Category Archives: Outings

Treating Dog Anxiety

Abby, Charlie and Remy after a nice morning walk. If they were guard dogs, they would all be fired!

Anxiety in dogs is something that pet parents have a hard time dealing with or recognizing for that matter. These are some of the signs a dog will exhibit when anxious: pacing, drooling, barking, destroying things, nipping, etc. I always recommend for pet parents to have a vet do a physical exam to rule out any medical condition their dog may be experiencing, and once they get a clean bill of health we could start addressing the anxiety in their dogs.

Charlie, a GSD mix, had a lot of anxiety when we got him from the SPCA in Annapolis, MD. By the way, most dogs from shelters are very anxious, it’s rare to find one that is not. Our Charlie went from screaming murder at the top of his lungs any time: we left the room; we exited the car; we went to a new place, etc. How is he doing now? Way better and still working with him, but understand this, your dog’s anxiety will disappear with time if you are consistent with the following:

  1. Walk him! Yes, this gets a lot of that anxiety and pent up energy out of them
  2. Don’t talk too much to your dog. Use your body language, energy and intention instead
  3. Start working with a trainer on basic training and behavior modification
  4. When you are overwhelm, walk away, take a deep breath and work with your dog once you are on a relaxed state of mind. No, you cannot drink wine. Sorry!

The above is just a few of the things you could do to start dealing with your dog’s anxiety. Charlie is super smart, he is a GSD mix after all, but I am still working with him and I have seen amazing results. Don’t despair, be consistent and your dog will one day bring you joy rather than stress. Enjoy your week!

Happy Birthday Abby!

Abby, “Yay, I could go and explore, right?”

Abby turns 7 years old today. Could you believe how time goes by so fast? We are so happy to have her in our lives and so this is what we’ve planned for her: Yummy brunch, she had some fried rice and eggs this morning; napping in front of the fireplace which she seems to enjoy very much; and dinner, later on, chicken, rice, veggies, and for dessert-wait for it- a small cake that she’ll have to share with Charlie.

I am usually really bad about birthdays. I end up posting and celebrating well after the actual birthday took place, so this year I decided to change things and do it the day of the birthday itself.

Is Abby going to get any presents? Yes, we’ll be going to do some shopping for her next week. As you could see I am far from perfect, so if you forget your doggie’s birthday don’t feel bad just make up for it later on. Happy birthday my beautiful Abby!

Back To Our Old Routine

Abby and Charlie, “Mom, we saw a fish. Could we get it?” Mom, “No!”

Since Abby and Charlie were driving us up the wall-totally my fault of course-this is what their day looks like:

  1. Walking – extremely important therefore I listed it first. If possible, twice a day
  2. Behavior and Training – make your pup wait for you while you take laundry out of the dryer; eye contact to you right before you feed him; sit while you put on his Halti and much more
  3. Structure – your dog should have time for walks, behavior and training, crate time, and naps
  4. Job – find out what your dog loves to do and hire him/her for that job

The above are just a few of the things you need to do in order for your dog to be balanced, and for you to keep your sanity and minimize at all cost your hair turning gray. There are studies that state that stress causes our hair to turn gray so for the sake of vanity if nothing else, follow the above list. Stay safe!

Confessions Of A Pet Parent And Dog Trainer

Marcela, “Don’t they look like angels? You’ll think different after reading this post.”

To say that Abby and Charlie were given lots of food, treats, naps, and freedom since November of last year would be an understatement. Let me start from the beginning. Once November came around, my body went into holiday mode so the kids, Abby and Charlie, for the most part did what they wanted. And after 3 months of that, we were about to pull our hair out, and so Cynthia and I decided that they needed to go back to having exercise, structure, a job, etc., in order to keep our sanity.

How are they doing? I’ll tell you in a future post. For now, what I’d like to convey is that whether you are a pet parent, or a pet parent and dog trainer, like me, we all-at one point or another-end up relaxing the rules we should have for our dogs, and as a result they drive us up the wall. Now, rather than feeling frustrated, angry, and discouraged-all these are negative feelings-we could instead look at how we remedy this situation and get to work. So with that in mind, let’s get to work. Stay safe!

Annapolis, MD Sailboat Show

Charlie to Cynthia, “I will pose for this picture, but I need to be compensated for it mom.”

I enjoy going to downtown Annapolis, and that’s what we did this past weekend not knowing that it was time for the annual sailboat show. To say that there was a lot of people would be an understatement, and because of that I asked Cynthia to wear her mask, and only remove it for this picture. Safety first pet parents!

How did Charlie do? Surprisingly well. Abby and Charlie barked at a dog while we were walking because such dog barked at them first, but other than that we had a nice time walking around and taking pictures. We are trying to expose Charlie to as many different things as possible just like we did with all our other doggies. Sharing your life with dogs is quite an adventure so let’s enjoy the ride! 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!