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Flashy Friday! Week 2 -  "Spin" Whew! A whole week between posts, sorry guys! Like I've mentioned before we're pr...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

In times of turmoil it is important to remember what is really important in your life and to be grateful for what you have.
My wish for you is that this holiday season you can just let go of the political, economic, and social turmoil that may be infecting your life and instead concentrate on the wonderful aspects. At least for a short period of time, and re-center your soul to the love and life around you.

I'll start...
This Thanksgiving I am hosting my family at my home, it is my first time hosting and I'm very excited!

I am thankful for my wonderful family...I'm thankful for those who are here and those who are here in spirit this holiday season. My younger sister who is in California this year and my other younger sister who is studying abroad in France they both will be missed but we are sending our love and puppy kisses!

Dante and auntie.

I am thankful for my parent's/in-laws support when I need a puppy sitter last min. It is wonderful to be able to call someone and ask for help.

I am thankful for cold wet puppy noses, Dante and Ziva love to jam their nose in odd places and try to sneak in a giant wet tongued kiss when you're not looking - they like to remind you that their love in unending.

I'm thankful for a dog who although can by trying - is constantly pushing me to learn more about dog behavior and training techniques. Ziva makes me work hard but I'm not going to give up!
I am grateful for warm doggy snuggles...I love my bully babies and our regular curl up and snuggle times.

My challenging child. She's such a rebel, can't you tell?

I am thankful for dog walks - even though sometimes it can be stressful when the puppy has a moment of the "crazies" towards another dog we have so far run into great people. Just today in fact we ran into a lady, Ziva had her moment of crazy and I asked the woman to hang around and let Ziva get past it. Thankfully she did and we had a great conversation about dogs, dog body language, and doggy complexes. Ziva calmed down, and became inquisitive towards the other dog and we walked away with her in a better frame of mind (we aren't to a point where she can greet yet, but calm and collected is a step in the right direction!).

I am thankful for my loving boy, who is one of the most willing and sensitive souls I have ever met.

I am thankful for a wonderful hubby who helps maintain consistent training and exercise routines with the pups.

I am thankful for all the wonderful people I have run into through blogging, the communities that pull together to help each other in times of need, and the wonderful rescues and foster families who save the lives of dogs and cats on a regular and much needed basis.

And I am very grateful for you guys! For following my blog, supporting my writing and encouraging me to continue to grow and write.

We love your comments!
Can you tell us what you might be thankful for this holiday season?


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Don't Worry He's Friendly!

Your Dog Is Not Friendly,
Your Dog is Rude.

Warning: Rant ahead!

This is Part 2 of my Dumb Ass Dog Owner (DADO) Series.

I've come to the realization that being a responsible dog owner means putting up with the bad behaviors of non-responsible dog owners and their stupidity.

Some trainers push the idea that all dogs of all breeds, ages, and sizes should just "get along" which has led certain dog owners to think that their Fido and Fluffy should be loved by every strange dog they meet regardless of Fido's bad doggy manners and lack of proper socialization skills.

Recently I read a great article: He Just Wants To Say "Hi!" - by Suzanne Clothier. Suzanne has been professionally working with animals since 1977 her background includes obedience, agility, puppy testing, breeding, Search & Rescue, conformation, instructing, kennel management, and canine midwifery. She has taught all over the world, and promotes what she calls "Relationship Centered Training".

What I love is that this article puts into words what I have been trying to come up with for a long time - Is what I am dealing with actually Aggression? Or is it a response to Rudeness?

For humans - If a stranger launches themselves at you for a hug what would your response be?
  • Hug in return? I love hugs, lets hug!
  • Shove them away and run in the opposite direction screaming?
  • Punch them for fear of personal harm?
  • Maybe pepper spray their crazy self for what you deemed as an "attack"?

What if a stranger doesn't hug you, what if they instead run screaming at you yelling profanities?
Do you?
  • Stand your ground and wait to greet them?
  • Hold your ground and yell back?
  • Stand your ground and prepare to do physical battle?
  • Run away screaming for help?

What if the stranger doesn't approach you quickly, what if the stranger approaches you from behind and begins groping you? What is the appropriate response now?

