Archive for August, 2012

Wordless Wednesday – Jumping Through Hoops

August 29, 2012

Dogs like my Border Collie/Aussie mix need a lot of physical and mental stimulation. Pierson loves his walks but he has this driving need to learn. So if I don’t teach him things, he will get bored and teach himself things, probably naughty things. Lately, we’ve been working on agility-type things. I am not part of a dog agility group and have not yet bought my own equipment but I bought a $3 hoola-hoop at Walmart. Look at Pierson’s joy and excitement as he jumps through it!

I don’t have the best camera in the world so the images are a bit blurry. But Pierson still makes them great!

For more cute photos of pets, check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop by clicking HERE.

Happy Birthday Maya Papaya!!!

August 25, 2012

Happy Birthday to Maya! She’s wearing a birthday bow from Bow Wow Wow Gifts.

Maya is 5 y ears old today! It was in November of 2007 when I first brought her home, though. I got her from a family who had adopted her just a week before. In fact, I still have her adoption records that name her Dixie. Since Maya was only three months old and had only been called Dixie for a week, I changed her name to Maya. Maya is a better fit, don’t you think?

So if Maya was adopted by someone else, why did they only keep her for a week before giving her to me? The woman who adopted her had two toddlers and an infant. That is a handful for anyone. Add a rambunctious puppy to it and you have absolute mayhem. I’m glad I was given the opportunity to take Maya and glad that Maya didn’t end up getting tied up and ignored in a back yard. But this situation shows that shelters need to make sure pets are a proper fit for a family, and families need to make sure they are ready before they get a dog.

Maya’s first crate. It didn’t take her long to outgrow it.

Potty Training
Maya was a joy but it didn’t take long before she earned the nickname, Trouble, and the saying, “Oh my, oh my, oh Maya”. I was working from home so I had lots of time to spend with her. But Maya was still the most difficult dog to potty train. I’ve had dogs my whole life and never had as much trouble potty training as I did with Maya. In fact, just last month she had an accident. It was my fault since I knew I should have let her outside again after she had played in the sprinkler and drank lots of water. But I forgot and Maya doesn’t tell me when she has to go. She just goes.

Leash Training
Training Maya to walk properly on a leash has also been very difficult. She does well with the stop-n-go method where if she pulls I stop and wait for her to look at me and come back before going forward again. I also gave her treats when she stayed by my side for a length of time. But all that training goes out the window as soon as she sees another person, and especially if she sees another dog. I know how to help her with this issue, but it is not easy getting someone with their dog to help me. Plus, Maya gets used to that dog but will act out with other dogs she doesn’t know.

Not too long ago I had an incident where we stopped walking so I could pick up Maya’s poo. Suddenly, a dog came from around the corner and Maya started pulling and barking. I nearly landed in the poo!

Crate Training and Chewing
While Maya has a couple issues, I never had any trouble crate training her and she never chewed on anything she wasn’t supposed to. How great is that? Crate training was a quiet and easy process. And with all her toys, it never even occurred to her to chew on something like shoes or books.

Overall, Maya is a fantastic dog. She is so lovable and her silly antics make me laugh. I love how I can trust her with children and around other dogs. She is also smart and mostly very well-behaved. Plus she is a great cuddler. Her nose turns brown in winter due to the colder weather (this is normal for yellow Labradors). I love my nosy little brown-noser.

Maya with my young nephew Bennett.

As you can see, Maya is very photogenic. She’s not a working dog, per se. But she does work as a model for pet products for me. She is probably best known on my and websites. Maya loves to model in new dog car harnesses as well as other pet products. Check out these great photos of her below.

Maya has loved snow from the very start.

I know you see Maya tied up in this picture but I want you to know that she was never an outside dogs. When I got Maya, I lived in an apartment complex so when she spent time outside to play or potty, she had to be tied up. She was never left tied up unsupervised. I always went out with her.

Maya wearing her summer-fun dress

Maya Wearing Daisy Diva Design Collar

Maya showing off a handmade collar that has ice-pack inserts to keep her cool in the heat (available on


Maya is wearing her Kurgo Tru-Fit dog car harness.


(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday – R-Bar & Patio

August 22, 2012

Last Wednesday, I took my dog Maya to the R-Bar & Patio for “Canines & Cocktails”. No, Maya did not get a cocktail, but she got to enjoy playing with other dogs while mom enjoyed a cocktail (or two) and the company of other dog lovers. Every Wednesday, the R-Bar & Patio welcomes people and their pets and donates a portion of the proceeds to the Lawrence Humane Society. If you live in the Lawrence, Kansas area, stop by tonight or next Wednesday night. If you are not in the Lawrence, Kansas area, check for other bars or restaurants with an outdoor patio in your area. More and more places are becoming pet-friendly.

For more great pet photos and pictures of Maya swimming at Young’s Pool, check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop HERE.

Fun Dog Game – Teach Your Dog “Find It”

August 18, 2012

My dog Maya loves the fun dog game “Find It” and my other dog Pierson is learning to like it too. See, dogs as smart as Labradors and Border Collies need more than just physical exercise, they need mental exercise too. The “Find It” game gives them that. “Find It” gives your dog the challenge of trying to sniff out and find his treats. Here is how you can teach your dogs to play.

