Archive for the ‘Dog Leisure’ Category

Moving With Our Dogs and Getting Settled

July 11, 2014
Dogs on New Dog Bed Cover

Maya and Pierson resting on their new dog bed in our new house.

We’re finally moved and settled into our new home in Des Moines, Iowa. It’s been a rough journey for me because of all the things happening on or around the move:

We said goodbye to our housemates who lived with us for two years, my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer, I found a lost dog, I participated in a pet event with my PetAutoSafety.com pet products, I went to visit my mom in Oregon, when I returned my husband started his new job in Iowa so I organized the contractors for painting and home repair, I took my final exam for statistics (and made an A), I wrote a report for my human relations class, we moved, I unpacked boxes and organized our household, Maya got beat up by another dog and I tended her wounds, my mom is still doing well but getting worse, someone wants to buy our house but wants other repairs done first so I am organizing that from long distance, I was really sick for a couple of weeks, and I am working on enrolling in a school here in Iowa so I can finish getting my degree.

Whew! We’re pretty much settled in now and I’m finally getting back into routine. But enough about me! What about Maya and Pierson?

DANGEROUS FOOD SCARE

While still at the house in Kansas, we had a huge scare with Maya and Pierson getting into food that the contractor workers left outside. Pierson ate half a chicken bone and Maya ate half a candy bar. I was so upset! Luckily, nothing came of it. Pierson later puked up the bone pieces with no ill effects and Maya only ended up with soft stool for a day.

DRIVE TO IOWA

The trip went very well. Maya and Pierson were very comfortable and very well behaved in the car. As you know, I use a number of pet travel products from my PetAutoSafety.com website. The newest one I got to try out was the Pet Dek. It is a lot like the Backseat Bridge with a few differences. Most of those differences are good, but there are a few cons. Read the pros and cons of the Pet Dek on my blog. And click the image below to be directed to my retail website.

Dogs Maya & Pierson on Pet Dek in Car

Look how much room Maya and Pierson have in the car with the new Pet Dek!

Maya and Pierson also wore their dog car seat belts. Pierson wore the Ruff Rider Roadie and Maya wore the ClickIt Utility. I had the windows down during the drive but they couldn’t put their heads out because I have the Breeze Guard car window screens in place. And I put Travel Calm on both Maya and Pierson just before we left. Maya is crazy in the car and Travel Calm helps a lot. It also has ingredients to help with car sickness. Even though Pierson hasn’t had trouble with car sickness for a long time, I still wanted to make sure he was comfortable.

FENCED YARD?

I mentioned in my post on May 15th that we don’t have a fenced yard anymore. Someone asked if we were going to get it fenced. The answer is no. There really isn’t any need. Maya and Pierson are indoor dogs. Even when they did have a fenced yard, they didn’t take advantage of it much. Don’t worry, Maya and Pierson are only out on a chain for a few minutes a few times a day and they are supervised the entire time. I did get a baby gate for the back porch. This will allow me to keep the back door open on nice days and allow them to enjoy the fresh air without having to worry about them being in the yard unattended.

Two Dogs on the Back Porch

We don’t have a fenced yard so in nicer weather, we will hang out on the back porch, which is blocked off with a baby gate.

LOCKED IN BASEMENT

A few days after we moved in to our new house, I accidentally locked Maya in the basement. I didn’t realize she had followed me down and so when I went back up, she stayed down there for a while. By the time I realized it, I was so worried about her. There was still a lot of junk in the basement left by the previous renters and I was worried rat poison might have been left down there. There was rat poison left under a bathroom sink, so I wasn’t sure where else this stuff might have been left. Luckily, the landlord confirmed that they did not put any rat poison in the basement.

MAYA GETS BEAT UP

Maya had some back luck with some dogs in the neighborhood. There were two incidents and they were completely accidental. I would not consider them the result of irresponsible dog owners at all. I will talk more in detail about that in a few days. Don’t worry, Maya is okay. She just had to wear the cone of shame for a while.

My Sad Dog Maya in a Cone

Poor Maya.

A quick little update on my mom – She is sleeping up to 22 hours per day now. Some days she does very well and other days she has problems with confusion and hallucinations. My stepdad is taking very good care of her and she now has help from hospice care. She is in good hands and surprisingly still in good spirits.

