Tag Archives: Training

Kitchen: Most Popular Room In Our House

popular1

Champagne, “Could I help?”

One thing I’ve realized, and many of you probably would agree with me, is that the kitchen is the most popular and used room in a house.  All of Abby’s friends love to hang out in the kitchen specially when Cynthia is cooking.

popular2

Champagne, “I am so tired.”

After Champagne helped Cynthia prepare a delicious meal, she was very tired so she took a nap.  She is probably dreaming about food.

popular3

Champagne, “What? Time to eat? Yay!”

How interesting, and funny, that once it was time to eat the above beautiful girl woke up right away.  I think that both, dogs and humans, enjoy hanging out in the kitchen.  What room is the most popular/used in your house?

Do You Paddle With Your Dog?

Alex, "Mom, do you need help?  You are taking too long.  Please hurry up."

Alex, “Mom, do you need help? You are taking too long. Please hurry up.”

We try to include our canine companion, Alex, in as many activities as possible in order for her to enjoy herself, spend time with us, and be a balanced dog.  While in Maryland, we went kayaking in Annapolis and we really enjoyed ourselves.  Before I forget, make sure your dog is wearing a life jacket.

Alex, "Mom, I am really tired.  What's for dinner?"

Alex, “Mom, I am really tired. What’s for dinner?”

The above picture was taken after we finished kayaking and Alex was falling asleep.  She looked so tired that you would have thought that Alex was the one doing all the paddling.  No ladies and gentlemen, I was the one paddling with a cute cargo, Alex, of 45lbs.  She did better than any other time.  I was glad because that day the water was choppy and a little windy so we got wet when a couple of waves hit us head on.  Not to worry, the waves were very small.

Alex, "Will I get treats for posing?"

Alex, “Will I get treats for posing?”

Kayaking with Alex is always fun, and if we are ever back in Maryland we’ll make sure to kayak early in the morning or late afternoon in order to avoid excessive heat.  Have a great weekend!

Foster Failure – Bella, Our Girl

home1A little over 3 months ago, Cynthia and I went to BARCS to pick up a foster dog, and I truly wanted to train her and work on her behavior so she could go to her forever home, but that was never meant to be.  As time went by, I realized that Bella was a smart, beautiful, active, affectionate, strong, challenging dog.  In other words, perfect for us.  Cynthia fell in love with Bella from the beginning, but to be quite honest, it did take me a while to really feel a bond with her.  When did this happen?  Once I started to train her.  Training a dog is work for both the dog and the handler, so for those that have never trained a dog, let me tell you that aside from walking, training a dog allows you to form a bond with a dog even when you don’t realize it, like in my case.

home2Since Cynthia wanted to adopt Bella for a while, I went ahead, without telling her anything, to BARCS to fill out the application form and as of last month Bella became a permanent member of our family.  When I finally told Cynthia about it, do you know what was her reaction?  She had a smile from ear to ear, and then she cried.  Bella is our foster failure, and that’s ok with us.  Welcome home Bella!

A New Year And New Beginnings – 2014

2014Every year, just like many other people, I make a list of my new year’s resolution to tackle, but this year, surprisingly even to me, I failed to do so.  Instead, I decided to do things I’ve been meaning to do for a while and unlike past years, 2014, although today is only January 4th, is proving to be quite fulfilling.  The first thing I addressed was continuing with Alex’s training and small walks.  How’s she doing?  Better every day.

20142The second thing I’ve been meaning to do is to take care of a plant and not kill it like I’ve done in the past.  With that in mind, Cynthia gave me a beautiful white Orchid for my birthday that I named Snowflake.  Yes, I name them because in my mind it makes me more responsible, and between you and me, I think its working.  A week later, we went and got another Orchid, the one featured in the above picture, that I named Lilly.  A month has gone by and they are both doing great and thriving.

20143And the last thing I’ve been meaning to do for a while was to foster a dog.  Cynthia and I finally went to the shelter in Baltimore, BARCS, yesterday, Friday, and picked a dog to foster.  This picture I took yesterday, a couple of minutes after we got home, but I stopped right away because she seemed afraid of a lot of things and I did not want to frighten her.  To our surprise she slept soundly, actually she snored, and ate all her dinner last night, followed by a breakfast I could have sworn she inhaled this morning.

I’d venture to say that this is a nice way to start 2014, don’t you think?  Have a great weekend.

Alex On Sabbatical Leave

add1I’ve had Alex since she was about 3 months old, and I still can’t believe that she is on her way to be 12 years old next year.  Thanks to Alex I have been able to help other dogs be more balanced and manageable, and as a result their pet parents were able to enjoy their canine companions and not find the need to rehome them.

Please, understand this, although Alex is perfect for me, she is not perfect, but then again, why would I want her that way?  It’d be boring, don’t you think?  Anyway, since she will be on bed rest for a while I was thinking about fostering a dog.  I’ve been thinking about it for a while, about 2 years, and I think that this is the right time to do it.  With that in mind, I put an application and it was approved so we’ll be going to pick up our foster dog within the next couple of days.  I am really excited about it.

add2By the way, I’ll continue to keep Alex engaged by introducing and reenforcing commands so my girl is not bored half to death.  Right now I am working on teaching her how to walk towards me slowly using voice and signal commands.  Why?  Because now that she is feeling better she wants to run towards me at full speed.  I don’t ask her to sit anymore for I fear it may hurt or cause her pain, but she is able to do a lot of other things without discomfort.