Step One – Be Obvious
First, make your dog sit and stay where he has full view of the room where you are going to hide the treat or his favorite dog toy. Let your dog watch you put the treat or dog toy somewhere. Easy places to hide the treat or toy are just under the corner of the couch, behind a table leg, or beside a potted plant. Don’t put the treats someplace you don’t want your dog to go, such as on the furniture or on the table. Then give your release command plus the words “find it”. My dogs’ release command is “okay”. So I say, “Okay, find it!” Spend a couple minutes a day, two-three times a day, for 3-5 days in a row. Start with hiding just one treat or toy at a time then work your way up to 3-5 treats in different hiding places. At first, stick to the same hiding places.

Now You Can Really Hide the Treats
Now that your dog knows what “find it” means and where the hiding places are, start having him sit and stay somewhere around the corner and out of site. Show him the treats or dog toy. Then go hide the treats in one of the places where you dog has seen you put stuff before. If your dog is having a hard time, give hints by pointing and saying “find it”. Once your dog has gotten good at finding the treats or toys in the 3-5 different hiding places you’ve selected, then start hiding the treats in other areas nearby. Keep in the same general area. Eventually, you will want to work the whole room, or maybe two rooms, and increase the number of hiding places.

Even though my dogs have great noses, they tend to use their eyes more than their sense of smell. The “Find It” game helps them learn to use their nose more. Perhaps as the challenge increases you can play “Hide-n-Seek” with your dog and say, “find Susie”. Your dog and your kids both will love this fun dog game!

Homemade pumpkin treat hiding in plain sight.

Another homemade treat in hiding.

Maya is close, but not close enough.

After much pointing, Pierson is the first one to find it.

But Maya finds the other treat.

After a 2nd round, they both find the treat.

Pierson finds a treat hiding on the crate.

Charlee Bear Dog Treat, 16-Ounce, Liver

Charlee Bear dog treats are great small treats with few calories.

Sorry, No Post this Saturday

August 11, 2012


See you next week!

Wordless Wednesday – Pet Portrait of Davinia

August 8, 2012

It has been so long since I’ve done any artwork. I have been so busy. But when I saw this photo of Davinia on the Two Little Cavaliers blog, I was taken by inspiration. After getting permission from Felissa the blog owner, I began the art project. Here is the finished piece completed in pastels.

Here are some of the steps I took to get to the finished piece.

Final sketch

To see more of the step-by-step process, visit my artwork website, Nature by Dawn.

For other great pet photos, check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop HERE.

The Corgi Dog Breed – Part II: Differences between the Cardigan and Pembroke

August 4, 2012

Last Saturday we talked about the similarities of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Although these breeds both came from central Europe and into Wales, they developed into two distinct breeds over time. The Cardigan became more specialized in Cardiganshire while the Pembroke developed separately in Pembrokeshire, hence their breed names. But the differences don’t just lie in their place of origin. There are distinct physical characteristics and subtle differences in temperament.

Subtle Differences in Personality
We say subtle differences in temperament because the differences are so slight that they may not be noticeable. In general, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi may be more affectionate. They tend to like people a little bit more including strangers and so may not make as good guard dogs.

Physical Differences – Body and Face
Although the Cardigan and Pembroke can stand at about the same height, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi can be a little heavier. The Pembroke’s body and facial features tend to be a bit leaner. Both have a fox-like face, but the Pembroke’s head is even more foxy in appearance. The eyes of the Cardigan are medium to large whereas the Pembroke’s are generally just medium-sized and more oval in shape. Both dog breeds have erect ears but the ears of the Cardigan are more rounded while the Pembroke’s are more pointed.

Physical Differences – Tail, Feet, and Colors
Probably the most notable difference is the tail. The Pembroke’s tail is docked and the Cardigan’s is not. The Cardigan’s tail is medium in length and carried low. The feet of the two Corgi types are different too. The Cardigan has round feet and his front feet are pointing slightly outward. The Pembroke has oval feet and slightly longer toes. His front feet are straight but his front legs may be turned slightly inward. The color of the Corgi’s can give away which type too. Both can be a solid color such as red or sable with white flashings. But the Cardigan can also be bridle or blue merle with white flashings.

Health and History
Both breeds have a tendency towards genetic disorders such as hip dysplasia and degenerative myelopathy. But the Pembroke is also prone to intervertebral disc disease and epilepsy. It may be because the Pembroke is more popular, and therefore the most overbred. The Pembroke was a favorite of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, so it was especially popular in Britain. They might be even more popular after Queen Elizabeth’s Corgi’s stole the show in the grand opening of the 2012 Olympics in London (as seen on Dogster).

If you are considering getting a Corgi as a pet, be sure to research the breeder thoroughly or go through a Corgi rescue group. Read up on Corgi’s with a book from Barron’s HERE. Barron’s provides lots of tips for choosing, training, and keeping a Corgi healthy.

Do you have a Corgi or know someone who has one? Tell us about him or her. Is there any characteristic that we missed?

Welsh Corgis: Pembroke and Cardigan (Barron's Complete Pet Owner's Manuals) Rikki KnightTM Welsh Corgi Dog Design Messenger Bag - Book Bag - Unisex - Ideal Gift for all occassions!                 

Wordless Wednesday – Super Cool Summer Fun!

August 1, 2012

It has been over 100 degrees every day for more days than I can count. How do we beat the heat? We play in the water!

At first, Pierson was afraid of the sprinkler. But after seeing Maya have so much fun in it, he decided to get in on the action.

For more great pet photos, check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop on our Pet Auto Safety Blog.