Thank you everyone, for stopping by. I think you will start to see me visit your blogs again. I’ve really missed everyone and can’t wait to catch up with all of you. :)

DOGTV May Help Some Dogs with Separation Anxiety

December 13, 2013
DogTV

Does your dog watch TV?

Someone shared an interesting and very informative article with me, so I thought I would pass it on:

Nothing is worse than leaving for work or to run errands, only to be mournfully followed to the door by my dog’s heartbreaking puppy-dog eyes pleading for me to stay. Saying goodbye to my pup even for a few hours may be hard on me, but more importantly, and as other dog owners would agree, we worry about how hard it is on them.

According to the AAHA, about 10 to 15 percent of dogs experience some sort of separation anxiety. Unfortunately, when pets feel abandoned they may lash out by misbehaving, whether it’s peeing in the house, chewing on furniture, or partaking in other forms of destruction, or even just barking incessantly.

There have been previous attempts at aiding separation anxiety in dogs, including the Thundershirt, calming collars and simple training methods. Now, a recent digital option to help these anxious pups has appeared in the form of a new DirecTV channel, DOGTV. The channel was created by a group of leading dog experts, including scientist Prof. Nicholas Dodman and dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, and broadcasts 24/7 programming scientifically designed for dogs.

But what does “scientifically designed for dogs” really mean? The main features seem to be that the programs are color-adjusted for dogs’ eyes, and feature 3-6 minute segments meant to relax, stimulate and expose dogs to situations familiar to them from everyday life. It all sounds great in theory, but many owners will still question is if DOGTV actually works.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has stated that any relaxation and stimulation for pets is good, but has also cautioned that dog television may not work for every dog. There may be critics of DOGTV — pet owners who say it has no effect on their pets, that dogs won’t be interested in the visuals TV can present, or that their dogs simply bark at the screen. However, a poll taken by the American Kennel Club revealed that 60 percent of dog owners said their dog watched TV for short periods of time fairly often. So, if the channel can help relieve even some dogs who suffer with separation anxiety and boredom behavior, you may find, like me, that DOGTV is worth investing in.

As absurd as TV for dogs might sound, I must admit that my own dog, Oliver, seems to love it. I already knew he was intrigued by the television — whenever I turned on a movie, he stared at the screen until the movie finished, as though he was truly interested in what he saw. So I tested out DOGTV, and although I don’t have a camera to monitor his activities when I am not there, I believe the television shows distracted and/or entertained him enough to stop chewing my pillows. It provides him with the mental stimulation that I cannot give him while away at work, when he gets tired of sleeping and starts looking for something to entertain him. Instead of just looking out the window each day and then eating a pillow, Oliver has something to keep his attention and calm him down.

So, for pet owners who spend the majority of the day out of the home, and for dogs who suffer with separation anxiety, DOGTV may just be the solution to help not only keep your pet calm and entertained, but also your home in order and your favorite pair of shoes safe. I would suggest reading up on the science behind the new channel and the opinions of experts before investing in DOGTV yourself, but I think overall that the new channel is a great idea.

(The above was written by someone else. I have not used DOGTV for Maya and Pierson, but I can see how it could be helpful for some dogs. I’ve seen studies of how music can sooth a dog, so why not TV? It has sound too, plus visual stimulation. When I worked at a boarding kennel years ago, we had special “rooms” with TVs that dog’s parents could pay extra for. Some of our customers were certain the TV helped soothe their dog because the TV was on for them every day whenever they went to work. I imagine the voice of Rachael Ray and the voices of the characters on soap operas provided a familiar comfort for these dogs when their parents were out of town for several days.)

What do you think of the idea of DOGTV?

Make Your Own Dog Toys

December 9, 2013

Need to stretch your budget this holiday? Or tired of buying expensive toys only to have your dog tear them up in less than 5 minutes? Your dog doesn’t care how colorful or cute his dog toys are. So why not just make your own? Here are some ideas I like to do for Maya & Pierson:

Tennis Sock Toy

I wear socks all the time. And as such, I ruin socks all the time. While they may be no good for me to wear on my feet anymore, they might still be good for Maya to play with. Maya absolutely loves the tennis sock toy.

Maya's Tennis Ball Sock Toy

Maya loves playing with a handmade tennis ball sock toy.

The first thing I do is wash the socks. I either take a tennis ball and put it inside an old sock, or I stuff the old sock with other old stocks rolled into a ball shape. I then tie a knot at the base of the tennis ball or wad of socks. And ta-da! Maya has a tennis sock toy. My friend Joanne says I should call this toy the Barkypop. What do you think? :)

Tennis Ball Sock Toy

Make this great dog toy with just a tennis ball and an old sock.

