Category Archives: Walking

Charlie’s Progress – Part VI

The left doggie dish is Abby’s and the right one is Charlie’s

All dogs, just like us people, have quirks and issues, and our Charlie is not the exception. Early on, we figured out that Charlie disliked having his paws handled so we try to handle his paws, gently, every single day. Some pet parents would say to let it be, but if the time comes when I have to get something out of his paw; trim his nails, clean his feet, etc., he would lose it because he is not used to it therefore we’re working on desensitizing him and this is where we are so far:

  • Wiping his paws every time he goes out for a walk and to do his business. Keep in mind that he goes out at least 6 times a day. When we are about to pick up his paw, we touch it so he knows that we are about to pick it up and he could switch his weight. He is about 71lbs. so he is a big boy. By his body language, he is getting more comfortable when we handle his paws.
  • Trimming his nails is a huge endeavor that takes two (2) people, yes you read it right, to accomplish. One of us does the trimming while the other one is brushing and massaging him, and making sure that he is not able to see this horrible nail cutter. On this one, we still got a long way to go.
  • Food is what we are using to help us desensitize Charlie to handling his paw therefore right before we put his dish down we ask him to give us his paw. This way he connects food, something he enjoys and loves, with having his paw handled.

Dogs hate having their paws handled as many of you pet parents know so if you have a Charlie of your own, I would suggest for you to work with an experienced trainer to avoid hurting your dog or yourself. Keep working with your dog and stay safe!

Roxie A Cute Yorkie

Roxie, “Please let me take a nap. Walks, mingling with other dogs and people is exhausting!”

The above cutie pie is Roxie, a Yorkshire Terrier often shortened as Yorkie, who is vacationing with us so I decided to highlight a few of her breed’s traits:

  • A Yorkie’s coat is said to be hypoallergenic
  • Very protective, active, and loving attention makes a Yorkie a great companion for an adult person
  • This breed is better suited for families with children over 10 years old
  • Excellent as a guard dog, yes you read it correctly, because they bark a lot
  • Separation anxiety is common because they were bred to be companion dogs

As days go by, we’ll see about the traits I mentioned in Roxie. Enjoy your weekend!

Abby And Hot Weather Safety Tips

Abby, yours truly and Charlie taking a walk in downtown Annapolis, MD.

Hot weather seems to affect Abby more than Charlie:

  • Abby is able to walk without any problem as long as we walk very early in the morning
  • She seems to get tired faster during Summer than Winter
  • Because Abby is a Beagle Bulldog mix, BeaBull, she makes a funny noise with her nose when she is getting hot so I know that it is time to stop
  • Also, because of the Bulldog in her, Abby snores sometimes. Yes, she does!
  • Abby’s dark color, and dogs that are black, can easily get overheated

I love living in Maryland, but I am always mindful that Summers here are very hot and humid so I need to be careful when we venture out with my kids. Enjoy your Summer and stay safe!

Limit Exercise For Your Dog On Hot Days

Abby to Charlie, “Do you need a bigger bed? Well, do you?”

Although I love to walk, and I recommend it to all pet parents, when the weather is hot and humid-you will not believe what I am about to recommend-do not walk outdoors. There I said it! Yes, it goes against all that I believe in, but I want to make sure that you and your canine companion stay safe.

We walk early in the morning and in the evening. You could still exercise your doggie during Summer, but the time of day, length of time, humidity, terrain, etc. are a few things you need to remember in order to keep your dog, and yourself safe. What do you do to safely exercise your dog during hot, humid weather?

Charlie’s Weekend Outing

Charlie, “Wow! What is that?”

Let me start this post by saying that there is no such thing as a perfect dog.  I could see pet parents red with anger, but allow me to explain.  Just like humans, dogs are a work in progress, and that’s ok.  But I believe that there is such a thing as the perfect dog for you, the pet parent, and that is a completely other post for the future.   

I decided to post about Charlie’s progress, but it dawned on me that I should also post about Charlie’s antics.  Why?  I want pet parents to know that they are not the only ones feeling lost, frustrated, overwhelmed, etc. 

This past weekend we took Abby and Charlie to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD for a nice long walk, and well this is where our odyssey started.

Abby, Charlie, and Cynthia (L to R) showing how to properly walk 2 dogs.

During our walk, we introduced Charlie to water, and being the Sheprador that he is he seemed to enjoy it.  We continued our walk, and brace yourself, he saw a squirrel, and although he is doing better when seeing squirrels, he lost it. He barked, pulled, whined, etc.  In other words, he put a whole Broadway production for us.  I had to hold on to that leash for dear life.  Then, after a short period of walking nicely, he saw a bird and wanted to go after it, but with less intensity than with the squirrel.  We finished our walk, almost an hour long, gave them water, and put them in the car.

Charlie is a little over 2 years old, and there are times when he walks beautifully even if a bird-he ignores birds for the most part-or squirrel show up, and there are other times like our outing this past weekend when he just goes bananas.  What I am trying to say is that your dog will drive you nuts and he will certainly keep your life interesting and unpredictable, but take my word for it when I tell you that this too shall pass.  One day, your crazy dog will be a well-behaved dog, and you would say to many people, “My Charlie is the perfect dog for me.”  Yes, you will!  When?  It depends on the dog.  Our Abby calmed down around 4-5 years old.  I’d say Charlie has another 1-2 more years of craziness in him. 