These are situations that dogs are put into on a regular basis thanks to the thought that; "All dogs should just get along."
Photo Attribution: Takashi Hososhima

Unfortunately for many dogs they are punished for "snapping" when in reality they are asking for space in the only way that they know how. Us silly humans are the ones that miss all the signals and then blame the dog (who wanted some personal space) when a bite occurs.

And the age long excuse of "Don't worry he's friendly!" is just excuse.

Well guess what? Mine is not friendly when a dog rushes over to meet her.

Just like some people aren't social butterflies, not all dogs like other dogs. This does not mean they are aggressive or not properly socialized, it just means that for one reason or another be it age, personality, or energy they don't like another dog.

And not all dogs are as polite as their humans would like to think.

Lets look at Ziva...Most people have one of 3 reactions.
Yep, She's Truly Terrifying.

1. Automatically see a small but still terrifying "monster pit bull".

2. See a "scary pit bull" but then decide she's not so scary after all because she is cute and friendly.

3. Look at her and say something along the lines of, " she a puppy?" And then because of her size assume that she is friendly...thus releasing their dog to sniff before or even allowing me to acknowledge! Because, when the strange dog zooms in for an "overly friendly" - lets just call it what it is, RUDE greeting. Ziva responds with curled lips, and posturing, which then results if pushed further to a "physical correction" which some people see as a "bite".

She hasn't broken skin with other dogs but her bite is her final warning to leave her alone. And a snarling puppy is not something that you want to see.

On a good note I've gotten pretty good at maintaining distance when people want to chat - for this very reason. And reading her body language. I'm good at grabbing her or creating distance quickly to give her space while warning off the other owner that she doesn't like their dog.

"Get Out Of My Face!"  Photo Attribution: Martin Cathrae

Honestly this makes me kinda sad because I am very sensitive to the whole "pit bull" stigma, and I don't want her to be viewed as an "aggressive" or out of control dog. 

Of which she is neither, she is just a female, introvert, with a close circle of friends. Kind of like me actually...

Ziva's friend Tex-Anna
Ziva's friend Kekoa
Ziva, Dante, and Cable

How Do we Deal With Dumb Ass Dog Owners?
  1. Diligence is key! If we see what could become a "situation" we avoid it, go around, cross the street, turn around and walk the other way if we must.
  2. If another owner is walking a nicely mannered dog, I pay attention to Ziva. Keep a loose leash! What I don't want to do is set her off by transmitting any bad energy through the leash. If Ziva is ignoring the other dog then we will pass on by. But if Ziva is showing too much interest, or negative body language I have her sit and "look at me" until the other dog has passed us.
  3. If we are near home and I see an off-leash dog in the field, I take just Dante over for a greeting to FIRST ASK the owner from a distance - if his/her dog is friendly, I then allow Dante to greet the other dog to get a feel for the personality of the dog. And then, only then do I maybe bring Ziva out to play too. For the most part she just wants to play fetch, she's good at ignoring other dogs when she's playing.
Speaking of transmitting bad energy - remember that dog that bit me over the summer? That story HERE if you missed it. 

It was probably a month after "the incident" when I saw the little fluff ball again, he came right into my yard while I was outside with my dogs. I saw him coming, who wouldn't? He's white! And I must admit that I was very unhappy to see him, and just felt immediately angry. Number 1, he had bitten me, #2 he was out again, #3 he's a bite risk to all the kids in our area who are constantly playing outside. I think Dante sensed my bad vibes towards the little guy because next thing I know they were having a nice meeting, fluff ball was being friendly, and then Dante - my social butterfly, golden child who loves everyone and all dogs, ROARED, LUNGED, and chased that little fluff down the street with me running like a mad woman after him hollering, "Dante! Come!".

Thankfully Dante didn't go very far from the yard, but he certainly scared the daylights out of fluffy - who took off straight in the direction of home.

On that note...I am thankful for people who are kind enough to understand when I say that we are working, and do not want to "say hi"., Thankful Thursday Weekly Blog Hop, pet centric
Heart Like a Dog

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chicken Hearts for Dogs

High Value Treats

My trainer keeps saying, "You need high value treats that are different based upon the different situations you put your dog in. Higher value for harder situations/high stress, lower value for easier/low stress situations."

Having dogs means sometimes getting down and dirty with them, this means anything from cleaning up diarrhea in your house, barf, blood, mud, something dead they found or killed, to raw feeding, and other ickies that they love like chicken hearts!

