Tag Archives: Dog

Luca Passed His Canine Good Citizen Exam

I met Luca, a tall and handsome GSD mix, a little over a year ago, and he was a very challenging dog because he seemed to be afraid of so many things.  His pet parents worked with him under the guidance of a trainer, and the “new” Luca is so different from the dog I met a year ago.

20131004_113437Isn’t he handsome?  I took this picture during one of our many walks in Crofton.  Luca’s pet parents put a lot of work with him, along with patience, consistency, and money, of course, but I do believe it paid off.

20131103_124753Today, Sunday, Luca and his mom Holly took and passed the Canine Good Citizen exam, and I was able to see them in action and provide moral support, although between you and me I don’t think they needed it, but I went anyway.  I was so proud of him, of his mom too, let me not forget that, that I think I squeezed her arm a little too tight.  Sorry about that Holly, but I was just so happy to see them work together so well.

20131103_133606After I congratulated both Holly and Luca for passing the CGC exam, I went home and took out my girl, Alex, to stretch her legs for a while.  By the way, I think, I might be wrong, but I doubt it, that the sweater that she is wearing is the first one that she actually likes.

Whatever you decide to do with your dog regarding, training, exercise, behavior, etc., make sure that you set up your dog for success.  Work with reputable trainers, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Have a great Sunday.

Walking Your Dog Properly

Every time I go for a walk with Alex, I see pet parents walking their dogs, while others have their dogs walk them.  The former is the goal and is what you should strive for in order to enjoy walking your dog.

wlkrght1The above picture shows how a kid is walking his dog properly.  The leash is loose and both, kid and dog, are relaxed.

The picture below shows how not to walk a dog.  The dog is pulling his pet parent and frustration will soon ensue.

wlkrght2The dog’s attention is directed toward other people and dogs rather than the pet parent which causes the dog to pull on the leash.

Has this happened to me?  Heck yes.  More times than I care to remember, but walking Alex and the dogs that stay with us taught me the following:

  1. Before putting that leash on your dog, check your mood.  Yes, check your mood.  If you are angry, nervous, anxious, etc., your dog will pick up on it and your walk will be a nightmare.
  2. Ask your dog to sit so you can put on her collar and leash.  Open the door with you exiting first, followed by your dog.
  3. Make sure the leash is loose and your dog is on your left side.  If you prefer to use the right side, that is fine, but at the beginning you need to use the same side for consistency.
  4. Start walking with your dog next to you.  If she starts getting ahead of you, at this point she is probably pulling you, walk the opposite way.
  5. Every time she pulls you go the opposite way.  She’ll get the point after a couple of times.  I did this with my first dog, Casey, and I got dizzy because a few times were more like a lot of times.  Patience was my only weapon.
  6. If you get frustrated, and you will, please go back home and end the walk.  The ability for a dog to learn diminishes when she is under stress.

wlkrght3This is Cynthia and Alex walking on a loose leash in Annapolis, MD.  Alex, unlike Casey, learned very fast how to walk this way.  If you have a dog like Alex, teaching your dog to walk properly will be a breeze, but if you happen to have a dog like Casey be prepared to turn around over and over again.

Also, whenever you are teaching your dog something new make sure that you do it in an area that your dog is familiar with and where there are no distractions.  The point is to set your dog up for success, right?  Later on you can add distractions.

wlkrght4 I would not take a dog that does not know how to walk on a loose leash to Annapolis, although this is a very beautiful place, because there are way too many distractions.  Be fair and patient with your dog, and remember that dogs are individuals and as such they learn at their own pace, not yours.

Keep Your Senior Dog Active

During our last visit to Alex’s vet, one thing that resonated with me was the vet’s advice to keep my senior canine companion active.  I told the vet that since she put Alex on supplements for joints, Alex does not limp at all and walks without a problem.  There are times when she has so much energy, yes at 11 1/2 years old, that she runs back and forth inside the house.  This is my cue to increase the walks.

activesenior1But, I am also very vigilant regarding signs/cues that on occasions she displays that tells me that I need to make the walks shorter and perhaps more frequent.  Alex was only walking a maximum of  about 30 minutes right after she was put on supplements, but now she can easily walk as much and as long as she used to do before, but I don’t let her over do it.

activesenior2Today, Saturday, Alex and I went to a pet store in Annapolis, MD and after that we went to PetSmart to get her food and some treats which kept us out for a couple of hours.  She had her morning walk, but not her evening walk because she looked tired.  I had her pose for this picture with one condition.

activesenior3The condition was that she would have some time to “explore” the area without having me rush her.

Keep your senior dog active, but don’t over do it.  The key is, like in almost everything in life, moderation.  If ever in doubt, ask your dog’s vet.

