Little Italy, Boston, MA -Abby & Emmie

north-end-boston-sept-17-20161Yesterday, Saturday, was a gorgeous day so we decided to go to Little Italy, also know as the North End, in Boston, MA.  Cynthia and I agreed that we are going to do our best to see as much of Massachusetts as we possibly can while we live here.  When we lived in Maryland, DC was a 20 minute drive from home and we failed to see a lot of it and so we don’t want to make the same mistake again.

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Abby, “I am posing, therefore I want a treat.”

We took Abby and Emmie for a nice walk around Little Italy, and Cynthia found 2 bakeries, forgot the names, where she got some delicious bread.  I am sure we’ll be heading that way many more times in the future.

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Abby and Emmie, “No more pictures. We are tired.”

Our trip was about 3 hours long, let’s not forget the traffic coming and going, and afterwards everybody was tired, thirsty, hungry and sleepy.  After we all had a nice lunch, we took a well deserved nap.  And that’s what I call a well spent Saturday.

Summer Safety Tips For Walking Your Dog

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“Take my picture already.”

When I lived in Maryland, I would wake up early, around 6am, to walk my dogs every single day.  Once I moved to Massachusetts, I was able to walk my dog a bit later, around 8am, but even like that I always have to remember the following:

  1. I need to walk Abby early in the morning.  I will probably have to start waking up at 6am again because the weather is hitting 90 degrees as of late.
  2. I have to make sure to take water with me.
  3. I need to pay attention to Abby’s body language.  If she starts panting too much, I will stop the walk, find a shaded area, give her water, not cold water for this can shock her instead of helping her, and wet her chest and head.
  4. Once we come back, I always check her paws, brush her, and wipe her off.  This way I keep her clean but at the same time I check to make sure that she is ok.
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Gorgeous dogs.

My last 3 dogs, pit bull mixes, were mostly white therefore they were able to handle the heat better than other dogs.  In the above picture, the white pit bull will probably handle the heat and humidity better than the dark one.  Please keep in mind that dogs of dark color overheat very easy.  Abby is a perfect example of that and that is why I need to pay attention to her body language.

Go out and enjoy a nice walk with your dog, but try to make your walks early in the morning and/or late in the afternoon and pay attention to your dog’s body language.

Dog Behavior And Walking Your Dog

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This picture was taken in DC. From L to R: My Alex, yours truly, Sarris, and Dozer.

When I do a consultation, the first thing I want is for the pet parent to tell me what issues his dog is exhibiting and what is it that they want to accomplish.  Once they do that, usually my first question is: how many times a day do you walk your dog and for how long?  Some pet parents look at me a little funny, but what they don’t know is that providing a dog with physical and mental stimulation makes a difference between having a balanced dog or a nightmare of a dog.

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A beautiful day in DC.

A walk, as I tell all my clients, is to be a structured walk.  What do I mean by that?  Your dog needs to be on your right or left side, not ahead of you and not smelling every single thing on his/her path.  In the above picture, I am walking 3 dogs, from left to right: Dozer, a Doberman Pinscher mix; Sarris, a Weimaraner; and my Alex, a pit bull mix.  All of them are walking beside me not ahead of me.  Walking is draining them physically, and walking while paying attention to what I am doing and I want is draining them mentally.  When we got home, they were all out like a light.  Well, to be quite honest, I took a nap too.

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Alex, “Mom, I think someone is taking our picture.”

I’ve written a few times about the importance of walking your dog, and do you know why?  Because some, if not a lot, of the behavioral problems exhibited by dogs are the result of a lack of physical and mental exercise.  In the above picture, they are all alert but calm.  That you’ll get from your dog if you take the time to walk him/her.  Before I forget; walking is an excellent exercise for us pet parents.  So go out and walk your dog:-)

Fishy Smell, Kibble, Fiber and Dogs

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Abby, “Mom, is my breakfast ready?”

About a month or two ago, I noticed that Abby smelled a bit fishy so I took her to the vet to have her anal glands expressed, and I took that opportunity to ask questions about what to do in order to prevent this from happening again.  What was the answer?  This, “Nothing.  Just bringer over whenever she needs to get her anal glands expressed.”  Well, that was the last time I took Abby to Banfield.  When I work with pet parents and their dogs, I give them not only the tools and knowledge they need to get a balanced dog, but more important I give them a long list of the things they need to do and avoid in order to prevent unwanted behavior before it happens.

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Abby’s breakfast.