Hmmm...chicken hearts...
Benefits of Hearts:
  • Chicken hearts are a lean protein that is high in fatty acids, vitamin A, B vitamins, and iron. 
  • Hearts also contain taurine which is good for your dog's heart.

Chicken hearts may be served either cooked or raw to your dog, but if your dog is not used to a raw diet you should probably cook it first, cooking also gets rid of the risk of salmonella. Another thing to be aware of; too many hearts can give your dog loose stools because of the richness.

Being that my dogs are not on a raw diet, I chose to cook the hearts.

Have you ever seen the inside of a heart?
Hmmm...golden brown hearts.
I chose to cut the hearts in half lengthwise, and toss them in a lightly oiled pan until they were nice and golden brown. 

You can also dry your hearts in a food dehydrator (cut them into small uniform pieces first!), or boil them in water giving your dogs both the meat and the broth as a yummy treat.

The kitchen guardian.
Somehow when I was cooking the hearts Dante just knew they were for him! He followed my around the kitchen with a nice wet bottom lip and watering mouth the whole time, and he was super enthusiastic when myself or the hubby asked him to do things.

I'll do anything, just give me that treat!
Tonight is Ziva's shaping class, i'm hoping that these treats will be of high enough value to get her to be a bit more enthusiastic in class. We also are looking for better SUPER HIGH value treats to help her learn to ignore other dogs - something we've been working on for a while now, it's slow going but we're going to get there!

I just discovered a dog walking group that meets up every Saturday and just walks. I'm hoping to join this group and walk Ziva with the group in a non-social manner, as a way of desensitizing her and teaching her that she needs to learn to ignore other dogs. We encountered this group over the weekend, what was awesome is that they were mostly bullies! And all the dogs were well mannered and just happily walking along! It's not a play group, just a get out and enjoy walking kind of group that is led by a local instructor and you don't have to be in a class to join.

*I am not a veterinarian or food nutritionist, please consult your vet if you have any questions, if your animal has special dietary needs, or before considering as switch to feeding raw.*


Monday, November 17, 2014

Attempted Assassination - Don't Eat That!

The Targets: Dante - Amstaff/Boxer Mix, age 1, mommy's new "baby".
                       Tex-Anna - Border Collie, senior, the strange creature who just get's in the way.

The Mission: Attempt to knock off the dogs, in order that we may become the sole rulers of the household receiving all of mommy and daddy's loving attention.

The Method: Heartworm Medication, ALL OF IT.

Mission Success:  FAILURE. 

Well, there you have it. My cat's tried to kill my dogs. Here is the assassination team - 

Belle is on the Left, Merlot is on the Right.
We're pretty sure that Belle was the leader on this particular occasion because she likes to jump up onto high places. She's even been so silly as to manage to jump up on the fridge and then jump down behind it only to realize that she was stuck! Silly cat cried until I figured out where she was and how to get her out!

So what happened you may be asking? 

We hadn't had Dante for very long, in fact I had taken him into the vet's office for his shots because he didn't have any records and after his exam and vaccinations the vet gave me some heartworm medication to give to both Dante and Tex-Anna (our former foster, her story HERE) however since Dante had just received a couple vaccinations the vet told me to wait a couple days before giving him the heartworm med's so that we wouldn't overwhelm his system. I then placed both boxes (a 6 month supply for each dog) up onto a high shelf where the dogs couldn't get it, but where it would be a visible reminder to me so that I'd remember to give it to them.

The next day I came home to discover a mess of cardboard and plastic along with two sheepish dogs who knew they were in trouble.

I managed to find a sliver of cardboard with the name on it and then panicked! My dogs had eaten a years worth of medicine!

Step 1. Identify what was eaten.

Step 2. Call your Veterinarian if you think your dog has eaten poison, the Emergency Vet and the Poison Control Hotline are also good numbers to call.

Photo Attribution: Pet Poisioning Guide Click the picture for the link & more great info!
I immediately dialed up the Emergency Vet because it was after hours for my personal veterinarian, after explaining what had been eaten, and not knowing how it had been split between the two dogs they told me to come in immediately.

