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How did you preserve your memory of your pet?

March 1, 2015 25 comments

My heart. ❤️Ever since Daisy’s diagnosis for an isulinoma (a cancerous tumor on the pancreas), I have been thinking of ways I can capture some of our most special moments in pictures. Being that she is afraid of the camera, it can be hard to capture her at her most cuddly. I’ve got tons of photos of her running through the woods or sniffing something fascinating at the dog park, but those moments when she just wants to cuddle and get a belly rub? Nada. She sees the camera coming every time. A fast get away soon ensues.

Facing the imminent loss of a pet can make you work harder to preserve those moments. Some do bucket lists with their pets, some schedule “joy sessions” and others choose to get their beloved pet made into a plush toy that they can keep with them long after their pet has passed.

(I have to admit I was a little intrigued by the post I saw on Bored Panda regarding the plush stuffed toy. It would be nice to have a stuffed animal version of Daisy that I can keep with me. Of course, with my luck Jasper would get a hold of it and de-stuff it. Can you imagine the trauma that would cause?)josie-and-clone

I have finally decided that I am going to select a few prize photos that really capture Daisy’s spirit and get them made into canvas prints. I don’t plan on doing it right away (after all Daisy may be with me for years to come), but I will do it, when the time is right.

It’s a somewhat melancholy type of thing to consider, but I wonder if all of you have done something similar to preserve your memories of your pet(s).

What special thing have you done to reserve your pet’s memory? Did it help to ease your grief? How did it comfort you? I would love to hear your stories.

What sort of enrichment activities do you do with your dog?

February 4, 2015 25 comments
I'm going in #Daisy

Daisy goes swimming

My dogs are spoiled. I fully acknowledge that fact.

They get daily hour-long walks (unless it is too cold outside). They have lots of friends and get to play with them often. They have a large yard and can run and play and stretch their legs. They are allowed on the furniture and have plush beds. They get tasty treats (like cheese and chicken) and bully sticks and lots of love and attention. They have a good life. And, I am proud of that.

Hello turtle! #nature #sheltie #turtle

Cupcake meets a new friend

I like knowing that they have good lives and that it is fun and exciting and different every day.

It wasn’t always like this. Yes, I took my other dogs for walks, but I never did all the sort of enrichment activities with them like I do with my three now.

I think Daisy is the one who changed it all for me.

When Daisy first came to live with me, she was so frightened that I worried whether she would ever be able to be a “normal” dog. Seeing her like this made me want to give her the best life possible.  I made her a promise that I would do everything in my power to make her happy.  Not only that, but I would give her the chance to do all the things other “normal” dogs did, and more.  My goal was to give her the kind of  life any dog would be envious of (if dogs can feel envy). That promise was the beginning of a great journey together.

Finding activities that would enrich Daisy’s life became my mission. Anything that would help her grow her mind and her confidence was part of the deal, this included praising her whenever she took a step outside her comfort zone.

So Daisy got bones to chew, ice cream to eat, and toys to play with. I let her dig holes in the yard so she could experience the pleasure of digging (luckily, she only dug under the lilac bushes!). She learned how to use her nose to find the treats I threw out in the yard for her, and she went on walks all over the city and experienced the excitement of exploring new places. She walked into water for the very first time and then learned how to swim.

In other words, she learned to “live” life and not to fear so much. Seeing her joy and happiness gave me great joy and so we sought out more things to do that would be fun and new and exciting.

When Jasper and Cupcake joined our little family, I continued to look for enrichment activities that we could all do together.

Photobomb. Courtesy of Jasper.

Jasper is exploring new places

They now have several dog games that challenge their brains and they get to play them on a regular basis. In the summer time, we go to the lake or walk along the Mississippi River or explore a new park. When the snow melts, I hide treats in the yard and laugh as I watch them follow their noses to all the little treasures. Daisy has accompanied me on many dog walking appointments and even stayed with me on one pet sitting date. Cupcake and Jasper have participated in several Sheltie playdates, and Jasper and Daisy have gone to nose work classes. Jasper has even tried sheep herding.

Providing my dogs with enrichment activities has given me great pleasure and it continues to do so. It’s a joy to see them smile as they work and play and explore.