Bottle Sock Toy

With knee-high socks, you can also make a bottle sock dog toy. Just stuff the old sock with a used water or soda bottle, and tie a knot at the base. Maya would love a bottle sock toy too, but I don’t wear knee-high socks. My ankle socks are too short to stuff a bottle in.

Handmade Fleece Toys

Have an old dingy fleece blanket? Rather than just throw it away, wash it and use it to make a variety of dog toys. Cut it into strips. Take three or six strips and tie a knot on one end. Braid them together and tie a knot on the other end.

Handmade Fleece Dog Toy

This handmade fleece dog toy is made from an old fleece blanket.

You can also use four strips and tie knots, one onto the other, to make a knot toy. If you’re fancy at different kind of braids, it can be fun to experiment to see what kind of different shapes you can make.

Maya Pierson Handmade Dog Toy 1

Maya and Pierson love their new fleece dog toy.

Maya Pierson Fleece Dog Toy 2

Maya says, “I want the dog toy!” and Pierson says, “No I want it!”

If you don’t mind sewing, you can sew the fleece into cool shapes. Don’t put in any stuffing of your dog likes to de-stuff his toys. Make sure your sewing is durable. Use yarn and double-stitch.

You can use other material too, such as from old shirts or old jeans. I, personally, don’t like to use other material because of the threads. Maya can be so destructive sometimes, she eats the threads and makes colorful poop! This is a concern for the sock toys too, so her sock toys are only given to her when I can supervise.

Maya Playing with Hand Made Dog Toy

This is a handmade dog toy made by some friends of mine. It is made by tearing material into strips, then braiding and knotting them together.

Bandana Ball Toy

Maya & Pierson won some stuff from Pruven some time back. It was fantastic stuff. One of the items received was a bandana with the Pruven logo on it. Bandanas were my dog Sephi’s thing and since she has gone over the rainbow bridge, I don’t feel like passing on that torch to another dog. So I have this wonderful unused bandana that I decided to put to good use:

Handmade Dog Toys 002

Cut from the four sides of the bandana towards the ball in the center.

Handmade Dog Toys 003

Tie the opposite corners together in a knot around the tennis ball.

Handmade Dog Toys 004

A fantastic dog toy made by tying a bandana around a tennis ball.

Handmade Dog Toys 009

Maya absolutely loves the bandana ball toy.

Handmade Dog Toys 008

I mean she really loves it.

Handmade Dog Toys 007

A lot.

Handmade Dog Toys 006

Did I mention how much Maya loves the bandana ball dog toy?

Handmade Dog Toys 005

Pierson likes it too, but Maya won’t let him have it.

A quick note on washing clothes you’re going to use to make dog toys – Consider the kind of laundry soap you use. You don’t want something with a bunch of chemicals. If you’re not sure about your laundry soap, just wash without soap. Add a touch of bleach to the load to disinfect.

So that’s all my ideas for handmade dog toys. Do you make some of your dog’s toys? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Wordless Wednesday – I’m So Proud of My Dog Pierson

July 24, 2013

Remember my post about ideas for working with Pierson on his dog aggression on February 9th of this year? Or the follow up post on the group walks we’ve been going on to help leash reactive dogs on May 15th? Well, I’m happy to say that the hard work is paying off! Look how close I was able to get Pierson to these other dogs without him going bananas! And it’s not just working on the group dog walks. It’s working on walks in our neighborhood too. I still have to cross the street to go around the other dogs, but it is much easier to distract him and keep him from acting out. I’m so proud of my fluffy boy!!!

Dog Pierson in Group Walk

This is a photo from one of the first group walks. Look how far Pierson had to stay behind.

Dog Pierson Group Walk

This is Pierson on our most recent group walk. We got even closer than this towards the end of the walk but I didn’t get pictures.

Pierson Group Walk Photo

Look how close we were at the end of the walk! It’s like the saying goes, “A tired dog is a good dog.”

Pierson Group Walk Group Photo

Everyone is proud of Pierson’s progress.