After running some numbers the Vet on duty informed me that we should go by the "worst case scenario". 
What she meant was this: 
  • If Dante had eaten the whole years worth all to himself, based on his age, weight, and good health he might be sick but he would not suffer any serious consequences.
  • If Tex-Anna had eaten all of it, based on her age (senior), weight, and health, she had just consumed a lethal dose.
The bill? Ya, I don't even want to talk about it. An unhappy amount of money later they had pumped Tex-Anna's stomach up with charcoal and sent her home for observation.
On a good note she recovered just fine!

Look a year later, still happy and healthy!
I also learned my lesson, all medications should be kept out of reach of pets. For some people this means child proof locks on cabinet doors! 

With the Holiday Season Coming Up It's Important To Know of Potential Dangers.

A great source that I would encourage you all to check out is: 

Click the picture for the link.
Having a puppy that has proven she likes to chew things, I'm very careful about picking up and keeping toxic and potentially harmful items out of doggy reach. However this post reminded me that with winter coming and the start of our wood pellet stove I have a fire starter gel that I shouldn't keep on the floor even if it is convenient.

Granted she doesn't normally go for plastic or bottles (we leave water bottles out), is it really worth the risk and potentially lethal outcome? Nope!

Holiday Dangers

On top of the new array of winter hazards like antifreeze, which can be deadly, fire starters, chemical sidewalk de-icers, which burn paws and are also toxic if ingested, we also have holidays and all the food and decorations that go with them. 

SlimDoggy wrote a great post - Can I Give My Dog Turkey about Holiday foods and overfeeding.

Some more great guidelines regarding food can also be found on the "Eat This, Not That" webpage.

Foods that are high in fat, sugar, butter, or seasoning should be avoided as they can cause stomach upset and diarrhea.

Wholesome foods however are safe for your pup to eat.
Please be careful what you choose to decorate with this holiday season, string and tinsel which kitties love can get tangled in their intestines resulting in death or a nasty vet bill - I have a friend who's cat ate a whole kite string!! She survived close to $5000 later.

Holly, Mistletoe, Christmas Tree ornaments, strings of lights, winter compost, alcohol, candy, are just a few of the many more hazards around during holiday's. 
Remember keep it away from your fur baby and then their is more for you!

For More Detailed Information Or For Some Fun Recipes Check Out:

A Feast Fit For Fido! - Healthy Holiday Pet Recipes for Dogs & Cats


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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Frigid Oregon

Black & White Sunday

On Friday night my mom spent the night at our house, the dogs of course were ecstatic! In the morning she introduced us to a beautiful new place for walking that I think we'll start frequenting.

Dante ran with my mom for 8 miles and did great while Ziva and I had a nice walk and enjoyed the view.

It was as you can see, absolutely gorgeous. It had a perfectly paved trail for bikers, walkers, and dog walkers. It is leash required however we did see off-leash dogs (Huge pet peeve! They ruin it for everyone.)

But what you can't see is that it was cold. Frigid in fact, and a balmy 28 degrees Fahrenheit! Extremely not typical for our part of the Willamette Valley. We used to never see snow and cold just lots of wet rainy gray weather. Well it looks like this year will be a repeat of last year, lots of snow for our area - which is anything over 3 inches, and lots of closed businesses because everyone is a complete idiot on the snow, unless you do snow sports or came from somewhere else. And cold pupcicles!  Our dogs love to play in the snow, but it is cold with them having such short hair.  

On a good note, DZ Dog dad and I are quite comfortable with snow driving, hopefully the idiots will stay off the road this year.

Black and White Sunday hosted by Nola and Sugar.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Watch Out For That Tree!!

Urban Mushing Mistakes

Do you remember that great post I wrote just yesterday regarding the proper way to Urban Mush and the safety tips?
Well, here is my story of what not to do!

Dante loves to run and pull, when he sees the harness he starts dancing in silly circles prancing with his feet the whole time and tries to force you to put the harness on him faster. Silly goofball!
My husband likes to Urban Mush on roller blades, now me? I'm not much for roller blades. When we first got married back in 2009 he thought it would be fun to skate with me, so we purchase a pair of blades each and it became a short lived hobby (for me). Now I had blades as a kid but not as an adult, Mr. "Previously played ice hockey" was great at skating circles around me, showing off his fancy footwork, and coming to a complete stop while he watched me zoom on by howling about my inability to stop!  Well he wasn't that cruel...he did help me stop. But still it was pretty funny!

