Monthly Archives: April 2014

Stir-Fry – Ground Beef/Pork

beefpork1Alex and Bella had stir-fry for dinner this evening.  These are the ingredients:

  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 cabbage leaves
  • Cilantro
  • 2 ground beef/pork meatballs
  • 1 Omega-3 Capsule (Alex Only)
  • 1/2 Oste0 Pet (Alex Only)
  • Ginger powder (Excellent for arthritis)

beefpork2For the record, I do not allow Alex, Bella or any of the dogs that stay with us to try to get up on the counter to steal food.  That is why Bella looks a little confused when Cynthia was trying to get her to check out her food.  Yes, the canine kid was good, the pet parent…Bad, to say the least.

beefpork3I started by cooking the 2 meatballs on a little bit of oil by themselves.  Once they were almost done, I added all the veggies.  Because a pet parent reminded me that overcooking veggies would destroy their nutrition, I only “cook” the veggies for no longer than 1 – 2 minutes.  Thanks for the tip.

beefpork4The dish on the left is Bella’s, while the one on the right is Alex’s.  This is the stir-fry mixed with their kibble.  They both got 1 cup of human food and 1/2 cup of kibble.  Because Bella inhales her food, I had to find a slow feed dog bowl, and without realizing it I found out that Bella already had one.  Thanks to Will and Eko from marking our territory blog for the idea and information about slow feed dog bowls.

Training, as I said many times before, need to be incorporated on your every day life in order for it to be effective and make good use of it.  Why do I say this?  Because what would be the point of taking your dog to training classes when after a month or so your dog doesn’t remember anything.

beefpork5Why did I go from feeding to training?  Because Alex and Bella need to earn their food.  How?  By simply sitting and waiting while I prepared their food.  Once I had their food ready, I asked, first Alex, to wait and then put her dish down so she can start eating.  While I did that, Bella was on her spot on a sit/stay waiting for her food.  I, then, put Bella’s dish down, asked her to “watch me,” the attention is to be directed towards me and not her dish.  Once she did that, I gave her a hand signal and she had her dinner.  They do this every time they eat.  Is there anything in particular you ask your furry children to do prior to feeding them?

Dogs Are Individuals

Roxy, Alex, and Gir (L to R)

Roxy, Alex, and Gir (L to R)

The above picture is one of my favorite pictures.  Most of us can easily see their differences because of their color, size, breed, etc., but most importantly what we, pet parents, need to keep in mind is that every dog is an individual.  As such, the approach we use regarding training, housebreaking, behavior modification, etc., needs to be tailored to that particular dog.

Roxy – Cute Pom

  • She has a big personality and always walks like she owns the place
  • She is my little shadow and loves to be with us
  • She gets easily scared of anything that flies such as bees, butterflies, etc., but she unbelievably brave when she thinks her human is in danger

Alex – My Pit Mix

  • She is a quiet Alpha, but she easily lets any other dog take that place
  • She gets along with all dogs, but prefers to hang out with people
  • She walks perfectly with a Gentle Leader

Gir – Min-Pin

  • The smallest dog I’ve taken care of so far, but just like Roxy, he has a big personality
  • He loves to snuggle on my lap and sunbathe with Alex
  • He has a lot of energy

individuals2When you decide to take your dog for training and/or behavior modification or if you decide to go at it alone, please remember that your dog is an individual and that even learning will be up to your dog.  Some dogs are fast learners, while others take a little longer.  The key ingredient you need to have for sure is patience.  A lot of patience.  Also, have fun with your dog.

Alex’s ACL Injury – Part 3

Alex and Bella (L to R)

Alex and Bella (L to R)

Almost 5 months have gone by since Alex’s ACL injury, and I am glad that we did not put her through surgery.  Well, that is thanks to Cynthia for talking me out of it.  Years ago, Cynthia and I took a class in college and our instructor called us, the dynamic duo, and you know what?  I think he was right because we have always relied on each other, and this was one time when I truly needed her support and advice.

Here’s a little update on Alex:

  • Walks – She still wears the brace during our walks, but her speed and flexibility has greatly increased overtime.  She does not wear the brace at home.  Alex is walking longer than before, about 25 minutes once or twice a day.  But the next day, just to be on the safe side, she takes shorter walks so she does not over do it.
  • Rest – She sleeps a lot, she is almost 12 years old, but even at home she is more active.  One thing we do not allow her to do at all is run up and down the stairs like she used to do before.  Alex is probably thinking, “Mom you are a party pooper.”
  • Diet – Since I started to feed her more human food than kibble, Alex’s appetite not only opened up, I love that, but she has not skipped a meal once.

aclpart32Alex is also taking supplements to help her with her ACL injury, and I am also, little by little, trying different spices to help her arthritis.  I can’t complain.  My girl is doing fine and she is still active at almost 12 years of age. The combination of bedrest, supplements, walks, diet, etc., has certainly given Alex a new “leash” on life.  Senior dogs are amazing.

