Archive for February, 2013

Introducing Sassy, a Competitor in Crufts

February 28, 2013


Sassy 2

PEJUYN39SY8V Today, the American Dog Blog goes British. What is Crufts? Crufts is a huge dog show in the UK. It is not only a dog show of dog breeds, but also for other types of dog competitions. One competition is for dog agility. And one section of the dog agility is from the Young Kennel Club, which is for dog owners 18 years old and younger. That would be Sassy’s mom, Naarah.

Sassy 4

Here is what Naarah has to say about Sassy’s competition:

“Qualifying for Crufts 2013!!

I have been visiting Crufts for a good couple of years, but I never really thought about me competing there with my own dog!

Ever since agility foundation training, Sas took to agility like a duck to water. I have been so shocked and happy with Sassy. She has done so well as when she qualified me for Crufts she wasn’t even 2 years of age!

She’s such an honest little dog who throws herself at everything. In fact when I was walking the qualifier I noticed that the tier was the first obstacle on a relatively large lead out (I may just add she had never done the tier before as it completely slipped my mind to train it) so as I lead out I thought she would run around it after release. But no she jumped it like she had done it a million times before!

I couldn’t really ask anything else from her that day. She won the qualifier by 6 seconds and it felt like an amazing run.

Every day she makes me smile and makes me so proud to call her mine.

I would also like to add how happy I am that Joanne, her husband and their fantastic company ( are supplying Sassy’s Crufts harness and my very special Crufts fleece!

Not long to go now guys and I am mega excited to be taking Sas. 🙂 I look forward to updating you!”

Sassy Sassy 3

We will have more pictures of Sassy later. Joanne, a friend of mine, brought Sassy to my attention and I think Sassy’s great! She makes me want to do agility training with my dog Pierson. Crufts is a huge deal and I am so glad to know someone who has qualified to compete in it.

Wordless Wednesday – Wading in a Winter Wonderland

February 27, 2013

We had so much snow in the past week! Perhaps you folks up north have seen this much snow, but not me. It snowed a foot last week and as I am writing this, the weather is in the progress of dropping another foot. Even though we are stuck at home, we are having a blast!!! My dogs love playing in the snow.

That pile of snow in our driveway is taller than Maya.

That pile of snow in our driveway is taller than Maya.

Handsome dog in snow

It is definitely a winter wonderland out there. Pierson loves it!

Dog bounding through snow.

Pierson has to bound over the snow since it is too thick to wade through.

Handsome dog standing in snow

This is my favorite photo of Pierson standing in the snow. I used this photo for my desktop image.

My dog Pierson playing in snow.

Pierson loves to run and play in the snow.

Dog Pierson standing in snow.

Pierson has been putting his face in the snow.

Maya running in the snow.

Maya loves to run in the snow.

Pierson standing in the snow.

The snow is up to Pierson’s belly.

Pierson sitting in the snow

Pierson sees so much snow, he doesn’t know where to begin!

Dog Maya wearing Kumfy Koatz

This is Maya wearing her Kumfy Koatz to keep warm. Check out our PetAutoSafetyBlog for more info on the Kumfy Koatz.

This is our house.

This is our house.

Snow Dog House

I made a dog house out of snow! No, Pierson won’t really have to stay in it.

Some people in Kansas City, which is about 40 minutes east of us, lost electricity due to the snow piling on and snapping the power lines. We here in Lawrence haven’t had things so bad. Most of the power lines in my neighborhood must be underground because I don’t see any here. So we still have our electricity and have been able to keep warm and dry. Our prayers go out to those who suffered from this winter storm.

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

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Using a Dog Doorbell for Potty Training Your Dog

February 23, 2013

Dog Potty Training Doorbell

Teaching Your Dog How To Tell You When They Need to Go Outside

Maya was really bad about letting me know when she needs to go outside. It is not a problem most of the time since I let her out regularly. However, there have been a few times when she really needed to go but she didn’t know how to let me know. So I’ve started training her to use a bell.

If I let Maya out regularly, why would she need to know how to tell me when she needs to go out? There have been two fairly recent incidents as to why. This past summer, Maya played in the sprinkler. After I let her inside, I didn’t think about all the water she had just drunk. As a result, she decided she had to go so badly that she couldn’t wait for me to let her out at her regularly scheduled time. Another incident was when I forgot to let her out before bed time. As a result, she had to go in the middle of the night. Since I was asleep and since she didn’t know how to tell me she needed to go, she went on the floor.