So now I am curious, do you have enrichment activities you do with your own dog(s)? What are they? What things do you do with your dog that gives you both a great sense of joy? I  would love to hear about them.

In  the meantime, here is a video that highlights an enrichment activity that is easy and fun to do. this is one both you nd your kids can do with your dog. Don’t have a dog that can “stay” like this one? No worries. My dogs don’t have a great “stay” either (although they should), so I use a baby gate to keep them in one location while I hide their treats around the house or the yard. It’s so much fun seeing them run from place to place trying to find them. 

Why blog? The Annual Pet Blogger Challenge

January 10, 2015 23 comments

IMG_3405For the past five years, I have participated in the Annual Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by Amy of Go Pet Friendly.

The Challenge has always been a great opportunity to look back at all the work done in the past year and to look forward and think about what I hope to accomplish in the coming year.

In last year’s Challenge, I announced that I was taking a break from my blog. I was tired, and burned out, and completely bored with myself AND my writing. Oh, I kept the blog going (just barely) by posting pictures a couple of times a week, but that’s it. No words. Just pictures.

Eventually, I made my way back (as you can see), but under new self-imposed conditions: to only blog when the urge hit me, and not under meet some imaginary obligation to follow a schedule.

And, I’ve stuck to that too, choosing only to blog when I feel like it and nothing more. Some weeks there was only one blog post to share  and other weeks, three or four. There was no schedule.

No pressure = no stress = HAPPY.

As a result of the changes made this year, my answers to the Challenge questions  are very different. Some just don’t even apply anymore. Amazing how much can change in a year.

So here we go…

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10

1. How long have you been blogging? And, for anyone stopping by for the first time, please give us a quick description of what your blog is about. 

I am going on year 7 in blogging years. I started blogging about my puppy mill rescue dog Daisy at Daisy the Wonder Dog back in October of 2008, but created this blog, No Dog About It, in 2009 for my pet sitting business.

My blog is a hodgepodge of a lot of things – animal welfare, animal health, dog behavior, training, dog videos and photography (i.e., lots of pictures of dogs).

2. Tell us one thing that you accomplished on your blog during 2014 that made you proud. 

I walked away and gave myself a break? I’m not sure I have an answer to this one.

3. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own blogs?

  • Blogging less does not necessarily mean a less successful blog. Writing when there is something valuable to share or something new to say is much more satisfying than trying to write a post every day.
  • Choosing not to host my own site is less stressful and less time-consuming. (After seeing all the time and energy other bloggers put into their blogs, choosing not to do so seems so much easier – for me anyways.)
  • It’s okay to blog and NOT do sponsored posts or push a product.

4. What have you found to be the most successful way to bring traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?

Writing about issues people care about – how to keep dogs safe, have fun with your dog,  and dog behavior issues.

5. What was your most popular blog post this year? Did it surprise you that it was your most popular?

Loose Dog? Don’t chase! Stop, Drop and Lie Down

Totally surprised me. I thought it was an innocuous little post and then it just took off.

6. What was your favorite blog post to write this year?

No idea. Probably one that allowed me to share fun pictures of my dogs. It’s hard for me to remember last week. 🙂

7. Has your policy on product reviews and/or giveaways changed this year?

Nope. Still don’t do them.

8. What’s your best piece of advice for other bloggers?

Do what works for you. Don’t live to some blogger ideal if that is not who you are or what you want to do with your blog. You don’t have to do product reviews or manage your blog on your own hosted site or share blogger awards or whatever the latest craze is today. Blogging should be fun, not an obligation.

9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2015?

More of the same. No schedule.

10. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

Nothing.

To read what some of the other pet bloggers wrote this year, head on over to Take Paws from Go Pet Friendly!

Dogs: A case of Conflict Avoidance

October 27, 2014 6 comments

Jack Russell Terrier SnarlingThe older I get, the better I get at knowing, and understanding, myself.  Foibles and flaws? Got tons of them. And, I am aware of almost every one. You might think I am oblivious to them, but I’m not. I am painfully aware, and have analyzed every single one – over and over again.