Thanks for stopping by on the Wordless Wednesday blog hop. For more great dog blogs around the web, check out the link below:

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Summer Fun – Watering the Dogs

July 13, 2013

I am not good at taking care of plants, so that is my husband’s chore. But when he went out of town, I went ahead and took care of the garden. While watering the plants, I also watered the dogs. I am much better at watering the dogs than I am at watering the plants. ;)

Maya and Pierson love playing in the sprinkler. Unfortunately, the sprinkler broke so I just used the sprayer instead. They really enjoyed it and it was a lot more fun for me too because I engaged with them. With the sprinkler, I would have just set it up and sat down to watch from a distance.

Watering the Dogs 014

“Hey! Is that water cool?”

Watering the Dogs 003

“Oh, that feels nice. So very cool!”

Watering the Dogs 004

“Oh, yeah. More on the front please.”

Watering the Dogs 005

“Okay. That’s good. Time to shake it off.”

Watering the Dogs 013

“Now for a drink. And to attack at the source.”

Watering the Dogs 010

“Which droplet do I try to eat first?”

Watering the Dogs 006

“I will just eat all of them.”

Watering the Dogs 007

“Oooh, that feels good!”

Watering the Dogs 001

“Ah! That’s cold!”

What fun things are you doing with your dog this summer?

Pawsh Wash Mutt N Strut to Benefit the Lawrence Humane Society

June 15, 2013

I decided to take Maya to another pet event benefiting the Lawrence Humane Society. Maya is over her doggy cold and the vet confirmed she is clear to go! This event was the Mutt n Strut and it was held in front of our favorite place to go get a dog bath – Pawsh Wash. We didn’t participate in the walking part of the event, but we enjoyed socializing. The event had a few pet supply vendors and some delicious food for both dogs and people. And we were able to sit down and enjoy the band.

Big Mastiff Dog

This is one big dog! I think his name was JuJu.

Mutt n Strut Pawsh Wash

Lots of people and dogs at the Mutt n Strut held in front of the Pawsh Wash.

Maya Ice Cream

Maya eating ice cream made just for dogs.

Twin Brindle Dogs

“I swear we’re not related.” These two dogs just met. It seems they have a lot in common.

Maya also got to play in the kiddy pool. She is a little wet in the photo above where she is eating a doggy ice cream cup. She is also showing off her new dog collar that we bought from one of the vendors, Daisy Diva Designs. Sarah is the owner of that business and I’ve bought these handmade dog collars from her before. I love how they are custom made. I almost always get a lavender design and a 1.5″ width.

There were also dogs there showing off their disc catching skills. We saw our friend Oscar doing some neat tricks. And we saw lots of dogs up for adoption.

It was a hot day, but cool misting fans were set up for both people and pets. And there were several kiddy pools. There were also some shaded areas under tents or trees. The event lasted from 5:30 to 9:00pm, so while it was hot at first, it did cool down.

Maya and I had a great time! I wish I had taken more pictures, but I was having too much fun.

 

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Nearly Wordless Wednesday – Sweet Prize from Sugar

June 12, 2013

Look what we won! “Sugar’s Furry Friend” is a great book by Maria Rosalyn Acero. If you don’t know Sugar, she is a beautiful Golden Retriever who has her own blog, SugarTheGoldenRetriever.

Maya and I with Sugar

Maya and I are on the porch swing reading “Sugar’s Furry Friend”.

My Maya loves chipmunks (which are a lot like squirrels in her mind). And she loves sitting with me on the patio swing. So I combined her two loves as shown in the photo above.

If you have children or if you just love Sugar the Golden Retriever, then you will really love “Sugar’s Furry Friend”. It is an excellent story about friendship and has lots of wonderful art of Sugar and her chipmunk friend. I was going to give this book to my nephews. But I love it so much that I’ve decided I want to keep it for myself! I can share it with all my nieces and nephews when I or they come to visit.

Get the Kindle version on Amazon.com today. We also have it on our Amazon a-store, Dog Lover’s Book Store. Click the image below:

Sugar's Furry Friend

For more great Wordless Wednesday pet photos, check out the blog hop link below.

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Wordless Wednesday – Missouri Farm in Spring

May 22, 2013

We went to visit my mom in Missouri this past weekend. When I say we, I mean my husband and I. Maya and Pierson stayed with our friends since my mom’s dog Solo and my dog Pierson do not like other dogs. My husband and I went to help out for a few days, as well as to celebrate my mom making a full recovery from lung cancer. Here are some photos from our trip:

My mom is great with gardens. Me, not so much.

My mom is great with gardens. Me, not so much.