Dogs are not perfect, but who would want a perfect dog?  It would be boring.  Until your dog matures, he will-many times-misbehave and surprise you.  You are just going to have to have patience, be consistent, and remember that life is full of surprises, and so is your dog! 

Charlie’s Progress – Part V

Abby and Remy napping in the afternoon. Remy didn’t feel like facing the camera, so there!

I got tired of typing that long, Charlie’s Behavior Rehabilitation And Training title, so I went with the shorter version, Charlie’s Progress. Hope you don’t mind.

Anyway, today Remy came to vacation with us for a few days and I’ll be honest when I say that he is the most gentle dog we’ve ever had. So cute too!

Remy already met Abby the last time he stayed with us, but this was the first time Remy was meeting our Charlie. How did it go? Charlie barked furiously-our neighbors probably thought something was going on-when he saw Remy, but after a couple of minutes he was quiet. I will give you all the juicy details on my next post. Take care and hydrate!

Revisiting Dogs And Separation Anxiety

Abby and Charlie, “We have to defend our garbage from all critters, humans and intruders!”

As you can see in the above picture, Abby and Charlie take their job seriously. Our routine is to drop off the garbage, sometimes we have to do 2 trips, and pick up our mail.

Charlie’s separation anxiety is slowly starting to disappear. He no longer screams murder when left in a room alone. We’ve been able to go shopping without a problem. Also, Charlie no longer goes bananas when we put Abby in the car first. He gets excited, which is normal, but even that is manageable.

I realized very early on that Charlie needed to get exposed to everything and that’s exactly what we’re doing with him. It helps that Abby is there to lend a paw to her younger brother. To those pet parents out there dealing with a variety of issues, we all have issues by the way, don’t give up and work hard. Our dogs are worth it. Enjoy your weekend!

Dogs And Separation Anxiety

Alex, “Mom, quit torturing me and give me some watermelon please!”

Our Alex, a pit bull mix, was one of the best dogs I’ve ever had as a pet and as my helper when working with other dogs to modify their behavior, but my girl, when we got her as a puppy, had bad separation anxiety so it took us a while to get her to be balanced. Let me tell you that she was worth it. We had her for 13 years, and even now I don’t think that it was long enough.

Dexter, Boxer mix; Bella, pit bull mix; and Alex, pit bull mix.

Our Charlie, the new addition to our family, has separation anxiety and he is getting better as time goes by:

-We couldn’t leave him in any room by himself because he would scream murder at the top of his lungs. Nowadays, he is able to stay by himself for a short period of time.

-Charlie would bark/whine when Abby went out to do her business. Recently, he only makes a funny sound, yes sometimes he still whines, but the intensity and length of time is but a couple of seconds.

-When we placed Abby in the car first, Charlie would go berserk. As time went by, he understood that he would get in the car too so he does get excited, but it’s manageable.

The above is just a few of the things we’re working on with Charlie and his separation anxiety. To those pet parents that are probably asking themselves, “How long will it take for that separation anxiety to disappear?” Let me tell you that it depends on the dog, the activities you are doing with him, the behavior and training you are working on, and the consistency and commitment on your part. Work hard, but also remember to take a break every so often. Stay safe.

Charlie’s Behavior Rehabilitation And Training – Part III

Abby and Charlie relaxing after a very busy day this past weekend. Guard dogs on a well-deserved time off.

Charlie is improving on some things, and on others, we still got a bit to go:

-Walking around where we live is getting better. I haven’t seen him do a Superman, airborne, recently. But, yes there is a but, when he is walking outside of our property Charlie is still a bit hesitant. We are working on that.

-Eating, our boy eats anything, is getting better. He is giving me space when I am about to feed him. Great job Charlie!

-Sleeping/napping in his bed is also better. He is staying on it longer and longer. Yay!

-Separation anxiety is something that most shelter dogs exhibit and Charlie is not the exception. This weekend we took him to do some shopping and when Cynthia exited the car to go to the supermarket, guess what happened? Charlie lost it. But, and this part is the good part, he did better and better as we went to different stores. I will write about separation anxiety on another post.

Is Charlie winking at me or not? I think he is. Charlie, “Mom, please write that I am a good boy, please!”

I want pet parents to know that getting a dog to be balanced is done slowly with tons of patience. For those pet parents that are frustrated I would say to them to take a moment and to keep working at it. Take my word for it, your canine companion is worth it. I know my Charlie certainly is so don’t give up. Stay safel

Nostalgia And Dogs

wp feb 29 2020

My Alex.  A Pitbull mix.

Looking at pictures of my Alex and the dogs that we’ve taken care of throughout the years filled me with nostalgia and gratitude.  Alex lived 13 years and she was the most amazing dog ever, and although when we lost her we were devastated, I wouldn’t trade the time we had with her for anything in this world.

Alex n Maggie

Maggie and Alex (Left to Right).  A Rottweiler and a Pitbull

When I look at the pictures of Alex, Maggie and so many other dogs, yes I feel a little sad because they are no longer with us, but more than anything I feel joy.  Some pictures also make me laugh because they bring back funny memories.  And with that being said, I would ask you, who said nostalgia is a bad thing?