So teaching Maya to use a dog doorbell has begun. I’ve read a lot about it and here is how I am doing it:

First, get a dog doorbell. Maya’s bell is a ping-pong sized jingle bell that is hangs from a ribbon by the door. The jingle bell hangs right at her nose reach. I made one and it is ugly, but it works. You can get a nice dog doorbell like the one in the above photo on Amazon. Then there is the cute one below, also from Amazon.

Ethical Gotta Go Dog Potty Training Doorbell

Next, I teach her to ring the bell. Maya knows the word ‘outside’ and gets excited every time I say it. So to train her to ring the bell I say outside, get her excited about it, then direct her to the bell hanging by the door. It is fairly easy to get her to touch the bell with her nose. When she does, I tell her she is a good girl and I reward her by letting her outside.

If your dog doesn’t engage with the bell as easily as Maya did, use a treat to guide your dog’s nose to the bell. And if your dog doesn’t already know the word for going outside, you can teach your dog this word at the same time as you teach them to ring the bell.

As of yet, Maya has not learned to ring the bell when she wants to go outside off-schedule. She still goes out regularly so she really hasn’t had the opportunity. But someday, I hope she uses the dog doorbell when she really needs to let me know she’s got to go.

What does your dog do to let you know they want to go outside?

Wordless Wednesday – Maya & Chewy in Downtown Lawrence

February 20, 2013

Maya had a play date a couple of weeks ago. She is helping our friend’s new puppy get socialized. The puppy is named Chewy and she is simply adorable. Maya first met Chewy at SouthPark in Downtown Lawrence, Kansas. Chewy’s mom, Katy, and I then walked to the Lucky Paws Bakery where we met Hotei and Shakti. The four of them had a great time playing (most of the pictures I took of this event were blurry). And they got lots of homemade treats.

Dogs Playing

Hotei & Shakti of Lucky Paws Bakery play with the puppy Chewy.

Dogs at the Lucky Paws Bakery

Maya makes new friends at the Lucky Paws Bakery, and she gets some treats too! Hotei, Shakti, and Chewy are the other dogs in this photo.

Maya and friends

Maya with Hotei and Shakti begging for treats at the Lucky Paws Bakery.

Chewy may be a German Shepherd/Saint Bernard mix. She was adopted from the Lawrence Humane Society. Hotei is the little Frenchie and Shakti is the Itty Pitty. Adorable, right?

For more adorable pet photos, check out the link to the Wordless Wednesday blog hop below:

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Lots of Contests on our Pet Auto Safety Blog

February 18, 2013

Blog Paws Winnings 002

Do you like to win prizes? Maya and Pierson sure do. In fact, they recently won some great gifts from Blog Paws!

Maya & Pierson aren’t just all about getting stuff. They like to help give stuff away too. So earlier this month, they convinced me that I should do another giveaway for a free dog car harness. After all, it’s important that dogs ride safe in the car too. They are family. That contest is still open until the end of the month. It was posted on my Pet Auto Safety Blog on February 5th, 2013 and is open until the end of the month.

Another contest just started today on that blog. It is a contest from Subaru and the prize is a $350 Visa gift card (1st place) and a $150 Visa gift card (2nd place). You must check this out! I am ineligible but perhaps one of my doggy friends can win!

How did Maya & Pierson win a gift from Blog Paws? I volunteered to help promote the Super Dog Sunday. This even helped to raise funds for the Petfinder Foundation. Little did I know that when I volunteered that I would be entered into a drawing. It was a great surprise! Another great surprise from volunteering to help Super Dog Sunday is that Maya and Pierson get to try out a new product called Kumfy Koatz. And guess what?!? I also get to give one away!!! So visit my Pet Auto Safety Blog. Find and enter the dog seat belt giveaway contest posted on February 5th, the Subaru gift card contest posted today (February 18th), and keep an eye out for the Kumfy Koatz contest. I will post some photos on Wednesday for the Wordless Wednesday. Then I will open the contest entry for the Kumfy Koatz on Friday, February 22nd.

Wow! That’s a lot of stuff. Maya & Pierson wish you luck!

To Buy or Adopt a Dog – Things You Need to Know

February 16, 2013
This black beauty was up for adoption at the Suds of Fun event in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. The other puppy just had a bath at this event, proceeds went to help homeless pets.

This black beauty was up for adoption at the Suds of Fun event in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. The other puppy just had a bath at this event, proceeds went to help homeless pets.

