Check Out This Weeks Featured Post! :

Flashy Friday Week 2!

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

Friday, January 30, 2015

2 Days Left!

The Contest Ends in 2 Days!

I hope you've gotten your pictures submitted!
If not then you had better get to it! We're doing a giveaway for a $25 gift certificate to the Paw Street Barkery, they have a lovely assortment of all natural, organic dog treats, mad from human grade ingredients. To Enter Click HERE!

In the mean time, it's almost Super Bowl Sunday! 
Better get out and practice your skills for the big game!

Happy Fit Dog Friday!

Here are some fun pictures of yesterday's shenanigans!

Dante thinks he could be a good running back, what do you think?

FitDog Friday

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Meet Robin

Robin - 
Let The Adventure Begin!

Meet Robin!
We're currently in the process of helping friends of ours with their newly adopted girl!
You wouldn't know if from this picture but she is a very shy girl lacking in self confidence. Sound familiar? It should. We went through a lot of confidence building with Ziva.

Friends of ours recently adopted this 2 year old beautiful bully babe after the passing of their beloved senior dog named Moxon. Robin is what is called an "American Bully" she's short with a dense bone structure and lots of muscle, the American Bullies have more Bulldog than Terrier in their line. Just to give you perspective - Dante is quite a bit taller than her and he weighs 75 pounds, Robin although shorter weighs closer to 85/90 pounds.

Isn't she beautiful! She has very striking lightly colored eyes.

Unfortunately the past has not been kind to Robin, she was abused, bred, and dumped along with her litter of four puppies - two of which died from heatstroke thanks to her awful previous owners. Thankfully she was found by a rescue and didn't end up in an animal shelter, but on the downside the so called "rescue" didn't do her any good. In fact from what we can tell they didn't do anything with her at all except keep her outside and segregated from the other dogs. She has unknown health issues, allergies, however she is quite the lover when it comes to her new family and furry brother.

She's a real diamond in the ruff! 
Robin does not have any food aggression/resource guarding issues, she is not protective of her toys, she has a very gently mouth and takes treats from the kids, she also allows you to take treats away from her. 
Other awesome things about her; she loves kids and immediately bonded with her new mommy, the children, and their other senior dog named Tweeter. She's a bit suspicious of her new daddy but she's warming up to him. Using lots of positive reinforcement training, treats, patience, baby steps, and love she is slowly coming out of her shell!

Meeting Robin
Two weeks ago was our first real experience working with Robin.
It was raining extremely hard so unfortunately walking/training in the rain was not an option because she was be too cold and it was too wet to make any forward progress. We ended up having to take it indoors.

The first step we are working on is building up her trust, she trusts her new mommy the most but needs to learn to accept and trust her new dad. We also want to give her a safe place to retreat to should she become overwhelmed by 4 kids who get kind of crazy at times. She also apparently has a taste for children's shoes....

First thing we did was teach her new parents how to introduce a clicker. *click, treat. *click, treat.
We want her to associate the click with a reward, and the reward with her dad. Being associated with treats means that he gets to be the lucky one on the other end of her massive amounts of drool.

At first she only wanted to sit on her bed. She put her body as far away from her dad as she could get and gave him the cold shoulder. Through a bunch of coaxing we were able to get her to take a treat from him.

**An important thing to remember is that your treats have got to match the situation, if you have a confident dog like Dante and you ask for an easy thing like a sit then a kibble will do just fine. If however you are training in a very stimulating/distracting environment or are asking for a more difficult behavior then you need a higher value treat.**

For Robin we were using cooked chicken hearts and cheese - her dream, and you could tell she really, really, really wanted those treats because she had lovely drool bubbles forming and her mouth was starting to water like the doggy version of Niagara falls!
Ever so slowly Robin's body language began to relax and she started getting closer and closer to her daddy, taking treats very gently and allowing him to pet her without retreating back to her corner. 
She also responded very positively to the clicker.
Every time she moved closer, even if it was only an inch: *click, treat.
And if she retreated we just waited her out until her desire to have the treat overpowered her discomfort. And then again, for every gain in her coming closer, *click, treat.

Never force a dog. In order to build trust we have to move at her pace, you can't force love upon a dog - she will come around if you give her time and respect her when she asks for space.
If you try to force a dog you can easily cause a bite and it would be your fault. Dogs just like humans and any other animal, give signals. Withdrawing, turning away, shrinking (trying to be small or blend in with the wall), "whale eyes", and hunching are all signs that the dog is not comfortable with the situation and you need to give them space.

Not wanting to overwhelm her we asked how the crate introduction was going - How To Crate Train a Dog. And it's going pretty good! If she get's overwhelmed she runs inside which is just what we wanted - a place for her to retreat to where she feels safe. Again: no forcing was involved. Coaxing, treats, and praise helped her learn to enjoy the crate.