For instance, I not only know I have a problem with the Big C.A., Conflict Avoidance,  but I can actually admit I have a black belt in it.

Oh, I don’t avoid every conflict, I’m actually quite good at dealing with them sometimes, but if it involves something I am afraid of I can avoid it like nobody’s business.

I can pretend not to see it.

“I can’t SEEEE YOUUUUU! I’m covering my eyes now!”

I can pretend not to hear it.

“Nah! Nah! Nah! I’ve got my fingers in my ears! I can’t hear you!”

I can even pretend that it will go away if I just ignore it long enough.

“POOF! All gone!”

Fear and me? We don’t do well together. In fact, I think I boarded him up behind some hidden room in my house. Much easier to avoid him that way.

Of course, the downside of avoiding all the things you are afraid of is that it eventually has a way of coming back to you. Karma. It’s a bitch. Or maybe it’s just a boomerang? Anyway, life has a way of making sure you cannot ignore that which you fear indefinitely.

Ignore a bill long enough and the bill collector will come a’banging on your door. Avoid the fact that you cannot keep growing your business if you don’t hire someone and eventually you get burned out. Pretend you don’t see that warning light in your car dashboard and eventually it WILL break down and leave you stranded on some deserted road.

You can’t live in denial forever. Fear will hunt you down and make you look it in the face.

I am starting to realize that living this way, avoiding that which I fear, has impacts that go beyond me.

In an attempt to avoid that which I fear (losing someone or something I love), I have placed two of my dogs in the uncomfortable position of trying to keep up, even though their bodies were clearly telling me they cannot. I have been acting as if they are still young and vibrant dogs in order to avoid admitting the truth, they are getting older, and as they get older they getting closer to saying goodbye. (God, how I would like to avoid that.)

Untitled

Daisy

Daisy is starting to slow down. No. Not just slow down. Her body is starting to show her age in all sorts of ways (she will be eleven in November).

Her eyes have become cloudy with cataracts and her sight is causing her some trouble when it comes to going outside at night. Her sense of smell seems weaker too. The super sleuth, the master of sniffing out the smallest piece of food in a pile of leaves, now struggles to find the one I just placed on her paw.

Instead of running off to explore the woods, she now stays within sight of me, afraid to wander too far away from me and worried about trying to keep up.

She has a little sway to her hips now. The kind you see in older dogs whose back legs have become weak with arthritis and over use. Her legs are definitely not as strong as they used to be. Jumping up on the couch is no longer as easy as it used to be either. There is a slight pause now, as if her front legs may not be able to pull her body all the way up and onto the couch.

Naps and cuddling are much more preferable to her now too. She still loves to go for rides and go to the dog park, but her stamina is not what it was a few years ago. Taking three-mile walks tires her out.  Two miles or less are more to her liking.

Hiking through the woods with Cupcake.

Cupcake

And it’s not just Daisy, Cupcake is slowing down too. Dog park jaunts are not as thrilling for her. She has been happy to stay home from time to time. On those days, she doesn’t even bark in protest when we leave her behind.

When she does go to the dog park, she often lags behind, stopping to sniff or to saunter along at her own pace.

Hills are something she dislikes now too. The steep inclines at Minnehaha Falls Dog Park are too much for her ankles. They have been known to give out from time to time, causing her to stumble and sometimes fall. Rimadyl is her friend.

Like Daisy, Cupcake is also more affectionate and cuddly than before. She prefers long naps and hanging out at home versus gallivanting around town. Old age suits her. She doesn’t seem to mind it much.

I wish I felt the same way.

I remember when Sharon from Grouchy Puppy would talk about the beauty she saw in her aging dog, Cleo. I would marvel at how well she handled it all. How could she stay rooted in the moment all the while knowing she was getting one day closer to losing her?

Conflict avoidance can seem so much easier than truth sometimes. That is, until you realize that your inability to see and hear is not just impacting you, it is impacting your friends too. Old age and death are hard to deny. They come whether we choose to see them or not. So I am doing my best to NOT avoid seeing what is really happening and to acknowledge it. I am trying to REALLY see what is before me so I can enjoy our time together, at whatever pace that may be.