Fiber, for a dog like Abby, is very important and so with that in mind this is what she had for breakfast:

  • 1/2 cup of kibble.  This is the only amount of kibble she eats for the entire day
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon of oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of egg shell.  I washed and dried egg shells and then used a blender to make it into powder.  Excellent source of calcium
  • 8 blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of apple.  You can substitute this with 1/3 of a small banana

Since I started to feed Abby more human food than kibble: her cute butt doesn’t smell anymore; her #2 is firm and she does it either once or twice a day; she no longer licks her butt; and she has lost weight.  But when Abby had to eat more kibble than human food her fishy smell and butt licking returns.

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Abby, “Yay! Breakfast.”

I started to give Abby human food in very small portions over the last couple of months and I like the changes I see in her.  By the way, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind: the recipe in this post is for a dog of 35 to 40lbs; provide plenty of water for your dog; and make sure to exercise your furry kid.  Enjoy your weekend.

Seminar in Plymouth, MA

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Beautiful day for sightseeing.

Yesterday, I conducted a seminar in Plymouth, MA and we were able to do some sightseeing prior to it.  This was my first time in this area and it was beautiful to say the least.

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Abby, “Mom, that looks like a giant kibble”

Before starting my seminar, I took Abby for a walk so she can socialize with people, and see new things.  Yes, she was very interested in the giant kibble.

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Abby, “Hello everybody.” Abby greeted everybody with lots of enthusiasm.

I conduct seminars mostly from home, but I also choose outdoor places depending on: subject matter, weather, amount of people, etc.  The day was gorgeous.

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Abby, “This is how a dog should meet people, with all paws on terra firma.”

The four people in my seminar had specific questions, therefore I tailored our time together to answer questions that pertained to barking, walking, meeting a dog properly and avoiding a bite from such dog, senior dogs, etc.  Abby, of course, was my assistant.  After I finished my session with them, we walked back to our car, we were getting hungry, to head home and rewarded ourselves by having a delicious dinner.  How was your weekend?

Blue Hills Ski Area in Canton, MA

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Abby, “Mom, tell me the truth. Are we lost?”

On Sunday, we went to Blue Hills Ski Area located in Canton, MA to do a little hiking and sightseeing but also to see how Abby would behave or in her case misbehave.

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Picture courtesy of Cynthia, our own photographer:-)

We did a lot of walking, but the day was quite conducive to being outdoors, a bit cloudy with a nice breeze and with an amazing view.

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Abby, “Mom, am I supposed to pose for this picture? Where’s my treat?”

We all enjoyed our outing, but I think Abby enjoyed it the most.  She met a lot of people, dogs, and scents that would bring the Beagle out of her.  How did she do?  She did well.  But, we still need to continue working on behavior.  Before I forget, she tried to eat a french fry she found on the floor.  I said she tried because I was able to get it out of her mouth before she ate it.

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Abby, “Mom, let me kiss you.” Cynthia, “No!”

Abby is a handful, but she is a really nice puppy.  Just like our Alex, Abby is friendly to all dogs and people.  One thing surprised me though, Abby greeted all the humans she met along our hiking path with all paws on terra firma.  Yay!  As you can see, Abby is improving.

Memorial Day 2016 -South Boston, MA

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Abby, “Hello stranger. Pet me please. I could be your best friend.”

Abby, just like Alex, is very people and dog friendly, and of course she was not going to pass up the opportunity of meeting this nice man.  Abby has come a long way in regards to meeting people.  At the beginning, let’s remember she was a puppy, she’d pee every time she’d meet someone new, but that is no longer the case.

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Abby, “Moms, I don’t think that this is a bus stop.”

This past Memorial day weekend, we took Abby to South Boston, MA to expose her to a new environment and to my surprise she did well.  She was relaxed while Cynthia took this picture.  She needs to learn to be relaxed even when we are not right next to her.

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Abby, “Moms, are we going bike riding?”

Abby usually wears a Gentle Leader, but there are times when I change her leash and collar specially when she is so nicely behaved.  A Gentle Leader gives me more control with very little effort.

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Abby, “Mom, more water please.”

A couple of minutes after we started walking I gave Abby some water.  See the Gentle Leader?  This is my second Summer in New England and I love it.  Winter is another story, of course.  Even though the weather here is not as hot nor humid as in Maryland, I still do our outings during the morning in order to make sure that Abby does not overheat.

A million thanks to all those who served and their families for their sacrifices.