Have a great weekend, and thanks to the many bloggers that foster and served as an example for me to follow, and I hope that others would follow suit.

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.

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.

Exploring Annapolis, MD With Your Furry Friends

annapolis1

We haven’t been to Annapolis in a while, and some things have changed of course.  Years ago, you could walk and visit the Naval Academy with your dog without a problem.  But this time, we had to wait for Cynthia to go and check if Alex could go in with us.  This is Alex, patiently waiting for Cynthia.

annapolis2

Since Cynthia always takes longer than she should doing almost anything, yes, I am complaining, Alex and I went around the neighborhood to explore and take pictures.

annapolis3

As you can see, Alex was quite curious about this big piece of wood moving in the water.  Like I said, we haven’t been to Annapolis in a while.

annapolis4

This is what we were looking at.  Annapolis is a really beautiful city and one worth exploring with your dog.

annapolis5

Cynthia finally came out and told us that we could not take Alex to the Naval Academy so we decided to go around Annapolis to walk, shop, and just do some sightseeing.

annapolis6

Cynthia and Alex walking in Annapolis, MD.  Alex is used to cars, people, bikes, etc., that is why taking her with us is a pleasant and enjoyable experience.  Even though she is used to so many things, we still take her with us whenever we can so she does not forget.  All right, all right, I’ll come clean: it’s fun to walk around with her.

annapolis7

I could not help but take a picture of this cute dog.  Notice how well this dog is walking even though the one holding the leash is a kid.  Yes, when kids are taught how to walk a dog they do a pretty good job.

annapolis8

I got Alex to pose for this picture by asking her to sit and stay for me.  Like I’ve told many pet parents, training your dog should be something that you incorporate in your life, and this is a perfect example.  Do I train Alex at home?  Yes, but I do it as part of her every day routine.  Before she eats, I ask her to sit.  Or, if she is going to get a treat, she has to sit for me.  Did I take 5-10 minutes to specifically train her?  No.  At the beginning, yes I had to in order to teach her what I wanted from her, but after a couple of sessions she was good to go.

annapolis9

Walking a dog should be something that you enjoy, but you need to train your dog to do so.  Take your dog and explore different neighborhoods.  Once we got home, Alex went out like a light.  She was tired not only because of the walk, but also because of the amount of new smells she encountered while walking in Annapolis.  This is a great way to fulfill your dog’s need for exercise.

Should I Run Or Walk My Dog?

Well, that is a question that can only be answered once all factors are considered about the dog in question, therefore I’ll use Alex and her canine buddies as examples.

runorwalk1

Until early last year, I used to get Alex to run once or twice a week, but I stopped because the walks we take every day seem to be enough for her, and because a couple of months ago she started to limp while we were walking.  I took her to the vet and she was given medication she has to take every day plus a lot of rest for a couple of weeks.  Now she is back to her usual self, but she’ll go for a follow-up with the vet next week.  What I do, since a lot of dogs have never run next to a bike, is get Alex to jog next to the bike I am riding for 1 minute or less.  Why?  I want the other dogs to see what she is doing and mimic that behavior.  Now, should Alex run or walk?  She should walk because she is a senior dog and she was already limping while walking with me.  By the way, this is how Alex and Dexter looked on Saturday, after a good run early in the morning.

runorwalk2

Sarris, unlike Alex, can run without a problem, but Sarris is also a younger dog.  I got her to run/jog for about 10 minutes, and after that we walked home.  She did not have a problem with the bike.  Actually, she seemed to enjoy running alongside me.  Should you run or walk Sarris?  Well, I think she should run 2 to 3 times a week and walk the rest of the week because she is an active young dog.

runorwalk3

Of course, they need a comfortable bed to rest after exercising so here they are, L – R, Dexter, Alex, and Sarris.  They were all ready for a nap.

runorwalk4

Dexter, the handsome boy all the way to the right, is about 2 1/2 years old and he is full of energy, therefore he can easily run every other day without a problem.  His mom told me that he did not like bikes, so I was really surprised when after walking with him for 5 minutes he had no problem at all running alongside my bike.  I was so happy and after a couple of minutes he tried to run fast, but I had to slow down because he is very strong and I did not want him to over do it.  We kept up a pretty nice pace, but we did not go fast.  Yes, Dexter should definitely run a few times a week.

Every dog is different and if you decide to try going for a run with your dog, please make sure to consider the following:

  • Age, weight, breed, and health of the dog – If unsure, talk to the vet
  • Weather – I go for a run early in the morning, 6am during the Summer
  • Distance – Do not make your dog run for more than 5 – 10 minutes at the beginning and increase the time little by little
  • At the beginning, try walking your dog next to the bike – Some dogs hate bikes
  • Always, after every run, check his pads to make sure they are not damaged

These are just a few suggestions to consider before taking your dog for a run.  Remember that going for a run with your dog is supposed to be enjoyable and good for both, you and your dog.  What do you do with your dog to help him burn some energy?