The hubby trained Dante, and they are a good team. Dante listens and follows the commands, and from a spectators point of view it looks like a blast! (We were naughty, you should NOT let your dog mush on pavement. We're educated now! But at the time didn't know any better! Sorry..) Our street dead ends so this is where we practiced, its not very long but a couple back/forth's and we could burn off a good amount of energy from our crazy boy! Well the hubby took Dante on a lap, and then I wanted to try. Looked like fun right? And Dante listens soo well!

Mistake #1. Running on Pavement.
Just don't do it.

Mistake #2. Start Slowly.
We hadn't practiced our walking pace first...remember me? Ya, new team member. We hadn't done this before together. So down the driveway I stepped sideways (my driveway is sloped but the street is flat). Once on the street I started off with Dante pretty slow, but he quickly leapt into his favorite stride, otherwise known as FAST!! I just hung on for dear life! Luckily we were going in the late evening during the summer so it was still light out but no one was out driving.
Dante did great! He followed my commands for "left", and "right".

Mistake #3. Know your Equipment.
Know your personal abilities and equipment dummy! About that....I had taken on this little adventure with proper safety equipment but that doesn't do any good if you can't stop! What was I thinking!
On a good note, Dante again listened great! I called out "easy" for slow down, and then "stop!" For a halt and we slowly came to a nice stop. When disaster averted! Or so I thought.
Off we went again! Only this time Dante was even more enthusiastic and he really dug in and took off. Now we were headed straight at the dead end.

Mistake #4. Know your Abilities.
I cannot stop! I have to roll slowly to a stop or else fall on my a$$! So there we were, dead end coming quickly straight at me, and Dante running full bore straight towards it! I yelled "easy", sure he slowed but not me..I yelled "stop!" and he came to a complete stop as I flew past him, releasing the towline and skating "George of the Jungle" style straight into and wrapping my arms around a large tree! Thankfully the dead end is a line of trees and a field of grass.
I wasn't hurt, just terribly embarrassed, the neighbors of course were out on their front porch drinking beer and saw the whole thing. They could see I was fine and offered help but continued to howl in complete hysterics at my silly antics.

I then tail tucked and completely humiliated skated back home, Dante at a walking pace next to me rather than pulling this time.

I have since retired my skates, and I'm looking at getting into scootering with Dante and skijoring both sports I feel comfortable in undertaking.

For more reading about Urban Mushing click - HERE

My Silly Goofball of a dog - otherwise known as the "dangerous pit bull". Haha!

FitDog Friday

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mushing Fun!

Urban Mushing!

**Editor's Note: It was brought to my attention by an avid dog musher that I am using some of the wrong terms. So here is my revised post! Thanks Guys! I love the feedback!**

I keep mentioning "joring" but I haven't posted specifically on the topic...until now!

Daddy and Dante love to jore!

Joring means driving.
However for those in the sport it is referred to as "Mushing" rather than just "joring".
Joring is however a pulling sport, their is Urban Mushing (done in town), skijoring (pulled on ski's), roller blade joring (pulled on roller blades), bikejoring, Cani Cross, and Dryland.
"Leadville Skijoring" Kaila Angello - Photographer Kaila Angello

It's a sport that has been evolving across the world, involving horses, dogs, and even cars!

Many in the dog world use mushing sports as a form of exercise, mushers in particular use skijoring during the non-snow months to keep their dogs in shape and practicing as a team so that they don't get rusty. For skijoring the cross country skier provides power with their legs and ski poles, with the dog providing additional power with the pull. This is not you just standing being pulled! You are working as a team with your dog.

Photo Attribution: PhotoBobil via Flickr

Mushing is an awesome way to keep your dog in shape! It's both a cardiovascular and muscular workout for your dog - very heavy on both, and it builds a very powerful dog if you stick with it.

Mushing Facts:
  • When mushing (joring) with dogs; typically 1 - 3 dogs are used.
  • When mushing the rider calls out voice commands, no other reigns or signals are used. The dog's love to run, drive to work, and bond with you are the driving forces behind a successful mushing experience.
Teaching Urban Mushing:

It's easy to get started in a mushing sport if you have a dog who loves to pull. When we first adopted Dante he pulled really bad! Before you ask your dog to pull we believe it is important for your dog to know how to walk. A strong bond between you and your dog are the keys to success. Your dog needs to be able to take verbal instruction and follow through with those commands.