The girls

My dog wears me out

September 28, 2014 19 comments

Salivating with anticipation.I think I must be getting old. My dog is six years old and he’s wearing me out. Still.

When I adopted Jasper at nine months old, I knew he was going to be busy. I knew that he was going to require lots of training and time and energy. And, I gave it to him.

We went to the dog park every day – 2 hours a day on average. We attended training at our local shelter. We played ball for hours in the yard. He got bully sticks in the evening to keep him busy.

When he turned three, I introduced new tricks and searching for treats in the yard. I bought games that he had to use his brain to solve (sometimes those actually did wear him out!).

At four and five, I taught him more tricks and challenged him to figure out more difficult ones. I bought more dog puzzles, harder ones. He loved them. He solved them all. I need more.Jasper action shot

I started coming up with puzzles of my own. I placed a treat in a Kong and placed it inside a sock and put that inside a box. He solved that one too.

I took him to nose work class this summer and he excelled. He loved it.

More recently I have been hiding treats in strategic locations in the yard – under things, in things, around plants, on leaves, in tree bark. He finds them all. He loves the game so much that he begs me to do it again. Sometimes he won’t come inside because he wants to keep looking for them. He beats all the other dogs to most of the treats too.

I’m not saying I’m ready for him to slow down like an old dog. Not yet. Not ever really. But sometimes I wish for a day of relaxation. A day where he just sneaks off to his dog bed and sleeps for an hour or two.

Silly busy dog. Jasper.
Happy Saturday everyone!

A dog training video: What do you see?

September 22, 2014 4 comments

The week before last I wrote about how videotaping yourself with your dog, especially during training sessions, can help you to see things you might not have noticed in the moment. Looking at pictures I had taken while working with Maggie made me realize how pressure sensitive she is and how I needed to change my approach with her.

It’s not just the every day dog owner who can be helped by videotaping themselves with their dog, dog trainers do it too. Sometimes they do it to improve their technique or sometimes they do it to observe a dog’s behavior more closely. For many, it is also a way to educate dog owners on how to train their dog, as I believe the video below was meant to do.

While I very much disagree with the trainer’s assessment of the dog she is using in the video, I also had the luxury of watching their interactions (on video) several times. Slowing down a video and watching it over and over again can help you to see so many things. I suspect the trainer in this video was so focused on making a specific training point that she missed all the behaviors telling her otherwise. Either that, or she did not recognize the behaviors at all.

So today, you be the trainer. Take a look at the dog’s body language and describe what you see. Is the dog distracted or is something else going  on here?  

You can see my observations and analysis below, but try to do a little analysis yourself. What do you SEE? What is the dog doing or not doing? What behaviors is she displaying? Are the ears up, back, or forward? Is her body leaning? If so, in which direction? What else do you see?

My observations of Bubbles, the Border Collie:

  • At the beginning of the video, Bubbles sniffs the ground several times and pulls at the end of a leash.
  • Bubbles does not look at the trainer, but looks in the direction of the camera and towards the group (perhaps her owner is there?).
  • Ears are back and she appears to be panting. (This is about the time the trainer mentions how Border Collies can become very distracted by their environment.)
  • 23 seconds into the video, Bubbles’ ears go up and she looks to the left (her left). Her body turns in that direction immediately afterwards.  Her ears go back down.
  • Bubbles continues to turn left as she goes behind the trainer sniffing and looking distracted. Her tail is down and very close to her body (almost between her legs.)
  • When the trainer mentions her name, Bubbles ignores it and keeps sniffing at the ground, moving further left and to the trainer’s right. Her ears are closer to the back of her head.
  • Bubbles continues to sniff the ground and moves behind the trainer again and to her right. Her head lifts up. Her ears are pricked and she is looking straight ahead and pulling in that direction. Her tail is down.
  • She pulls as far away as she can from the trainer and continues to look off in the distance. Her ears are up. Her body is leaning forward and away from the trainer.
  • The trainer shortens the leash and pulls Bubbles around and back to her and uses a treat as a lure. Bubbles’ moves towards the trainer with her ears down. She lip licks and yawns, sniffs the food, and then turns away. Her head is down and her body is leaning away from the trainer.
  • At 55 seconds, Bubbles’ body goes down lower to the ground. She is leaning away from the trainer and looking away
  • The trainer pulls Bubbles closer. Bubbles head is lower. She looks up and lip licks and turns her head away. Her ears are back and low on her head.
  • The trainer crouches down next to Bubbles and reaches her had out to her with the treat. Bubbles does another lip lick and turns away. Her tail is low and wags slightly for a moment.
  • At 59 seconds, her body is leaning away from the trainer’s. She rejects the treat in the trainer’s hand.
  • The trainer pauses to speak. Bubbles tries to pull away again. She lip licks and glances toward the trainer.
  • Bubbles lip licks several more times and glances at the trainer before looking away again.
  • She now pulls even further away from the trainer so that her head is the furthest away from her and her butt is closes to the trainer.
  • The trainer calls her name and her ears immediately go down and back on her head. It looks like she lip licks before her head and upper body goes down. She moves her body closer and her tail wags low, but she keeps her head as far as she can from the trainer.
  • Bubbles moves her body so that she is completely facing away from the trainer. At 1:18 she is leaning away from the trainer and has her back to her. She gives several more lip licks.
  • When the trainer calls her name and pull her back towards her again, Bubbles pulls again and then turns her body slightly horizontal to the trainer’s body when the leash is pulled toward the trainer. She sits and looks up.
  • She is offered the treat again, but turns away from it.  I could be wrong, but her busy seems hunched forward.
  • Bubbles turns her head further away and looks behind her, lip licks, and then starts to stand up.
  • She pulls away (lip licks), but sits back down because she has no leash length to pull away. She again has her back to the trainer.
  • More lip licks.
  • Bubbles continues to look away and to the side with her back to the trainer.
  • She pulls away as hard as she can and tries to create distance.
  • The trainer tries to engage Bubbles “one more time” and pulls her (using the leash) towards her. Bubbles faces towards the camera. The trainer reaches down with the treat in her hand and puts it in front of Bubbles’ nose. Bubbles glances quickly at her hand and turns away. She lip licks and yawns.
  • The trainer then knees her in the back-end, forcing her to sit. Her body is leaning away from the trainer.
    She glances up at the trainer. Her ears are back. She lip licks again. The trainer reaches her hand out with the treat again. Lip lick again. Bubbles opens her mouth when the trainer inserts the treat in her lip. You can to longer see her ears.
  • She takes the treat, turns her head away and lip licks.
  • Lip lick again.
  • Bubbles starts to stand up again, looking away. She stands with her back to the trainer. Her ears are back and low on her head. Her tail is now between her legs.
  • Her ears go up and down again. She lip licks. She sniffs the ground and pulls away from the trainer.
  • She continues to pull away in all directions from the trainer.

My assessment:

It clear from all of Bubbles’ behaviors that she was extremely uncomfortable. Perhaps it was because she did not know the trainer (as the trainer admits) or because she was unfamiliar with the setting or even afraid of the camera, or maybe, both. She displays a lot of calming signals – lip licking, look aways, yawning, etc. She also tries very hard to create distance between her and the trainer, over and over again.  Bubbles is not distracted by squirrel, but is uncomfortable and nervous. The trainer should have stopped as soon as she saw these behaviors. The fact that Bubbles refused the treat was a dead give away that she was way to nervous to be enticed by a treat. Not only did the trainer’s words not match the behaviors being displayed, but she did nothing to build the trust between her and Bubbles because she forced her to interact with her and even kneed her to sit down.  A better approach would have been to stop completely and give Bubbles her space and the choice of whether she wanted to interact or not.

What are your dog’s behavioral communication cues?

July 21, 2014 18 comments
Buddy, Kolar and Tari vying for the ball. #sheltieplaydate

Sheltie play date – Buddy, Kolar and Tari

On Saturday, Cupcake, Daisy (our flat-coated Sheltie a.k.a. Lab), and Jasper attended a Sheltie play date with some other Shelties, including many from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue. It was a great chance to see all of them in motion, playing and chasing one another and obsessing over tennis balls needing to be tossed.