Revisiting Post – Burn Off Pent-Up Energy With a Backpack

Bella and Alex (L to R)

Bella and Alex (L to R)

When I first posted about using a backpack to drain my dog’s excessive energy, I received a question from a fellow blogger about how often to use a backpack and how much weight to put as “cargo.”

Let me start by saying that every dog is an individual, and as such you need to figure out how often and how heavy the backpack should be.  This is what I do with Bella, my 3-year-old pit mix, that has an overabundance of energy:

  • When we got Bella, Jan. 2014, she wore a backpack only during our morning walks because the walks had to be short, due to the weather, and she had a huge amount of energy.  She carried 2 lbs. in her backpack
  • As time went by, and the weather improved, Bella wore her backpack every other day, mornings only.
  • Later on, she used the backpack only on Mon., Wed., and Fri.
  • Nowadays, she only wears it when I see that she has way too much energy.  Maybe once a week.

20140201_083842If you are unsure about how to use a backpack, please talk to a trainer so he/she can help you figure it out.  Do not make your dog run with a backpack.  Bella carries 2 lbs. but let’s remember that she weighs 52 lbs.  After a walk of 1 – 1 1/2 hr. with a backpack holding 2 lbs. even my energetic Bella is tired.

I am Sooo Tired – TGIF

2tired1Because the weather is so nice today here in Odenton, MD, we took a nice walk and once I cleaned them up, each furry kid took a spot to hang out and/or fall asleep.  Bella is the youngest one, 3 years old, therefore she was relaxing by the sliding doors and found herself in the arms of Morpheus within minutes.

2tired2Alex, on the other hand, decided that the dining room was a better spot to relax after our walk.  By the way, she still uses her brace during our walks, but not at home.

2tired3Roxy, a beautiful pom, kind of blends with my wood floors, don’t you think?  While they were all recuperating from our walk, I stayed in the kitchen putting away dishes, freezing food I cooked for Alex and Bella recently, and taking pictures of them while they were asleep.  What a nice way to start this weekend.

How Do I handle Walking Dogs With Different Energy Level?

energy1When Cynthia is able to help me, I walk 2 dogs and she walks the other 2.  Those with higher energy level are walked longer by yours truly.  But, when Cynthia is unable to help me this is what I do:

  • I walk Alex, my slow walker, and Bella together for about 15 to 20 mins.  Our walking speed is slow because of Alex, but that’s fine
  • I, then, drop and wipe Alex’s paws at home while Bella holds a sit/stay as a way to incorporate training to our every day life
  • I grab Bella and Roxy, the cutie pom, and we go out for a walk for about 45 mins. or longer
  • Once home, I go to the deck and clean Bella and Roxy

energy2Because Bella is the most energetic of all 3, she gets to walk the longest.  What happens once we get home and she is cleaned and fed?  She is out like a light.  I enjoy walking with them, and I know they need those walks, but I also do it because once at home they are relaxed and tired, therefore living with them is enjoyable rather than a burden.

energy3I post a lot of pictures of dogs sleeping because that is the end result of our walks/runs.  Have a great weekend:-)

Foster Failure – Bella, Our Girl

home1A little over 3 months ago, Cynthia and I went to BARCS to pick up a foster dog, and I truly wanted to train her and work on her behavior so she could go to her forever home, but that was never meant to be.  As time went by, I realized that Bella was a smart, beautiful, active, affectionate, strong, challenging dog.  In other words, perfect for us.  Cynthia fell in love with Bella from the beginning, but to be quite honest, it did take me a while to really feel a bond with her.  When did this happen?  Once I started to train her.  Training a dog is work for both the dog and the handler, so for those that have never trained a dog, let me tell you that aside from walking, training a dog allows you to form a bond with a dog even when you don’t realize it, like in my case.

home2Since Cynthia wanted to adopt Bella for a while, I went ahead, without telling her anything, to BARCS to fill out the application form and as of last month Bella became a permanent member of our family.  When I finally told Cynthia about it, do you know what was her reaction?  She had a smile from ear to ear, and then she cried.  Bella is our foster failure, and that’s ok with us.  Welcome home Bella!