Last Week
Last week we had a minor incident involving the kids letting Robin out of the house on accident while I was walking Dante and Ziva.
No one was hurt but it was a good learning experience. A number of things went wrong in our situation, Robin loves her family and the kids were outside, we were in front of the house - a person she's only met a couple times with two strange dogs. She rushed over to check us out and Ziva responded because she doesn't like being ran up on, Dante then responded to Ziva's angst and I was caught in the middle with an off-leash dog and two leashed dogs.  Robin wasn't snarling or growling, she came fast but her body language wasn't aggressive, no hackles, just fast.
I relaxed the leashes to send calming vibes to Dante and Ziva but it was too late. Thankfully Robin's mom was right there and although some noise was involved (I think my dogs) no one was bitten, just a lot of doggy warning signals were going around.

Due to this we decided that our next session would be a doggy introduction with Dante since he's more easy going with other dogs than Ziva.

Step 1: EXERCISE!  A tired dog is easier to work with.

Last weekend after exercising both Dante and Robin it was time for them to meet.

We started out with Robin and her dad walking down one side of the street while Dante and the hubby passed by on the opposite side.
Using treats we were asking Robin to ignore Dante, rewarding her for positive eye contact on her dad and not pulling, while continuing to walk/ignoring her when she had a couple minor outburst's in Dante's general direction. I think the outbursts were just part of her memory of their last encounter.
After maybe two outbursts she settled into an uneasy walk.

Over the course of maybe 45 min the hubby and Dante continued working their way closer to Robin and her dad as they continued walking up and down the street. Pretty soon both guys were walking on the inside with Robin and Dante on the outside. Robin continued to relax and pretty soon the hubby moved Dante alongside Robin, not yet allowing for introductions. We didn't want to overwhelm her because Dante can be enthusiastic at times when meeting new friends.

She did great! Now they could meet.

Robin & Dante!  She didn't quite know what to do with a tug toy, Dante with have to teach her!
Keeping leashes nice and loose they allowed the dogs to sniff, you don't want to apply tension to the leash or you could set off a nervous dog. You also have to trust the dogs, if you are nervous they wonder why and in turn look for the cause of your nervousness. You want to watch the body language, any tension and you gently back off until the tension is gone. Hackles are a sign of being unsure of a situation, it doesn't necessarily mean that a dog will bite but you do need to be careful, as hackles go up you need to back off and give space then work your way closer again.

We asked Dante to stay away from her face - she clearly didn't like it. As we moved Dante away Robin became curious and started to sniff him, this is a great sign!
After sniffing was done they did some more walking, by this point Dante was getting bored...I mean seriously how many times do we have to go up/down the same street!?  As many times as it takes.
Robin was comfortable in the surroundings and so we stayed.

Another important thing is to switch handlers. Different handlers can impart different feelings to the dog. Robin's mom means excitement to Robin, she loves her new mommy and turned into a wiggle butt as soon as her mom entered the picture. Her mom then got to walk her with Dante to see if she made Robin nervous or tense and to practice what she'd been watching her husband do with Robin.

Walking together imparts a feeling of oneness, dogs in a pack travel together so that is what we did. And walking makes meeting another dog extremely easy.
After about an hour of walking and switching handlers/sides we stopped to visit and let the dogs just be in each others company. They did great! We had plenty of treats which is a necessity, and just kept rewarding calm relaxed behavior from each dog.

Good sniffs = reward, sitting nicely = reward, relaxed body language = get the picture.

In fact Robin even began to initiate play with Dante, by bouncing around and being silly.

Next step - play date!
In order to continue helping Robin socialize with other dogs our next meeting we're thinking should be a play date!

Please don't give up on your dogs, any dog can be rehabilitated and rescues can make for wonderful family members. We hope that through following Robin's journey to confidence you will be able to see how it is possible in your dog's life as well.

Dog training is a divided profession. This information is provided for informational and educational purposes only. Information on this site is not to be used as a substitute for a consultation with professionals such as veterinarians, professional dog trainers or animal behaviorists. DZ Dogs cannot be held responsible for any problems that may arise from the use of any information that can be found on this site.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Treat Giveaway!

Have you Heard of the 
Paw Street Barkery?

Paw Street Barkery crafts a beautiful selection of cookies, crumbles, and candy treats that are remarkably delicious... and your dogs will like them too.  This is the only time that I have ever looked at my dogs treats and had to sneak a bit for myself. Shhh...don't tell the dogs!  You may decide that the Peanut Butter Pup Cups are just too good to give to your pooch.  If you think I'm crazy, just wait until your delivery shows up on your doorstep.  YES, they ship.

They look fantastic, they're all natural, organic, and made with human grade, ingredients.  You can feel good about feeding your furbaby these treats.

"Ok mom, now hand over those goodies!"
We all know that you can't give your dog chocolate, so what are these yummy Pup Cups smothered in?  Carob! What is carob you ask? Carob is a chocolate replacement that is healthy for dogs! In small amounts of course. It is rich in vitamins A, B, B1, B2, B3, B6, and D, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and protein, and has a smooth chocolate texture and nutty chocolate flavor...I should know I snuck a bite! Yumm!

I think the Peanut Butter Pup Cups were the house favorite, hubby included. However both Dante and Ziva enjoyed chomping down on the Woofie Pies which are filled with a yogurt creme filling, and normally snobs to dry dog treats they also happily crunched the Blueberry Bona-anzas! In fact Dante loved them so much he was willing to do his tricks for them! "Rollover" by the way is normally reserved for cheese treats, he's our house treat snob so finding something he'll work for can be challenging.