During the playdate, Jasper and Daisy had the chance to meet some children who came with their own little Sheltie, Joey. The kids did really well interacting with all the dogs and became quite the hit when they willingly threw the tennis ball for all the dogs – over and over again.

At one point, during all the playing and chasing, I noticed that the little girl was sitting in front of Jasper and was doing something with his paw. I couldn’t see exactly what, but I wanted to make sure everything was okay, so I asked her what she was doing. She said “I’m shaking his paw.”

It took me a second to realize what she meant. Then I started laughing. Jasper was lifting his paw and pawing at the her. Of course, she thought he wanted to shake paws (and, why shouldn’t she? Isn’t that what most dogs do?).

“He doesn’t know how to shake paws yet.” I said, “He wants you to rub his belly.” She immediately started scratching his belly. I laughed when Jasper practically fell over on his side so she could give him a quality belly rub. Silly dog.

IMG_5970

Might I have a treat please?

It wasn’t until later that I realized how many of those behavioral communication cues my dogs give me. I’m not talking about the behavioral cues that most dogs use in communicating with other dogs, but the ones they use to let us know they want something. Behavioral communication cues like Daisy pacing back and forth between her kennel and the living room, her tail wagging wildly, which means she wants to go outside. Or, when Maggie paces back and forth in the living room and looks around as if she is looking for something. She really is looking for something. It is her cue to me that she needs more water in her dish. Or, when Jasper paces up and down the hallway, circles the coffee table, and goes back to pacing in the hallway. This is his signal that he needs to go outside and it is super urgent.

All my dogs (and Maggie) seem to have cues for a wide variety of things. Daisy and Jasper will paw at me when they want belly rubs, but Daisy will also sit at the other end of the couch, give me “the look,” and thump her tail. Maggie will glance at me over and over again and then move a little closer to me when she wants a bite of my peanut butter toast in the morning. Cupcake will put her paws on my lap and paw at me when she wants to go outside. She will also bark when she is excited and cannot contain it any longer. Dinner and treat time seem to be her most favorite times of the day. 🙂

There are at least 20 other behavioral communication cues I can think of where one or more of my dogs are telling me something without speaking. Yes, they’ve got me trained, but when think about it, I am glad they have these cues. It makes it a lot easier to meet their needs (and mine) when we can speak a similar language. Don’t you think?

So tell me, what are some behavioral communication cues your dogs give you? What does your dog do that tells you he or she needs or wants something?

Daisy. Giving me "the look".

Daisy. Giving me “the look”.

Dog Bite she said/she said: How would you have handled this situation?

June 25, 2014 15 comments

I was kind of going to take a pass on a blog post today, but then, a friend sent me this… Tevlin: Rain or sleet can’t stop your mail, but a tiny dog can  (Star Tribune, dated June 25, 2014, by Jon Tevlin). Seriously. I’m not even kidding.

Here is a quick synopsis of the story:

  • 11 lb dog gets loose from its leash while out on a walk.
  • 11 lb dog runs to mail carrier and jumps up on her and barks.
  • Owner apologizes profusely and gathers dog up (one added detail) and she apologizes profusely.
  • The mail carrier does not react or say anything to the owner.
  • Next day, Minneapolis Animal Control visits owner and reports mail carrier claims she was bitten on inner thigh and has several puncture wounds.
  • Mail carrier claims to have gone to Urgent Care for treatment, but no photos can be provided.
  • Owner agrees to get dog trained and to keep her on a short leash and to keep dog inside when mail is delivered.
  • Next day, mail delivery is stopped for the entire building where the owner and dog reside.
  • Post office manager notifies residents that they can either get a P.O. box or get rid of Nano (the dog).
  • Post office manager refuses to respond to resident’s calls to discuss the issue.
  • Now owner must move out or euthanize her dog. (Her agreement with Animal Control forbids her from giving the dog away.)

Jack Russell Terrier SnarlingI can think of all kinds of cuss words I could use to describe how I am feeling about this story, but really, all I can think of is “Where the hell is the adult in this story?” I mean I read this and all I can see is a lot of miscommunication, lack of communication and just plain old poor communication. I don’t see a whole lot of negotiation or reasonable boundary setting. I don’t even see proof of the actual bite being shared.