On my blog post about how I help in animal welfare, I mentioned that I would never purchase a dog. Why buy a dog when there are so many unwanted dogs in need of a home? But I want to make sure you all understand that I have nothing against anyone who chooses to purchase instead of adopt. Great dogs come from everywhere. My message isn’t that you should never buy a dog. My only hope is that if you do buy one, you know to research the breeder to make sure they are responsible breeders and not what is defined as a backyard breeder or puppy mill breeder. Trying to determine the responsibility of the breeder can be difficult, especially for someone who is buying a dog for the first time. For tips on what to look for in a dog breeder, check out this article from the Humane Society of the United States – Finding a Responsible Dog Breeder.

As I mentioned to Bunk the Pug in a comment on that blog post, even if you adopt a dog you have to do research. Some unsavory breeders have exploited the new trend to “adopt don’t shop” by passing themselves off as an animal rescue group. How can you tell the difference? One big way is by comparing the ‘adoption fee’ to the services your new pet is receiving. Are they spayed or neutered? Are they up to date on shots? If the dogs are puppies, then these things may not have happened yet. But a reputable animal rescue group will arrange these things for you at no additional cost. A real rescue group is not going to let you adopt a dog unless the pet is spayed or neutered or will soon be.

So, if you approach a ‘rescue group’ about adopting a dog and they are charging $300 or more but are not providing veterinary support of the pet’s vaccinations and other veterinary fees, then something might be wrong. An animal rescue group should not make a profit. And don’t let them fool you with, “Oh, we are just getting reimbursed for transport fees. This dog came from such-and-such place.” A real rescue group is run by volunteers who are likely not being reimbursed for transporting a dog from another location. Ask questions. Ask for proof of their non-profit status. Research them online.

I hope that clears up my stand on buying or adopting a dog. I love all dogs no matter where they come from. While I am proud to have had the opportunity to adopt and rescue two great dogs, it’s not their origins that make me proud. It them, their personalities, their silly antics, and all the other great things they do to make my life better.

Wild Wordless Wednesday

February 13, 2013
The wild wolf races through the snow to capture his unsuspecting prey.

The speed and agility of this wild wolf allows him to race through the snow to capture his unsuspecting prey.

The vicious yellow beast has treed her prey. The Squirrel is doomed.

One can’t help but to admire the strength and power of this vicious yellow beast as she trees her prey. The squirrel is doomed.

Don't be fooled by this serene position. This wild beast can spring into action at any moment.

Don’t be fooled by this serene position. This wild beast can spring into action at any moment. You can see the sharp and pointy canines, but beware, it is the tongue you must watch out for.

This wild animal is camouflaged, so watch out! She could be anywhere.

This wild animal hunts in the urban scene. She is camouflaged, so watch out! She could be anywhere.

Another camouflaged beast is ready to take you down, by the ankles if she has to.

Another camouflaged beast is ready to take you down – by the ankles if she has to.

When the beast has caught your scent, there is no escape.

When the beast has caught your scent, there is no escape.

Two prey means two victims. [jaws theme playing in background]

Two rabbits means two victims. [Jaws theme plays in the background]

The momma wolf pins the prey, giving the young cub a chance to try out his hunting skills.

The momma wolf pins the prey, giving the young cub a chance to try out his hunting skills. His viciousness is astounding.

The big yellow beast is ready to... wait! Who put this picture in there?

The big yellow beast is ready to… wait! Who put this picture in there?

I hope you enjoyed today’s ‘nearly’ Wordless Wednesday. There are a lot of other fun pet pictures to view from the blog hop below.

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Idea for Working on Pierson’s Dog Aggression

February 9, 2013


Dogs have been a part of my family for my entire life. The longest I’ve ever been without a dog by my side was during a three week vacation. So I understand dog behavior, and I am a good dog trainer. But I fall short in some areas, such as in dealing with dog aggressive behavior. More specifically, in dealing with Pierson’s dog aggression.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and asking questions on blogs about how to work with him. Some of the information just seems wrong and much of it makes a lot of sense. One of the methods I first learned about was in a book titled, “Feisty Fido, Help for the Leash Reactive Dog” by Patricia McConnell, Ph.D. and Karen London, Ph.D. This method is now commonly called Behavior Adjustment Training or BAT. While I liked this method a lot, there was one thing that I had a difficult time with.

In order to do this training method, you have to have another person with another dog help you. Who has that kind of time? I could get a friend to help me now and then, but there is no way they would be able to help consistently until Pierson is trained. Even if I got two or three friends, something always comes up.

If I could afford it, I could hire a dog trainer who specializes in BAT. But let me be honest, I really don’t have the money for it. And I’m sure there are a lot of you out there who don’t either. There must be a way I can do this by myself.