And look at how pretty they are!

We were lucky enough to be contacted by the Pawstreet Barkery to do a review and giveaway. In return they sent us:
Whoofie Pies
Peanut Butter Pup Cups  &
Blueberry Bone-anza Gluten Free treats

Visit them at:

100% DZ Dogs Bully Breed Approved!
We loved them!

Everyone it seems like anyways, when they do a giveaway they use something like a Rafflecopter to do a random drawing and you end up putting "entries" into the drawing by signing up for different things related to the blog in question.
We decided to do something a little different, and just in time for Valentines Day so make sure you check out the Paw Street Barkery's fun Valentines boxed!

Contest Closed!
Thanks to those who entered!

Enter to win a $25 gift card to The Paw Street Barkery's online store! 
*One time use only, shipping not included, valid for U.S. customers only. Sorry to our out of Country readers!

Show us your beg face!!

"Nice touch on the drool Dante!"

After the giveaway we'll announce a winner and post pictures of the top 4 choices on our blog with links back to your pages if you have them!

Friday, January 23, 2015 - Is a Thief!


NOTICE: If this post appears anywhere other than
then be aware that it was illegally stolen. No permission is granted to copy any DZ Dog Adventure posts. This notice applies specifically to the site They absolutely do NOT have permission to use any of our photos or content.

It was brought to my attention that someone is stealing blog posts from myself and fellow pet bloggers. Upon looking into this issue the offending site seems to be coming from Egypt. I am currently in contact with a few other pet bloggers whose info was stolen and we are working hard to have this website dismantled.

Here is what you can do if your content is also being stolen.

The website is held through GoDaddy, they have a Legal Section with information for filing a copyright infringement.

You can also submit a DMCA notice through google and you can report the copyright infringement through Google HERE:

Here is what we did:

- Submit a legal request
- Choose blogger
- choose "issue not mentioned above"
- violates my copyright
- pick your infringment and then submit a form

For the form submission the top two boxes are about you, then you are supposed to input specific url's where your work was stolen from. I used the top box to show it on my page and then submitted the correlating stolen url in the submission box at the bottom. I ended up doing about 6 because so many of mine were stolen. And then in box #2 I described my blog and mentioned how many more of my posts were also stolen.

Ethics of Hiking with Dogs

Hiking With Dogs

I recently constructed a info graphic regarding the ethics of hiking with dogs. I am part of many different dog hiking and outdoor dog adventure groups, the biggest complaint that comes up over and over again is off-leash dogs.
Please leash up for the safety of others if not for your pup. 

Hiking Off-Leash
We understand the joy of having our dogs run free but not at the expense of their safety or the safety of other people, horseback riders, and other dogs. Ziva has excellent recall, want to know how I know?
I've been able to call her off of chasing a cat at a full on dead sprint when she was at least 100 yards away from me when she started and moving away even quicker. Our signal is I whistle (this signal means give me your attention a.k.a "look"), and then hollered out a very loud, "COME!" She promptly stopped, longingly watched the cat dash off to the safety of a blackberry bush, and then returned without another step in the wrong direction.
Dante? Not so good...he used to be but seems to be lazy recently so we're back to practicing.

When we allow our dogs off-leash while out hiking it is in an area where we can see people coming so that we have time to call in the dogs and leash up.

Going Off-Leash
  • Is it a busy area? Are their other hikers around?
  • Is it hunting season? Is your dog wearing any easily seen colors like orange?
  • Do you have a clear view of the trails or area? Will you be able to see people coming and have time to leash up?
  • Is your dog micro-chipped and wearing his identification should he happen to get lost?
  • WHO IS WATCHING YOUR DOG? Don't just assume your spouse, friend, or child is watching your dog. It only takes a second for a dog to disappear on some happy adventure!
  • Does your dog come when called? Even the best of recall dogs have their moments so practice and make sure you can get your dog's attention when you need to. Some trainers teach emergency words that are only used in an absolute emergency, that way the word doesn't become ruined like the word, "come" which tends to be abused and over used.

Why Leash Up?

Please be courteous to others.

Having worked through re-activity issues with Ziva I can personally tell you that you can undue months of HARD WORK and threshold training if your dog rushes up to greet. The only way to work on threshold training and increasing a reactive dogs' tolerance is for that dog to be around other dogs and not be approached. When working with Ziva we took every excuse possible to visit busy dog places like the pet store, local parks, and just walking around downtown - always on the lookout for off-leash dogs however.
It was extremely beneficial to just have her practice ignoring other dogs, even badly behaved dogs. One exercise we worked up to (please don't just jump into this if you have a re-active dog!) was being near a dog that was, for lack of a better word...going crazy, barking, jumping, lunging, you name it. We'd stop, recognize the threat/dog, analyze the situation, and if we deemed it safe we would slowly bring Ziva towards the dog. If she reacted we'd back up until we had her attention again. The goal of this game was for her to keep her attention on us and not pay any attention to the other dog. This is an example of threshold training - we were slowly building up her threshold.

