Category Archives: Walking

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?

Finding Happiness In Simplicity

wp april 25 20202

Abby, “I love taking car rides with my moms!”

Lately watching the news is scary and depressing-to say the least-but then I take a look at Abby finding happiness in simple things such as: walking, taking a ride in the car, eating, etc., and all I feel is a great sense of gratitude.

wp april 25 2020

Abby, “I smell food.  Mom, do you smell it too?”

Dogs are great teachers, and for me they are an integral part of my life.  They make me take a look at what really matters and not worry about things that are out of my control.  What does your dog bring to your life?

Mental Health, Self-Quarantine And Dogs

wp april 7 2020

Dexter, “Please turn the lights off!”

A few of you, I can imagine, are experiencing cabin fever, but I may be one of those lucky few that don’t feel that way.  Yes, your mental health could and may be affected due to the executive order by Governor Larry Hogan to stay at home, but having a dog can make the difference between keeping your sanity or going bonkers.

So with that being said, aside from my usual advice of going for walks, I’d also recommend taking naps.  Lots of naps!  Stay home, stay safe!

How to Move With Dogs Without Stressing Them Out

wp march 26 2020

Abby, “Mom, I think that’s your glove!”

In January we moved from MA to Maryland, and to say that Abby was excited about our move would be an understatement.  She loved “inspecting” the boxes we were putting together to pack our things; she dashed between Cynthia and yours truly as if to “help” us pack; she watched Cynthia like a hawk while she taped the boxes; and when she was tired she’d take a nap near one of us or go to bed.

wp march 26 20202

Abby, “Aha!  I told you this was your glove mom.”

Abby seems to enjoy moving, but she is the exception rather than the rule.  Because dogs enjoy having a routine, moving could be stressful for them so I’d recommend the following:

  • Walk/run your dog at least once a day.  Exercise is paramount at this time
  • On moving day, make sure that your dog is in her crate while things are being loaded to a truck/car
  • Once you get to your new place – assuming you took her for a long walk/run in the morning – put on her collar and leash and walk with her through the entire house
  • Afterwards, put her in her crate while your things are being unloaded
  • Take her out of the crate once unloading is done, but limit where she could go and explore for the first week or so

Dogs love routine, but if you plan ahead of time perhaps moving doesn’t have to be very stressful for your canine companion and you.  How did your dog(s) do on your last move?

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

wp march 17 2020

Abby, “Mom, did you see that squirrel?”

To say that the coronavirus pandemic has affected our lives would be an understatement, but I choose to be optimistic and find a silver lining in every cloud.  With that being said, living in semi-isolation has afforded me the time to take Abby for more walks; catch up on some of my reading; write a post more often; and prepare to start working on my taxes – I know, you must be giddy with excitement and anticipation to tackle this task!

I don’t know how long we’ll live like this, so my question to you is: what are you doing with your canine companions during this time?