The pandemic is wreaking havoc in the world, and if you listen to the news the number of infected and deaths because of it is rising. Although it does feel gloomy and scary, I am grateful to have our dogs and family with me. I choose to focus on the positive, and I hope you do too. Stay safe!
Walter, Australian Shepherd, and Dexter, Boxer mix. (L to R)
I got a video from Dexter’s mom this week in which he was playing with a toy without a care in the world. When we met Dexter he was 5 years old. He is a little over 10 years old now, and he looked so happy and much older that I remembered. That video made me think. Why we, humans, are so worried about getting old? I know we have to plan for the future, that’s a given, but many of us worry for no particular reason. I do think that dogs live in the moment, something we humans find somewhat difficult to do, and so I’d say to you, do what makes you happy, and learn from your dogs. Carpe Diem people!
Because of the Coronavirus pandemic we are taking more precautions in order to stay safe, and that-of course-includes our dogs and home. These are the things I’d recommend you do to keep your dogs clean:
Brush your dog’s hair (long and short-haired dogs) after a walk. Always!
Wipe off your dog’s paws (get baby wipes from the Dollar Store) and check her pads for any foreign object in them
Change her bedding frequently (every couple of days or daily)
Brush her teeth before going to bed
When it comes to our house, I dust, vacuum, and sweep often because as you pet parents well know, our doggies shed a lot. What about yours truly? I wash my hands constantly and I carry hand wipes with me always. Keeping our dogs clean does not require a lot of money or time so let’s get in the habit of doing so in order to keep us all safe. Take care.
I’ve had a few clients ask me, “My dog paces excessively in the house and I don’t know what to do. What would you recommend to get rid of this annoying habit?” The first thing I always tell them is to have their vet check their dog for it may be something related to his health. Once the vet has cleared your dog and everything, health wise, is fine then you need to look elsewhere for an answer.
Oliver, “I think I need a bigger bed.”
The answer could be one or all of the following:
Are you providing adequate exercise to your dog? A puppy or young dog needs at least a 1/2 hour brisk walk twice a day and this is the very minimum.
Does your dog have a bed or crate? Most dogs enjoy having a place where they know they can rest without being disturbed.
How many times did you take your dog to potty? Puppies and seniors need to go potty more often than adult dogs, but it also depends on the size of the dog. Small dogs need to go potty more often than large ones.
Now, there is always that exception. The handsome Aussie, Walter, most of the time preferred to hang out under our table, but in the evenings and night time he did go to his bed.
Also, please know that for dogs that you are adopting and/or fostering as well as those that are nervous, sensitive or were abused in the past, pacing will take a while to disappear. Have patience and continue working with your dog. As time goes by, you’ll see positive results.
Most of us are looking forward to this holiday weekend, and some are already enjoying it. Roxy is certainly not wasting any time at all. I know napping will be one thing I will be doing this weekend.
Gir, mini Doberman Pinscher
Don’t feel like napping? No problem. Perhaps this weekend you will find fun and games to keep you occupied. Gir is playing hide and seek. He doesn’t seem to mind having his picture taken.
Walter and Alex (L to R)
Ok, so perhaps napping and games are not your cup of tea. If that is the case, I’d recommend you spend time with your canine companions at home. They always seem to want to participate in activities such as: cooking, napping, eating, and of course, walking. Regardless of what you decide to do this holiday weekend, try to include your furry kids in your festivities. Enjoy your weekend.
Let me start by answering the question above. Yes, the name game in training a dog is extremely important. This is always the first command I work on before moving on to any other command. Why is it important? For the simple reason that if you don’t have your dog’s attention, whatever command you are giving him will fall on deaf ears and you will end up angry, frustrated and aggravated while your dog will be completely clueless about what is going on. The above picture of handsome Walter is the perfect example of a dog not paying any attention at all. He did not want any thing to do with the camera.
A lot of pet parents would give a command when their dog is exploring his environment. Is this a good time to do it? No. He will just learn to ignore whatever command you are giving him because you don’t have his attention.
Do you give a command now? Yes. I called his name, Walter, and he gave me that beautiful eye contact. At this point, you could give him a command, but not before you get his attention. At the beginning, work only on the name game, and reward your dog with a treat, petting him, etc. Don’t move on to any other command until your dog looks at you every single time you call his name. I’d suggest you start doing this indoors and later on move on to doing it outdoors. Make training fun for you and your dog. Enjoy your weekend.
When Alex, my 12-year-old pit mix, was not able to walk because of her ACL injury last November, I told myself, “I’ll walk by myself while I enjoy listening to some music for a change.” Ha! Do you know how many times I went out walking by myself? Once. Yes, once. I hated it, and I was bored half to death.
Alex, Bella, and Walter (L to R). The smiling human is your truly, Marcela
What saved me from boredom were the doggies that came to stay with us while Alex was recuperating from her injury. Nowadays, Alex is doing better and she is able to walk with us, but not for too long. I still have to be careful with her. On this holiday, just like any other day, please remember to walk your dog.
Alex and Walter (L to R)
And, make sure you add a little extra food if your walks are longer than usual. Have a great Memorial Day from my pack to yours!
Every time I see Walter, this is what comes to mind first, “Que guapo,” in Spanish. Best translation since a literal translation would end up having a different meaning is, “So handsome.”
Walter will be staying with us for a few days so I am crossing my fingers that the weather is nice and we can take long walks together. If not, I’ll have him help me do chores. My favorite one and the one that gets all dogs tired: doing laundry.
There are a few things I truly dislike, and one of those happens to be rainy/snowy days like the one we had today in Maryland. I always tell my girlfriend, “I hate this kind of weather,” but to my surprise this was one of the few times I did not feel like that.
I looked at Alex, who seemed to be enjoying her bed rest, and I was grateful for having her in my life and for all the laughter and joy she brings to my pack.
I, then, took a look at Walter, my current walking partner and saw how content he was just hanging out in the kitchen with us. I think he believes he was helping with dinner and to be honest, who am I to tell him otherwise, right?
Cynthia, as always, was busy cooking something very delicious: chicken breast. Ok., now I am really grateful. Why? She always cooks delicious meals. I hate to cook.
This is our deck. In the morning it was snowing, but after a few hours the little bit of snow we had was melted by the rain.
Walter decided that patrolling the kitchen for “intruders” would be better than just watching Cynthia cook.
Walter, our sous chef and guard dog
After patrolling the kitchen, Walter got a little tired and decided to take a break in the dining room. Walter is a great sous chef, walking partner and guard dog. He barks at anything and anybody he believes to be a threat. Australian Shepherds are working dogs with a strong herding and guarding instincts. Walter fits that profile, but he is also amazingly sweet and loves hugs. With all these amazing beings around me, how can I not be happy and grateful for having them in my life? Yes, even a rainy/snowy day can be a wonderful day. It all depends on how you look at it.