However during this time it is important that you have your pups trust. Ziva trusted myself and the hubby to handle the situation, and we were careful to always set her up for success. Sometimes we'd get within 10-20 feet from a barking dog behind a fence. Sometimes 100 feet or more was needed for Ziva to be comfortable and able to ignore the other dog.

If however rushed, we can't control the situation as well. I mean think about it from Ziva's stand point: A dog is running up to greet her. She immediately sees a threat to her personal safety so the brain kicks in and says, "Fight or Flight!" Being on a leash, and not naturally a scaredy cat...She stands her ground.
First her hackles raise and lips curl. Second stage she begins growling. If the threat continues she starts snarling loudly and lunging.
Now you try to hold back a nearly 50 pound little gal who is all muscle and knows how to use her weight.

Way to go dumb as dog owner for letting your dog be off-leash, you just ruined our walk and destroyed all the threshold training we've been working on.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dog Tired

NOTICE: If this post appears anywhere other than
then be aware that it was illegally stolen. No permission is granted to copy any DZ Dog Adventure posts. This notice applies specifically to the site They absolutely do NOT have permission to use any of our photos or content.

Dog Tired...Literally.

Yesterday was Dante & Ziva's second full day at daycare...
The result?

Well what do you think?  I would call that dog tired!
We are happy to announce daycare is going great! Dante is making friends but loves to follow around the trainers, and Ziva has turned into, "everybody's friend" according to the handler. Hooray!, Thankful Thursday Weekly Blog Hop, pet centric

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Agility Part 1 - Tunnels and Circles

The Value of High Value Treats

Agility Continued:
Part 2
Part 3

This whole adventure started with a fear reactive puppy, it's been a long road but we've learned a lot and Ziva is now a different dog today than when we first adopted her.

When we first adopted Ziva she was very sweet but very shy, our first walk with her she showed a lot of promise, she was really jumpy around loud noises on our walk - doors shutting, cars, kids, basketballs...but with the hubby's confidence on on the other end of the leash she was able to settle down and relax a little bit.

Out practicing our agility homework.
I don't think her rescuers would recognize the confident muscular female that now likes to trot around and greet people! Fireworks? No problem. Gunshots? Whatever. Car doors and kids running in front of our house illicit a low growl as she stalks towards the door to make sure that we are notified of the activity.

I was really excited to start agility, which was the whole point in doing the obedience and shaping classes in the first place. Our ultimate goal of agility was to help with confidence boosting in Ziva.

Well day 1 of agility was awesome! I was thrilled to see my trainer because we continued to make improvements during the holiday break and I wanted to share my excitement about Ziva's success in daycare! Woo Hoo! Good girl! My trainer has seen Ziva's snarky reactive side, and was a great help to us in fortifying what we had already thought - she was never aggressive she just didn't like rude dogs. She had plenty of doggy friends who belonged to family but strange dogs with rude introductions made her nervous.

First day of agility we weren't very well prepared, for some reason I was thinking an indoor agility course.
Well it was indoors - but in a horse arena so it was also outdoors, very cold, and not temperature regulated. Brrrr....first lesson was in freezing temperatures so in between our turns Ziva waited in the car because we hadn't brought her jacket. Now we know better.

Until our trainer is convinced that everyone can keep their dogs under control and next to their handler she is having us rotate turns inside the arena. So while one team is working, the next team is waiting at the entrance gate, then when team one exits - team two may enter.

Tunnels & Treats
First thing we were introduced to was tunnels, thank goodness the tunnel is expandable/collapsible and can be adjusted in length.
Ziva wanted nothing to do with the tunnel, "No way mom, too scary!". Our trainer lightly held her collar on one end while I attempted to call her through with treats. I was smart and brought both high value treats which for Ziva are chicken hearts, and cheese cubes. But I also brought an ace up my sleeve.
Well the treats weren't working, so out popped the tennis ball!
Ziva's Achilles heel is her tennis ball, I can get her to do pretty much anything if she knows she is going to get that ball at the end.

And sure enough, BOOM through the tunnel she went! The tennis ball is also great because she moves really fast and I can toss the ball to teach her to accelerate through the obstacles. The only challenge is that once the ball is out their is no going back unless we take a solid break.
Everything else is lost, she doesn't care about food or other treats as long as she knows the ball is around.
After that the tunnel wasn't so scary.

Border Collies & Aussies
We are not the only pibble team in class! Granted their are only two of us, but I think that's really awesome! However the other teams are: One golden retriever team, a couple border collies and a few australian shepherds. Those herding dogs are just a whole other level of smart and crazy rolled into one. I've had two different border collies in my past both of which we very different from each other but I had forgotten how much different they are to bully breeds.
The focus and drive is different, herding dogs naturally think outside the box whereas we've had to teach through shaping Ziva to think outside the box.
Herding dogs also excel at solving problems and being creative. Not to say bullies don't do either of these things - its just different.

Circle Time!
We then learned how to run a tight circle around an obstacle, I say "we" but really I mean: how I learned to signal her to run a tight circle around an obstacle. This one wasn't too hard, we started off by luring her around and then I would toss the ball as a reward a couple feet in front of her.
The goal is similar to that of barrel racing, the dog is supposed to take a very tight circle around the obstacle and then accelerate out of the turn. The end goal is that I can signal her from a distance and she'll know what to do.