So here is what I would love to do today. Instead of posting this story and having a bunch of people angry people post negative and hateful comments on my blog, I would love to have you, the reader, offer ideas of how this could have been handled differently. How would you have handled this if you were one of the adults in this story? 

Feel free to rewrite it in a way that you think it could have gone if people had communicated effectively. How could it have been handled in a way that was better for all involved? What would you have done if you were any one of the parties involved in this situation?

I really look forward to hearing your ideas.

 

Loose dogs in the neighborhood – What do you do?

June 9, 2014 59 comments

PugThis morning I let the dogs out to do their business like I usually do, but within minutes they were waking up the neighborhood with some very loud (and obnoxious) barking. Shelties are known barkers, but this barking had an intensity to it that I don’t usually hear from them unless it is a runner or another dog.

I raced outside to see both Jasper and Cupcake at the fence barking like crazy at something on the other side of it. I had an inkling what they were barking at as soon as I saw them there, but I walked over to see anyways. Yup. There he was again. The neighborhood stray (I say that with sarcasm). Standing next to the neighbor’s bushes.

The a little black and white Pomeranian-mix has been loose in my neighborhood many times. I’ve come to suspect his owner is either incapable of keeping him from getting loose, or doesn’t give a crap where his/her dog is, or that he has almost been hit by a car in the past. For the past three summers I have seen him running from house to house, marking his territory, disturbing the neighborhood’s dogs by coming to the fence and then running off before anyone can get him to approach them. I’ve tried many times to trick him into approaching me, but he has become to0 wise to the ways of us humans and is determined not to be caught (he doesn’t even stick around long enough for me to lay on the ground or to open a car door).

I know he is making it home often enough to get a good grooming because I have seen him in both long and short hair. He is not a lost or stray dog, but more accurately, a dog who is either let loose to roam the neighborhood or gets loose from his owner all of the time. I just wish I could follow him home so I could speak with the owner and find out why he is always loose. If it is a matter of an owner not knowing how to keep him safe then that is one thing, I am more than willing to offer him/her a few tips, but if it is a matter of the owner just letting him roam then we may have to have words.

There is no reason for this dog to be wandering the neighborhood all of the time. It is annoying and it is dangerous. It could be killed in any number of ways – coyotes have been known to roam the neighborhood, cars drive way too fast down my street, and not all dogs appreciate a little dog coming into their territory. This little dog may run out of luck one day. I can only hope I can find the owner before that happens.

Do you have dogs that roam your neighborhood unattended? Do you have neighbors who do not keep their dogs contained in their yard? What have you done to deal with it? I would love to get your input.

What do you hide from your dog?

May 15, 2014 36 comments

Yesterday I rushed home so I could take the dogs for a walk at the dog park before dark. After a quick potty break, I loaded the dogs up into the car and headed out.

Chuck itAs I drove down the street on our way there, I noticed a neighbor going into his garage. He had his hand behind hid back and in it he had a Chuckit Stick and ball. I started laughing. I can SO relate. If you have a ball-obsessed dog like Jasper, you know exactly how excited they get when they see the stick and ball.

I have been known to hide his ball and Chuckit behind my back too. He gets WAY too excited when he sees it, especially when we go to the dog park where toys are allowed. It is much easier to get him inside the park before I show him the stick and ball.

I don’t know about you, but I have had to hide a few things from my dogs over the years:

  • Dog treats
  • Peanut butter
  • People food
  • Me leaving home (Cupcake carries on when I leave.)
  • The water jug (Jasper likes to attack the water as I dump it out of their outdoor water dish.)

I am not above admitting that I have even snuck into the kitchen while the dogs were sleeping and quietly opened a package of treats (for me)  just so my dogs don’t come running to the kitchen to see if they can grab a piece of fallen food for themselves. I don’t know if you know this, but Sheltie ears are quite good at hearing package wrapping being removed. Cupcake is definitely the queen bee in this area.

I’ve got to think I am not alone in hiding things from my dogs, so I thought I would ask you.

What do YOU hide from YOUR dogs?

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