My dogs and I haven’t had much of a chance to go for a walk at the dog park this week. The frigid sub-zero temperatures have made it virtually impossible. So we’ve been playing a lot of indoor games and practicing our commands and tricks.
Last night I had the dogs wait behind a baby gate while I hid treats around the living room. Then I let them out so they could search for them. By the 4th round, the dogs were so excited they rushed past me and the gate and made a beeline for the ones they were certain they could find easily. They were so proud of themselves when they found one it made me smile. (Of course, it may have had something to do with me cheering for them when they did.) Seeing them having fun made staying indoors just a little bit easier – on all of us.
I love being able to “do” something with them on these cold nights, but I really wish that we could be walking at the park instead. To be honest, we could all use the exercise. It’s also nice stress reliever after a long day at work. (Can someone please talk to Mother Nature about this cold spell?)
But after hearing the weather report for next week, I am starting to lose hope that we will ever leave the house again. I am desperate enough to start doing 101 Things To Do with a Box. Not a bad thing to attempt mind you, but I really would prefer a little fun in the snow too.
Things may get bad enough that I may have to resort to dressing the dogs up in costumes just to entertain them! (Okay, that last one would be purely for my enjoyment. I doubt the dogs would find it funny or entertaining.)
Are you dealing with freezing temperatures? How are you keeping your dogs busy?
Over the holiday weekend, my dogs enjoyed daily visits to the dog park. They loved getting to walk in the woods every day and to meet up with some of their old friends and hang out. Daisy is more comfortable exploring when she knows her friends. She knows what to expect from them and she knows they will respect her space.
Going to the dog park can be quite an eye opener for the new dog owner. Not all dogs have doggie social skills or a respect for other dogs’ space. You have to know what to watch for and have an understanding of what is really going on.
I have been known to intervene in situations where I feel a dog is in danger, afraid or in need of a little assistance. I am used to hearing people say “Dogs can work it out themselves.” or “Let them be. They’ll work it out,” but that is not always the case. We as dog owners have a responsibility to protect our dogs and to prevent them from harm. In some cases, that means not going to a dog park at all. In others, it means you need to be aware and know what to watch for in case trouble starts.
The video below was taken at a dog park and demonstrates some of the dog behaviors that every dog owner should not only be aware of, but also be ready to intervene in, if they see it. It’s worth watching if you do not understand dog body language. The commentator does a good job of describing what is going on. I have already shared it with my dog park friends, please feel free to share it with yours.
Some of you may have already seen this video when I posted it on my Facebook page earlier this week. If so, I apologize. It was just too funny not to share again on Favorite Video Friday.
For those of you have not seen this video yet, prepare to laugh. It is funny and clever and a lot of good fun.
All I can say is I wish I had thought of it first. If we ever get enough snow to try it here, I will definitely be looking at doing it myself.
Happy Friday everyone!
Troll around on Twitter or Facebook and you’re likely to run across a “cute” child and dog video. I very rarely share them. Why? They make me cringe. Most of the videos you see showing children and dogs together are not what they seem. They are not “cute.”
To a dog owner or parent unaware of dog behavioral signals it can look adorable, but if you know even a little bit about dog behavior, you can see what they do not – most of these dogs are not enjoying the interaction, and in many cases they are being way more tolerant than one would expect. Thank goodness too, because in many cases a dog bite is a death sentence for the dog, even when they were telling everyone with eyes to see that they were nervous or uncomfortable, or felt threatened. To the unknowing owner, they think the attack came out of nowhere, that it was unprovoked, but in truth, this is rarely the case. Most dogs tell you what they are feeling long before they bite.
Recently an online dog-oriented website shared a video of a Golden Retriever and a baby and titled it as “Baby and Golden Retriever share bonding time.” I would have to disagree. What is happening in this video is not bonding. It’s stress and calming signals from the dog, and all the signs indicate that dog and/or baby should be removed from the situation.
What you will see in this video is a series of calming signals. My guess? The dog is stressed by the closeness of the baby, and possibly the fact that the baby has already grabbed its jowls and pulled on his face, and is very much trying to calm himself and ease his stress.
What dog signals did I see?
- Yawning (several times)
- Looking away(several times)
- Avoidance (pretending the child is not there; avoiding the child)
Dog and baby videos just aren’t as cute as people think. You just have to be watching to see it.
Most people who know me probably think I am not a morning person and probably get up a little later in the day. But the truth is I am an early riser who likes to putz around a bit before getting ready for the day. Here is just a synopsis of our morning.
What are your mornings like with your dogs?