Many people prefer to use musher commands:
Gee - right turn
Haw - left turn
Line Out - Command to the lead dog to pull the team straight
On By! - Ignore what you see, passing command
Mush! Hike! Let's Go! - Command to start
Whoa! - Stop

Really though you can teach your dog any term so long as you yourself are consistent with what those terms mean. However it is important that you use short words with few syllables so that you can be fast in calling out commands. 

Personally we use with our dogs:
Right - turn right
Left - turn left
Up - command to go on top of sidewalk
Down - off of sidewalk
Leave it - ignore what you see
Go! Go! - command to start
Whoa/Easy - slow down
Stop - stop command

Once your dog has mastered the walk, you can start training. Dogs can easily distinguish behaviors from tools, for Dante neck pressure means stop, harness pressure means pull. Many dogs naturally pull so this was a fairly easy step to connect, and since Dante already loved to pull he was very excited to discover he had permission!

Disclaimer - We were totally new to urban mushing and still are, we are learning as we  go through different online communities. In our area their are no groups for us to meet up with so we have to learn on our own. 
Please be careful when training: Pick safe areas to practice and know how to use your equipment properly to avoid injury for both yourself and your dog.

My husband loves to roller blade (Me? I'm not very good at it..) he can do fancy footwork and stop on the fly. So he decided to urban mush with Dante using roller blades - people also use skateboards, bicycles, and kickbikes/scooters.

Not all harnesses are made equally! If you are going to mush with your dog you are going to need a proper harness. And even among the mushing/joring harnesses their are different designs for different purposes. Research your harness before you buy!

Protective gear for what you are joring on - Safety 1st!
  • Bike joring = helmet
  • Roller blades - knee/wrist pads, helmet
Lunge line & Leash for backup.

Step 1. 
Hook Dante up into his harness, initially the hubby used two lines: one on Dante's harness, the other for backup on Dante's neck collar. Dante's harness attaches close to the base of his tail, it is designed to lay flat across his back thus evenly distributing the pulling weight across his chest and shoulders.

Editors Note: Dogs should not run and mush on pavement. In some of the sites where I was researching, they said that in some cases you may need to do a short distance on pavement before reaching your destination but that the distance should be kept to less than a 1/4 of a mile because pavement offers no give which can damage your dogs pads more easily when pulling. In a nut shell, when you are training or conditioning your dog to run and pull with endurance you are damaging their joints in the long run when you run on pavement. If you train regularly you can wear down the pads on their feet, and rip/scuff toe nails. *For those who have a hard time finding a good dirt trail you can usually find a bike trail where your dogs can run in the grass while pulling you on the paved section.

Those sources are Here: - Suggestions for Beginning Mushers - Urban Mushing Let Me Talk You Out of It
Sled Dog Central - Running on Pavement

Step 2. Stops and Go's.
The hubby used the command, "Go! Go!" queuing Dante to start pulling.
At first Dante wasn't sure what to do so the hubby skated along and encouraged Dante to pick up the pace, once Dante started trotting he received tons of praise. During this time the hubby would say, "whoah" and jingle Dante's collar he'd then put on the brakes and physically slow Dante down, and then "stop", coming to a complete stop with Dante. Back and forth they practice, just stops and go's.
A few minutes later they were flying!

Step 3. Rights and Lefts
A great way to start with your turns is to walk or jog behind your dog, call the command and gently steer them in the beginning. Ultimately you will not be steering them as your training progresses.

In the hubby's case...I'm sure other people have their own techniques. The hubby would call a command, and from behind Dante use the lines to gently (don't yank your dog while they are running!) steer Dante in the proper direction as the command was called.