Again we used the ball and she did great! I was a goof the first successful time around though and out of pure habit hucked the ball with such force and enthusiasm that she sprinted off way down the arena to fetch it back.  Hahaha! Ooops.

After playing in the arena a bit we were instructed on how to run circle with our dogs and were sent home with some homework that she promised we'd be tested on.

I call them our "Silly Circles".

I am supposed to signal Ziva to either my left or right side, she is then supposed to stay on THAT side while we run a circle both counter and clockwise. We should be able to do both directions on each of my sides without her crossing in front of or behind me - OFF LEASH. On a good note she does great off-leash. She knows a proper heel position and stays right where I ask her, but she is more comfortable walking on my left side.

Right vs. Left Side
When walking both dogs we initially trained them to opposite sides, Dante we started on the right with him because when we adopted him he was very reactive (not the same thing as aggressive) towards bicycles and skateboards. By walking him on the bike paths on my right side I was able to be the first point of contact; all the bicycles and such had to pass next to me not him. This worked great because to get at the object that he wanted to eat he'd have to cross me. It didn't take too long to desensitize him towards the bikes and skateboards.

But this meant that when we adopted Ziva I would walk Dante on the right (just out of habit), and Ziva on the left.

On a good note I knew we needed to work on this so before agility started I began introducing the dogs to walking on the same side of my choice, together. Switching it up was a bit confusing for them at first but they are getting it!

Our second class should be a breeze, we've been practicing and so far Ziva is a natural!
She gives great eye contact stays right beside me off-leash, recalls really well, she also tunnels and circles like a champ!

"Anything you say mom, just hand over that ball!"

The key to success?  A high value treat.

In our case, nothing is of higher value than a tennis ball.

Thanks to her obsession we were able to use positive training techniques to teach her to give us her intense focus, not the ball - because if she focuses on us we will give it to her.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Rain or Shine Dogs Must Play!

I'm happy to announce day 2 of doggy daycare was a complete success!!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Playing With the Big Kids

Can a Previously Reactive Dog do 
Doggy Daycare?

Depends on you. Yes you. Take a good look in the mirror and let's be honest. How much work have you done with your dog? Have you worked on threshold training? Do you train and exercise regularly? Have you worked on socializing and desensitizing your dog towards other dogs?

Lets look at Ziva. When we first adopted Ziva she was living with a rescue and a large group of other bully breeds, sometime in between the rescue and living with us she developed a fear aggression towards other dogs that was downright frustrating for me personally.  My Reactive Dog (How we dealt with Fear Aggression and Dog Reactivity with Ziva.)  

 I don't want people to see a crazy bugged out snarling "pit bull" puppy when we're out walking - feeding into stereotypes is not what we are all about. We want people to see our lovely little princess who plays with children and snuggles on the couch.

Well today I can say our hard work has paid off!!

For our new readers - this is my last year in college, I graduate this June 2015 Hooray!! But with this last year has come some new challenges, we work hard to make sure Dante and Ziva aren't left home alone for more than 6 hours.

In the past if we needed help or someone to just let the dogs out to potty our neighbor was able to bail us out but we almost never needed help. Well this year I have less options of class times due to my senior status, if I need the class to graduate I have to take it.

Fall term we were able to juggle work, school, and dogs but we quickly realized that at least one of my upcoming terms we would need either a sitter, dog walker, or daycare. Our biggest issue with daycare of course being Ziva.

In September I researched, and found a wonderful doggy daycare. After interviewing them and walking through the facility I realized that if at all possible we wanted to do daycare due to the benefits of social time and play. It would be way more fun for our pups to spend all day with dogs than in a house by themselves waiting for a dog walker to relieve them.

What I Looked for in a Daycare:
  • Cleanliness - does it smell of dog? Urine? How often do they disinfect? Where do dogs do their "business?"
  • Are their breed or size restrictions?
  • How much experience do the handlers have?
  • What is the discipline philosophy? Training philosophy?
  • How many handlers are on the floor?
  • How many dogs are there?
  • Dog Health Considerations
I walked through the whole daycare, and spoke with the manager regarding my concerns (this was back in September). We ended up not signing up for daycare because I didn't think Ziva was ready.
    • We then enrolled her into doggy classes to get her started in agility, the goal being to continue desensitizing her in a safe environment while increasing her self esteem and confidence around other dogs.Training Through Shaping.
Doggy Daycare:
  • Due to my school/work schedule (hubby gets home too late to help with this problem) we signed up for daycare this term because we needed the help.
  • Our daycare requires proof of current vaccinations, as well as a current fecal test.
    • The bordatello vaccination needs to be renewed every 6 months for daycare.
  • Our daycare does not separate dogs by size or breed, Ziva has had issues with tiny dogs - this is a great way for her to be around and learn to accept dogs of all sizes! 
  • Their are 2-3 trainers with about 15-20 dogs, the dogs are kept mostly indoors but their is a large garage style door that opens up to a securely fenced outdoor area for play/potty outside. 
    • Inside the daycare area it is wide and open, the floor is made up of a thick black mat for easy cleanup, it also helps with traction to prevent injury (they dogs can't slide on this floor), it is also more comfy to lay on than concrete would be.
    • During the warmer months a pool is placed outside for the dogs to play in.
  • Their are no toys but their is a play set for the dogs, they daycare does not use toys or treats because they want the dogs to interact and be social - they also want to prevent any potential problems such as possessive behaviors.
    • The work with the dogs using lots of praise, but just in case they have spray bottles to break up any issues if their happens to be one.
  • I can watch my pups on a live webcam!
  • Their is a lineup of crates - if a dog becomes too excited, nervous, or just needs to calm down the crates are used as a sort of "time out". They are never in for long, just a few minutes, but it gives them a chance to relax. For nervous dogs they place a blanket over the crate to create a dark safe place for the dog inside.
  • All the trainers carry a slip lead to quickly and easily separate dogs if needed or to remove a dog that is playing to rough from the group. Sometimes all they do is loop the dog and walk him away to cool off next to the trainer before being released.
I have to admit it I was a bit nervous dropping the pups off this morning! For the first day of daycare they only do a half day - and they have to be the first dogs there so that it isn't as overwhelming. On their second visit they may be checked in during regular times.