The sun is still in hiding but we get up.
The first order of the day? A downward dog stretch.
Butt in the air.
Cuddle time with the Shelties. A scratch behind the ears is heavenly.
Chilly morning potty break.
Check the yard for rabbits and squirrels.
Food preparation under watchful eyes.
Cupcake lies at kitchen’s door. Waiting.
Bangs from Daisy’s kennel door. She paces as she waits for her food.
Towel placed on the kitchen floor. Cupcake is a sloppy eater.
Jasper paces, then sits, as his dish is placed on the living room floor.
Daisy waits anxiously for food to come to her kennel.
She waits again for me to leave so she can eat in private.
Food gone. Inspection tours begin.
Jasper checks Daisy’s dish.
Cupcake checks Jasper’s dish.
Mom eats breakfast as Daisy slumbers at the other end of the couch.
Watchful eyes hoping for for to fall.
Repositioning of doggie bodies when food fails to come.
Mom’s computer time. Gentle snoring is heard from the other end of the couch.
Computer time ends.
Cuddle time with Daisy begins. Belly rubs are her favorite.
Soon it is shower time.
Cupcake guards the bathroom door; Jasper the bedroom.
Mom is ready for work
One more chilly potty break.
Cupcake announces to the world she is there. (One must let the world know.)
Excited little feet dance their way inside to wait for frozen Kongs before mom leaves.
Nap time later.
This past week Mr. Winter finally made an appearance. I know I didn’t leave out the welcome mat, but clearly someone did. Was it you???
Despite being less than pleased to see him arrive at my door, I think he’s starting to grow on me. The dogs certainly seem to love him. We shall have to see how this works out. If he overstays his welcome, like last year, we may have to give him the boot.
In the meantime, it seemed appropriate to feature a fun video featuring old man Winter and a gorgeous Border Collie named, Vicky. You have likely seen her before in other Favorite Friday videos. She’s kind of a favorite of mine.
Happy Friday everyone!
Cupcake is a one of those shy dogs. Wary of strangers and scared of new places, Cupcake has always been happy to stay at home. It’s where she feels safe. It’s the one place she can let her hair down and be her silly self without fear. It’s also the place where she can flirt and wrestle with her brother, bark at and chase her sister, and get lots of attention from me. Some of my favorite moments are when she places her front paws on my leg and waggles her butt and tail and smiles and begs for a little attention. She loves attention. She loves to play games. At home, she is a true character and full of sass and silliness. It’s the side most people don’t get to see.
But on Sunday, I watched as Cupcake’s personality came out to play – at my mother’s house. Something she has never done before.
Granted, she has only been to my mom’s house a few of times, but on every previous visit Cupcake has been cautious, reserved and even a bit growly. Sunday she was the exact opposite. She approach my mom and her friend, Peg, for treats and attention. She wagged her tail numerous times throughout the day. She barked and played in her backyard and even laid down and fell asleep in her den. I was amazed. It was like she knew she could be herself there. (I also think she has a thing for my mom’s Sheltie, Jake.)
Like the unfolding of the petals on a flower, Cupcake is slowly starting to come out of her shell. At home, she has already demonstrated that she has a cute and sassy personality, but now she is starting to show it at the dog park. She barks at other dogs and will engage them in play. She chases squirrels and chipmunks right alongside Clover and Abby. And, she continues to approach people at the dog park for attention and treats. Truth be told, I think she may be under the impression that everyone at the dog park has treats.
The progress Cupcake continues to make is what makes me smile each day. She is making her own path, deciding her own way, but she is making progress. Who could have guessed that a very shy girl, on the run for 12 days, could become such a character? Cupcake did. I’m just glad she’s sharing it with the rest of the world now too.
It’s getting to be that time of year again. The time when darkness pervades our mornings and our nights and Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends. it’s my least favorite time of year because it means the dogs and I will be relegated to walking in the dark or just on weekends.
If I lived in Arizona or Hawaii or Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands, I wouldn’t have to set my clock back at all and the dogs and I could walk in the morning. But since we live in Minnesota, and no one has seen fit to get rid of this archaic and outdated policy, we will be making the best of it by playing dog puzzles and other silly games.
Truthfully, the dogs actually love our dog game nights. They look forward to taking their turn at finding treats in the dog chess game or digging a Kong out of a box and taking it out of a sock. It’s a challenge and something different and interesting for them to do.
Cupcake has gotten especially good at playing dog chess, so I am thinking it may be time to try some new games. Here are just a few I am looking at. Have any of you tried these? I would love your opinion on which ones might be a challenge for my little dog prodigy.