Other things to keep in mind:
  • Practice, practice! It's fun and great exercise! 
  • As you are training your dog keep in mind that you need to slowly build up their endurance. Don't go train everyday! Just like a human athlete your dog needs breaks to recover from a hard workout. 
  • Pay close attention to the pads of their feet, before and after every training session. If you are out mushing for longer periods you will need to check them more frequently.
  • Your dog is going to need lots of water! And potentially extra fuel after a hard workout. Dante typically eats an extra 1/2 cup of food after a day of urban mushing.
  • Puppies and any dog under 2 years of age should not pull! Pulling is a strain on your dog physically, if you start before your dog is done developing you run the risk of harming your dog's growth and potentially damaging their joints.
  • Your dog needs to be listening to you for safety reasons, "leave it", and "on by" must be respected or you could end up on a wild chase after a prey animal or clashing with another dog.
  • It's important that you are able to keep control of the situation: brakes for bikes or kick bikes, brakes on roller blades (if you know how to use them), double leash system in the beginning...etc. Do your research, know your dog and your equipment before starting.
Mushing sports are great for most dog breeds, typically 35+ pound dogs are the best when it comes to mushing. Any smaller and you run the risk of harming your dog physically.

Notice, Ziva is running but not actually part of the pulling yet. She's just training becuase right now she's still too young to actually pull. 

Have Fun! Mushing is addicting and creates a strong teamwork bond between you and your dog. Plus it's tons of fun! If you are part of the sport we'd love to hear from you! We're always open to learning new and better ways of doing things! 

We found an abandoned road to go urban mushing with the dogs, it's not very clean...lots of tree debris and roller blade wheel hazards, but it was fun!
A big problem that we have is that in our area it's hard to come by good trails for running the dogs on. The trails we have found are either straight up, straight down, or barely count as a trail - one person wide and no room to pass. We're still looking for our "perfect place".  :-)  Snow season will definitely help create for us more room to run!

A great resource shared to me is "Dog Scooter" By Daphne Lewis. I just ordered it online! Can't wait to read it!

Barksandbytes150, Thankful Thursday Weekly Blog Hop, pet centric

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Non-Reactive Dog vs. Dumb Ass Dog Owners

You're One Lucky Dog!

Welcome to this weeks Hop - Tales of Dumb Ass Dog Owners (DADO) blog hop, hosted by Tales from the Backroad & Heart Like a Dog.

Now normally when I talk about jerk owners or DADO's for the purpose of this post I reference my little gal Ziva. She's not aggressive - she's sensitive about how she is approached by other dogs.
Well for this hop I think the best stories come from my experience with Dante. Dante is my golden child, he's extremely confident, accepts our direction, he's gentle with children, the one who is great in all situations and a friend to all human's and dogs alike! Not even the slightest bit reactive towards ill mannered dogs - unless you try to bite mom..but that's another story.

Here's my 1st DADO:

The Setup -

Their is a large field close to my house (very close as in two houses down), this is a privately owned field owned by a church. This church allows neighbors to bring their dogs to play off leash, they do ask that you clean up after your dog. Unfortunately most people do not, this is my first example of Dumb-Assery - these people are trying to ruin our field usage! So we typically bring an extra bag or two and pick up any poop we see left behind.

About a year ago, before we had Ziva I had taken Dante to the field to play as per our usual routine.
He has really great recall so I trust him off-leash (it can always be better though so we practice regularly!) In the field I have a spot I like to stand that visually allows me to see down the street both directions if anyone or any dog is coming to join us. And it's not a busy field so we are usually alone which is nice. Well while we were playing this old many entered the field at the far end, I took note and watched him but his dog was on leash and Dante noticed but was more interested in playing with me than caring about the other dog.

This particular dog was a small yappy creature, the whole time the man walked she just barked her silly head off in our general direction and strained at the end of the leash. The stupid old man just ignored the behavior! So I just made sure he had tons of space and stayed on his side of the field. So far so good!

Now for the DADO - 
This moron, who had in fact seen us. Let his yappy dog off of her leash, regardless of the fact that she hadn't stopped barking at us or lunging in our general direction! I bet you can guess where this goes.
Yup! She headed straight for us! A direct beeline across the field as fast as her tiny legs could carry her, barking her head off and snarling the whole time.

Thankfully I was on top of it. I called in Dante turned to face the little terror, and placed him in a "Sit/Stay" between my front feet with both hands on his collar (his leash was just out of reach with how fast the tiny dog was coming). When she got within range I yelled a very loud an authoritative, "NO!" her response was to circle us once, aimed a kick at her but didn't connect, and then she picked a spot about 10 feet from us barking, snarling, and staring us down while her owner rushed in a slow old man way to come retrieve her.