Ziva did it! 

Dante and Ziva were the first dogs there.
Look at her! She's surrounded and doing great!
There she is in the middle getting some love!
The Great Pyrenees was her buddy!
Can't forget about Dante! He had fun too!
Way to go puppy! The power of the pack will finish building up her self confidence, especially since we're also doing agility starting this month!

We are participating in Awww Monday's hosted by Comedy Plus, and Mischief Monday hosted by Alfies Blog, Snoopy's Dog Blog, and My Brown Newfies.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Pet Blogger Challenge 2015

Let The Challenge Begin!

I'm only 6 months into this big brand new world of blogging. What a wonderful trip it has been so far! Go Pet Friendly is hosting a Pet Blogger Challenge, and here it is! I hope you learn something fun about us and follow our adventures this upcoming 2015!

pet bloggers challenge

1. How Long have you been blogging? 

I've been blogging since June of 2014 so only 6 months now! DZ Dog Adventures is about promoting healthy living with dogs - "An Exercised Dog is a Happy Dog", we support positive pet training techniques, healthy eating - including food and treats, and encourage others to continually be learning and improving their relationships with their pets.

We're committed to being responsible dog owners and busting myths about bully breeds. In our blog, we post training tips, techniques, homemade treat recipes, gear reviews because we love being outside and we catalog all of our fun adventures including: hiking, mushing, snow shoeing, trail running, camping, and soon to come agility with Ziva!

Dante snowshoeing with us last season.

2. Tell us one thing that you accomplished on your blog during 2014 that made you proud.

One thing that is really important to us is proper gear. Having bully breeds, we have learned that their muscular bodies, deep chests, and short hair can make finding the right gear a challenge. Our outdoor adventures led us to begin doing gear reviews to try and help other bully owners find good gear for their dogs that will hold up to the wear and tear of an adventure without harming the dogs.

I'm very proud of the fact that our Reviews led us to be noticed by Ruffwear - we received a thank you gift from them for posting our Jacket and Shoe Reviews of their products. We also made a new friend in GroundBird Gear who gifted us an amazing custom fit doggy backpack after learning that Dante's REI pack cut his under his leg and across his chest, this review in fact is still my all-time most viewed post! What a great accomplishment!

Thank you Groundbird Gear!

3. What lessons have you learned this year - that could help us all with our own blogs?

Just keep posting, people want to read not only about your dogs but about you! Be real with your readers regarding your struggles, and success in training and life. You never know when another person needs that encouragement - a lot of people struggle with the same things, or if another blogger maybe has an ingenious way of solving a problem that maybe you never thought of.
But most of all, never give up on your dogs. Training involves your dedication and commitment, but together you and your pup can accomplish great things.
My biggest complaint with dog owners are those who complain about a behavior and yet don't go out of their way to learn and correct said behavior.

4. What have you found to be the most successful way to bring traffic to your blog?

I have learned that in order to gain fans and followers you need to be active! This means commenting on other blogs, responding to comments on your blog, participating in Google Plus Communities, Blog Hops, Facebook, and if you are really into it...Twitter and Instagram!
My biggest traffic sources are Google Plus and Facebook. Hashtags - if you don't know how to use them then you better learn! And good descriptive titles help people find your articles.

5. What was your most popular blog post this year? Did it surprise you?

My Top Posts:
  1. Groundbird Gear ~ Dog Backpack
  2. History of Bully Breeds - American Pit Bull Terrier Origins
  3. Giardia in Dogs
  4. Coconut Oil for Dogs
  5. Happy Thanksgiving

I love that my Groundbird post and Bully History made top 2, my giardia post is a great informative article regarding what giardia is, how to contract it, and how to avoid it - this particular post has stayed strong up in my top 3 for many months.
But most surprising was my Happy Thanksgiving post! It's just a sweet post regarding what I am thankful for, and some beautiful shots of the pups.

