we got back. We’re going to have to find a beach close to us to take them to…at least to take Timber and Trooper.