And oh boy, did he get it from me! I scolded him profusely about having an aggressive dog off leash, his lack of recall, lack of situational awareness, lack of caring about the safety of others, lack of caring about the safety of his dog..and then launched into him some more about how Dante could have potentially killed his dog if she had attacked us! Dante is not aggressive but he won't stand around to get bitten either and she was way smaller than him! You are one lucky man that my Dante didn't eat up your yapper!

He was very apologetic, we ended up having a good conversation with myself using Dante as an example of a "good off-leash" dog.  Who I am proud to say, remained calm and under control the whole time.

I'd like to think he left us and never repeated the error but I tend to err on the side of people remaining stupid as opposed to learning from their mistakes.

Awww...look at his sweet face! Dante wishes everyone could just behave.

DADO #2:

This DADO story I actually learned something new. In this instance I was walking Dante and Tex-Anna our former foster. Their was a woman we always avoided like the plague - she was handicapped and in a wheel chair with a completely out of control aggressive black lab. This lab liked to lunge, bark, and snarl at us while she gently talked to the dog telling her "It's ok, I'm ok, good girl." Which to her dog means; keep barking, keep snarling, keep lunging, protect me from all other dog walkers.

On this particular day Dante, Tex-Anna and I were walking home. This particular route has one way to get home for us, down a narrow ally unless we walk 3+ miles out of our way to a connecting street. As we approached the ally entrance the lady and the lab came out of the Ally and were on the path right in front of us.
So I moved off the path giving her plenty of room to pass.

Her response?
To stop, look at me and tell me to pass.
No way! Are you nuts?! We are not passing your lunging, snarling and quite large black lab. Nope. You pass us.    Of course I was more polite than that.

Too make matters more complicated, enter in a 4th dog! A lady with a German Short Hair Pointer came up behind me and stopped, also needed to go towards the direction of my home, which is down the ally being blocked by the lab.

Well at this point the lab was practically frothing at the mouth, completely overwhelmed with 3 dogs staring her down - all sitting nicely I might add! Turns out the Pointer was a highly trained bird hunting dog.

Can you guess what happens next?

The lab busts loose, and in her hurry she managed to tip over and dump her handicapped owner. Is it wrong to call that karma?

The lady with the Pointer stepped in front of her dog to intercept, just as I did the same thing. Unfortunately Tex-Anna is a meet and greet type dog so she went in to say, "hi" and went around me. I then stepped on her leash, barked out a quick, "Sit!" to my dogs, said, "Here!" handed Dante's leash the the Pointer Lady, took several quick steps forward and grabbed the lab's leash that was dragging on the ground.

AGAIN - hindsight being hindsight, I imagine that could have turned out bad for me. I had Tex-Anna by one leash held at arms length, a confused lab in my other hand, and Dante not really understanding what was going on - being held by a stranger. But at the same time I don't know that their was any other way to have handled this, I at least had control of the perceived aggressor.

A quick assessment made me realize the lab was reactive when her owner had her, but not actually aggressive while I was holding her. Tex-Anna had a nice meet/greet so I asked the Pointer lady if she wanted to help the DODA who was still on the ground and completely embarrassed. And told her, "I got this if you want to hand me your dog and mine back."

Now I was holding 4 dogs, all being really nice! Hooray! Crisis averted! The DODA was helped up, we made sure she was ok, and then the Pointer lady left with her dog. I stuck around holding the lab for a while because the woman was pretty shook up. During this time I talked to her about her dog's bad behavior. I offered to work with her and her dog she seemed to like the idea but she never did take me up on it.

As for the regular walks? We stopped seeing her out with her lab, and eventually she moved.

Again I'd like to think that her experience of being dumped by her dog taught her a positive lesson, but I won't hold my breath.

Way to be a great breed ambassador! My golden boy Dante!
If you're a blogger, please join the list and get it out!  If you don't blog, please feel free to leave your story of dumb-assery, tips you suggest in dealing with DADO's, and if you've been one how you changed.     We love to hear from you!

Part 2 of Dumb Ass Dog Owners HERE

Badge courtesy of Mary from Tales from the Backroad

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