6. What was your favorite blog post to write this year?
This one is hard for me...we loved visiting Florida and meeting up with Walks With Rama. And doing the Groundbird Review previously mentioned.

I think my favorite though would have to be my trip up the South Sister in Oregon with Dante. This post was soo big I had to do it in two parts! South Sister, Oregon part I - False Summit & South Sister, Oregon part II - True Summit.

I love hiking but had never hiked anything of this magnitude, it was 12.1 miles round trip the terrain was grueling, and the elevation definitely made a difference. But we stuck it out and made it to the top! Dante was a champ of course, he met a lot of wonderful people along the way and made me a very proud mama when we encountered a few rather unfriendly dogs. At the end we were tired and beat up, but it was worth it! And next year we're planning on conquering the neighbor mountain, Broken Top and making it a family trip by bringing the hubby and Ziva along.
South Sister from a distance.
On the Summit.
7. Has your policy on product reviews and/or giveaways changed this year? If you do reviews, what do you find works best, and what doesn't work at all?

DZ Dog's will only do reviews for products that interest us and fit what our  blog is about. I think the key to doing reviews is networking, this is still something new to us. But what has seemed to work is - we buy something we want to try, and then right up a honest review of that product. Our honest review includes what we liked, what worked, what didn't work, and what we would like to see done differently. And if ever asked to do a review, we always jump at the chance.

I think one thing companies like to see is an active blog, that is well written and has interactive followers. Preferably this blog is easy to navigate, easy to find topics and search, and has a comfortable layout. If you have suggestions that'll help us do more reviews let me know!

8. What's your best piece of advice for other bloggers?

Show your heart! And write because you love it. We tried the Google Ads for a while but I realized that it just cluttered up my blog and took away the real-ness. I don't want people to think this is done for profit - it isn't I also work, this blog is just my hobby.

I want to be pretty open about how we are training our pups and the things we change as we learn through trial and error. We are much different pet parents now versus when we first adopted Dante. Sometimes you have to admit to a mistake in training, or let your followers know your struggles. For example: Ziva has had problems with fear re-activity regarding other dogs. It has improved! Hooray! But we have also in the past experienced difficulties, this has led us to try different things and now we're beginning agility in order to keep up all the forward progress we've made! But also - don't be embarrassed to ask for help or suggestions, chances are other people are either currently also struggling or have dealt with that issue and succeeded in the past!

Ziva - my good girl
9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2015?

I want to just keep writing loyally! More specifically though I want to do a detailed catalog of Ziva's agility progress and training tips. I would also love to do more treat/gear reviews, and post more of my homemade dog treat recipes - something I've been putting off.
For 2015 we also plan on hosting some giveaways and trying to build up a larger blog following.

10. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you're having with your blog, what would it be?

How do you get more comments? If I had one comment per page view I would be doing great! I love getting feedback from followers.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Dog's vs. Children

Dog's vs. Children

Back when I was dating the question was, "So when do you think you'll get married?" Once I was engaged everyone was trying to slow us down because "We hadn't known each other for long enough." And then this same crowd turned right around after we were married and the new question became, "So when are you having kids?" AUGH! I guess I'll never understand people...

Well hate to break it to ya, but we have four. 

Merlot - 5 years

Merlot's ambition is to someday rule the world! He is often found perched on various different things he has deemed to be thrones.

Belle (Think Beauty & The Beast) - 4 years

Belle is a chatter box who loves to be the center of attention. She's a total drama queen and loves to sleep under the blankets with me.

Dante 2 years & Ziva 1.5 years 

If you were to compare the hubby and myself I would say I'm the stricter parent, but really we both have high expectations from our furry kids *cough... dogs, I've given up trying to train the cats.

Now don't jump all over me, when I say these guys are our kids I mean it! What really is the difference? We know that they are dogs, but they are more than just dogs - they are family.
I worry about them when i'm gone, and I fuss over them whenever I have to leave them with a friend or family member.

Kids & Dogs are Constantly Wearing Out their Clothing.

Thank goodness for the great coats we purchased from Ruffwear! Just like kids my dogs get their clothes really dirty even after being outside for just 5 min! They rip holes in items that aren't tough enough, the roll in their clothes, sit in the dirt, and grab a hold of each other's clothing during play even though they aren't supposed to and whoops! A rip for mom to fix...

Traveling Out of Town with Kids can be Challenging -
  • Parents bring their children on trips usually if they can, and adjust accordingly. Beach? Better find a place where you can clean up! Visiting family - will you have personal space (i.e. a room to perhaps put your child for a nap?)
    • Is your travel destination child friendly?
    • Pack their clothes, and other child necessities.
    • Pack toys.
  • If you leave them at home.
    • Overnight babysitter at a family/close friends' home.
    • Or a babysitter spend the night at your home to keep the kids in their home surrounded by their comforts and toys - this is sometimes easier.
Traveling  Out of  Town with Dogs can be Challenging - 