Using BAT to Help with Dog Aggression By Yourself
Finally, someone sent me a link with information that will allow me to work with Pierson by myself and consistently. You can find the full article by Kathy Sdao HERE. She is a dog trainer and even has a dog training book available. Here is what I got out of her article and how I will use it with Pierson:

We will go to a park, a park where dogs have to be on a leash. We will hang out someplace where the sidewalk is in view but not so close that Pierson goes bananas when he sees another dog. This is called the threshold level.

Then I will use what I’ve learned from the BAT method. When Pierson sees the other dog, I will get his attention with the ‘look’ command. When he looks at me instead of the other dog, I will say ‘good boy’ and give him a treat. I believe BAT says to click then treat but I don’t use a clicker.

As Pierson gets better at turning to me whenever he sees another dog, I will reduce his threshold level by getting closer to the sidewalk where other dogs walk. As time goes by, I will eventually be able to sit right beside the sidewalk without having Pierson react at all when a dog goes by. He will look to me instead.

Since parks are often frequented by dog-lovers here in Lawrence, I will be able to consistently train him without inconveniencing my friends or emptying my pocketbook. When will we start? Well… since I hate cold weather, I have to be honest and say that we won’t start until spring. I will keep you posted. 🙂

Feisty Fido book cover

Not So Wordless Wednesday – Evidence of Naughtiness

February 6, 2013

After the recent snow melt, we had a nice sunny day here in Kansas. So I decided to let the dogs play in the yard unsupervised. Big mistake. The photos shown here are not nearly as bad as they were immediately after the incident. Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me to take photos until the mess was half-way cleaned up.

After being let inside.

After being let inside.

Believe me, the entire kitchen was much worse than this. I wish I had gotten a better photo.

After having fun outside.

After having fun outside.

You should have seen Pierson’s feet. He has fuzzy feet so there was mud stuck everywhere and in between his toes.

After washing mud off puppy feet.

After washing mud off puppy feet.

This was after rinsing out the tub the first time, before I realized I should take a picture. It took five rinses to clean this tub.

After discovering the proof of their naughtiness.

After discovering the proof of their naughtiness.

Here is the hole I found in the yard the next day. Hard to tell from the photo but this is nearly a foot deep.
After a good day's work.

After a good day’s work.

Did you two have fun landscaping my yard? Was it worth the bath?

My other blog doesn’t have a Wordless Wednesday post today, but they do have a dog seat belt giveaway contest. Check it out at

For other Wordless Wednesday pet photos from other great dog bloggers, check out the link below.

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Fun Exercises with the Dogs

February 2, 2013

Pull No More dog harness

For the past few years, I have been on the cusp of being overweight (per Wii). So, just before the holidays when my jeans started getting a little snug, I started trying to lose weight again. I don’t do it by dieting. I do it by exercising more and by eliminating refined carbs and sweets. Maya & Pierson are not overweight, but they are active dogs so have been helping me get more exercise in a fun way. Here are some things we do to stay fit.

Fast-Paced Walk
I walk the dogs almost every day… okay, at least five times a week. Before, the walks were just leisurely. It was exercise but I needed more. So I increased my pace and my distance. The dogs love the faster way of walking. Incidentally, they’ve also stopped pulling on the leash as much. 😉

Mr. Fluffybutt 001

Outdoor Games
We love to play chase. I don’t just let my dogs chase me. I chase them too. And sometimes they chase each other. This is a very tiring activity but I love it. I’ve also been trying to get Pierson into playing kick ball. I’ve been trying since last year when I bought that big blue rubber ball, but he is still scared of it. Chicken boy. Maya likes the game but she won’t play it if Pierson is out there because he starts chasing her. Something I want to do but haven’t done yet, is set up an obstacle course that both me and the dogs can do… sort of like an agility course.

Indoor Games
For some odd reason, my dogs love it when I start stretching. They have to be right there in front of me. So simple toe touches turn into ‘bend down to kiss the doggies on the nose’. Since my dogs love to play tug-of-war, sometimes I will have them help me with my stretches by pulling the toy while I am in a stretch position. We also play hide and seek in the house. This is not really a vigorous exercise, but it is something. We also wrestle. And just playing with the dogs in general is good because I am not sitting and doing nothing. Here is a fun game my dogs love to play.

These are the activities that we do. Other activities you can do with your dog include biking, running, and when the weather warms, swimming. Are there any other fun activities you do with your dogs that gets you to exercise too? I need more ideas!