Pixie the Chicken

My parent’s chickens. One is named Pixie, but I don’t remember the names of the others.

Callie Bunny Rabbit

My mom’s bunny rabbit, Callie. I just love the color of her fur.

Solo the Border Collie Mix

My mom and Solo. Solo is a Border Collie mix and loves her life on the farm.

Turtle Crossing Road

There were a lot of turtles trying to cross the road on Saturday morning. I wonder where they were going?

Waterfall Onondaga Cave

We visited the Onondaga Cave State Park and saw this beautiful small waterfall.

Goats and Kids

These are my parent’s neighbor’s kids. Sandy, my mom’s goat, is in there too. They love to be petted.

Rocky the Dog

My parent’s dog Rocky takes a break inside the house with the a/c. He’s 10 now and likes to take it easy.

For more fun pet photos, check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop below:

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Fit Dog Friday – Pierson’s Agility

May 17, 2013

I love teaching my dogs tricks. Pierson is especially fun to teach because he is so eager and so smart. Don’t get me wrong, Maya is eager and smart too. But Pierson has much better focus. He also has a lot more energy and needs regular physical and mental stimulation. So what better way to give him both than to give him ‘work’ to do.

I’ve thought about disc dog, but he is reluctant to catch the frisbee in his mouth. He is also not very good at bringing the frisbee back after I throw it. He wants to run away with it and chew on it. So I considered agility instead. Last year, I taught him how to jump through a hula hoop. It was a bit difficult at first because he was scared to jump through. But once he learned the hoop was nothing to be frightened of, his jumping skills took off.

Then over the winter I taught him how to weave through poles. I only had three poles so there were only two weaves, but he caught on to the concept rather quickly.

Then I saw the Kyjen dog agility starter kit online at a reasonable price and just had to get it. It came with one high jump, six weave poles, and a tunnel. Pierson took to the high jump right away. It was just like jumping through a hoop. He did well on the weave poles too, but he tends to miss some of the weaves.

Because it took so long for him not to be scared of the hula hoop, I thought the tunnel would take a long time. But he learned the command ‘tunnel’ after just two days. The following video was made after just under two weeks of playing with our new dog agility starter kit.

Although Pierson really seems to love this sport, I don’t think we will be doing any competitions. For one thing, I am not big on competitions. I’d rather keep the exercise fun rather than make it a chore. For another, Pierson does not like other dogs. I can imagine that trying to get him to do agility when there are other dogs around to distract him would be quite difficult.

No, we will stick to the starter kit in the back yard. Perhaps I will add some other agility stuff later. But overall, we will just keep dog agility fun.

Have you done agility with your dog? Any training tips?

Sort of Wordless Wednesday – Walking to Help Leash Reactive Dogs

May 15, 2013

Pierson is very leash reactive when he sees other dogs. He probably wasn’t properly socialized when he was young and I have not done a good job of consistently working with his socialization skills. But now that the weather is getting nice, I intend to do better. Recently, we joined a dog walking group that specifically gets together to work with our dogs’ behavior. I say gets together but in reality, we have to walk a distance apart.

Dog Pierson in Group Walk

I’m working on Pierson’s dog aggression by going on group walks with other dog owners.

Some dogs are doing really well and can now walk with other dogs without much trouble. Pierson is doing better, but as you can see from the photo he still has to stay a distance away. We can get a few feet closer than this before Pierson starts going crazy. Over time, I expect we will be able to get closer and closer. I’ll keep you posted on his progress.

Teaching the 'look' command to get my dog Pierson's attention when we see other dogs.

Teaching the ‘look’ command to get my dog Pierson’s attention when we see other dogs.

This past Saturday, I took Maya on the group walk. We decided to walk downtown and this would be too much for Pierson. Maya has her issues too, but with excitability, so I took her instead. If I had taken Pierson, we would not have been able to visit this nice dog barktique.

Welcome Sign for Lucky Dogs Bakery

Dogs welcome to the Lucky Dogs Bakery and Barktique.

Maya Gets Treats at Bakery

Treats are being passed around at the Lucky Dogs Bakery and Barktique.

Maya at Dog Bakery 1

Maya and others in the Lucky Paws Bakery and Barktique in Downtown Lawrence.

Small Dog Walking Group

Our dog walking group is still small. Thanks to lots of practice, these dogs are not as leash reactive as they used to be.

For more Wordless Wednesday pet photos, check out the blog hop link below.

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