Alex’s Visit to The Vet And Dealing With Stress

Last week, I took Alex to the vet so she can get some vaccines and since I know my girl gets very stressed out every time we go I decided to approach this visit a little different than usual.

This is how Alex and I approached this vet’s visit:

  • I asked for the first appointment at 9am as to minimize the amount of barking dogs Alex would be able to hear
  • I gave her breakfast after the vet visit was done.  Some dogs toss their cookies when they are fed and not long after that are exposed to too much excitement, stimulus, people, etc.
  • Once we got to the vet’s office, I parked my clunker and took her for a 1/2 hr. walk.  This helped decrease some of her anxiety
  • Before the vet saw Alex, she got on a scale to get her weight.  I used treats and training commands such as, sit, stay, wait to get her to stay on the scale
  • Once the vet and vet tech came in, I saw that Alex was anxious so I started by getting her attention by calling her name and giving her treats

vetvisit1I was really surprised and quite pleased with our last vet visit because although she showed signs of being stressed, they were on a lower scale, and it was easier for the vet and her vet tech to do their job.

Once we got home, I took her to the back, our deck, brushed and wiped her, and after that she went straight to her bed while I was making breakfast.  Cynthia took the above and below pictures a couple of minutes after Alex went to bed.

So tired

So tired

Something else that surprised me was that she ate a big breakfast: chicken soup, 1/2 cup, and kibble, 1 cup.  For Alex, my picky girl, that is a lot, but she ate everything.  All our previous visits to the vet were followed by Alex eating very little if nothing at all.  What did my girl do after having such a big breakfast?  She went back to bed.  Lights out moms.

Roxy, Treats, And Her Bed

Roxy comes very often to stay with us and for some reason she used to shake uncontrollably when it was time to go to bed.  She loves treats so I decided to use that and see how she responded.

IMG_5474We started by doing the following:

  • Lured her to bed by showing her a treat
  • Once in bed, she got a treat
  • While Cynthia put a leash and collar I continued to give her treats.  We had to do that otherwise she’d walk our bedroom the entire night and this only adds to more anxiety
  • I then said to her, “good night,” and gave her one last treat

IMG_4436We did this every time she stayed with us and you know what?  It worked.  About 2 days ago, I went to brush my teeth and as I was exiting the bathroom I saw something small and dark curled up in her bed, the bedroom is right next to the bathroom, and to my surprise it was Roxy.  Wow!  She went to bed all by herself.

If your dog has “issues” like cute Roxy, remember the following:

  1. First, figure out what she loves/likes best and use that to train her
  2.  Do not train her when you are angry or anxious, and make the experience pleasant and short.
  3. She was tethered to a 6 ft leash allowing her to move comfortably.  Do not leave a dog unattended.  We do this because she is in the same room with us just a few feet away from our bed

My next goal is to teach her to use a crate.  Just like with the bed, if Roxy is put in a crate she shakes like crazy.  I wanted to teach her to use a bed before using a crate.  Train your dog little by little.  There is no point nor need to stress your dog out.  Every dog is different, therefore please remember that when training or teaching your dog a new trick or behavior.  Go slowly, and take my word for it, it’ll pay off.  Have fun training your canine companion.

Cold Weather Is On Its Way

I used to love tropical weather for many years, on my defense I’d like to say that I grew up about 10 minutes from the beach so hot weather and fun went hand in hand, but now I prefer any season except for Summer.  Could you believe that?

justalex2This is what Alex wears when the weather starts to get chilly, but once it starts to get cold she wears 2 sweaters because she gets cold very easy.  When she was a puppy I took her out so she can see snow for the first time and play with our other dog, Casey.  She played for about 2 minutes or less, and then she started to shiver uncontrollably while looking at me as if trying to tell me, “Mom, I am freezing.”  I took her inside and she placed herself right next to a heating vent.

coldI love this time of the year when the days are sunny and a bit chilly.  Take your furry kids for walks, cold weather should not be a reason not to go out for a walk, but make sure that you and your canine companion are properly clothed.

Attack of The Kissing Dog – Alex

Years ago, I used to take Alex to a dog park in Annapolis, MD, but I realized very fast that it was a waste of time so I stopped doing it.

kiss1Why?  Because as soon as we got to the dog park she’d go to where all the pet parents were gathered rather than going to play with the other dogs.  Alex gets along with dogs, but since she was a puppy she seemed to prefer humans.

kiss2She enjoys getting attention from people and in return she gives them a lot of kisses, as you can see in this picture.

kiss3The only fear I have when Alex meets new people is that she will give them what I call a saliva bath.  My girl is more social than I am, but then again Alex is better in so many other things than I am and as such she is a great teacher.  Have a great week.