Unfortunately people aren't quite as accepting of bringing pooches along, even if the dog is better than most kids. Allergies, not wanting to watch the dog, no place to put the dog, no dogs in the house, fear of dogs, an unfriendly family dog, are all reasons you may not be able to bring your pup.
  • Can we bring them? If we take a trip to the coast we find a nice spot of beach where we can bring them to play too, and most restaurants have good outdoor seating.  Hiking - is the trail dog friendly. Out of town - can we find a hotel that allows dogs (size/breed restrictions?).
    • Is the travel destination dog friendly - just because we find a hotel doesn't mean they can go with us. Are their places we can walk the dogs, outdoor places we can eat and bring the pups, if visiting family - are our dogs welcome? Will they be allowed indoors? Are their other pets to consider?
    • Pack our pups coats weather depending, shoes also weather/terrain depending.
    • Pack leashes, bowls, food, treat bags, poo bags (because we are responsible owners), towels for cleanup, beds, etc...
    • Pack dog toys
  • Leaving our pups at home..
    • We prefer to find a house sitter who can spend the night if that is at all possible. We have a few family members and friends we can call.
    • Worst case scenario - They can maybe stay overnight at grandmas house.

Bedtime with Kids - 
  • Depending on the kid this can involve a lot of fussing...Sorry kid, "Time for bed!"
  • Wash your face and brush your teeth!
  • Snuggle them into their blankets.
  • Maybe a story before bed.
  • Send the child back to bed and re-tuck them in if necessary.
Bedtime with Dogs - 
  • Rather than a story we have snuggle time watching a show on Netflix or reading a book. Sorry no T.V. in our house!
  • Bedtime routine - we send our dogs out to go potty every night before bedtime.
  • Our dogs sleep with two blankets, one on top of their bed, and one for snuggling. If it's a particularly cold night we bury the pups under a blanket and they love it! They end up sleeping all curled up in snuggly balls next to each other.
This was before I picked up the XXL bed.
Visiting Grandma's House with Kids - 
  • I don't know about your childhood but I loved visiting my grandma growing up! We were guaranteed to come home dirty, we played outside most of the time - she lived out in the country on a few acres. We climbed trees, built forts, played on the swings, in the sandbox, and stomped our way through puddles, and swim in the river nearby.
  • Mom always packed us extra clothes and shoes.
  • Usually we'd come home with at least one new scrape or bump, sometimes even poison oak! ACK! 
  • But we loved it and were always tired and sure to sleep all the way home in the car.
Visiting Grandma's House with Dogs - 
  • My mom now lives on 40 acres, several of which are fenced in fields by the house. One of the fields has a pond.
    • Both dogs love visiting! They always end up dirty, wet, and muddy after running around up and down the hills. And are usually so tired that they collapse in the car and sleep all the way home - something unusual for Dante as he likes to look out the window.
    • We have to pack multiple towels, attempt to clean up before re-entering the car, and it's bath time when we get home.
  • Their other grandma's house has a bigger yard than us, and both dogs love to run, chase, and tackle in the backyard. They even have squirrels that they sometimes can chase - we try to prevent this but inevitably their is a stupid squirrel with a death wish.
    • After visiting both dogs are content, happy, and tired.

Tackle Time!!!
Car Rides are a Production with Kids - 
  • I watch with amazement as my neighbor with 4 kids corrals her bunch and gets them in the van. Between forgotten coats, putting on shoes, carrying drinks, snacks, sticky hands, buckling takes a few minutes to get everyone settled in. And then it goes one of two ways, a happy and loud van drives away...OR...a grumpy mom with a full van drives off with at least one of the kids screaming about something they want or forgot in the house.

Car Rides are a Production with Dogs - 
  • Thankfully I only have 2 kids, but my kids love car rides! This means me opening the front door with two kiddos crashing out behind me to rush up to the car eager to go! Unfortunately this means they temporarily dart out of sight, we're working on this...Dante..*cough. We're working on both dogs exiting the house slower and sitting on the front porch while I lock up. I don't want them being rude and interrupting someone walking on the sidewalk who may or may not have a dog, and I don't want them to see a squirrel and dart into the road.
  • I hate taking multiple trips from house to car, so I try to get it all in one go. This means balancing doggy leashes, poo bags, water bottle or coffee, my purse, keys, phone, etc..all while I lock up the house and unlock my car. I finally got smart and have a doggy backpack, inside is two leashes, a toy for each dog, poo bags, water, and treats. This is my "visiting anywhere" bag.
  • But the thing I never leave home without are the dog leashes. Even if we are driving into town just to pick up the hubby and go back home, I always bring the leashes. You just never know when you are going to need them. And we have an emergency leash in the trunk with our emergency car kit.
"Can we get going already?"
Puppies just like Children, Get Grumpy When they are Tired.
  • Turns out puppies get grumpy when they are tired too! This grumpiness manifests differently for different dogs, some get mouthy, snarky at their siblings, pick on the other kids *cough dogs, become more stubborn, push boundaries, etc... That would be my Ziva.
  • Well just like kids this means they need a break, in most cases a nap will solve the problem nicely. When Ziva starts getting grumpy it's usually because of being over tired and so we send her to her bed for a nap.

And just like human children, I love my kids and want only the best for them. We are constantly playing a different game,  research their food, maintain a healthy diet, regularly groom and trim their nails (much to their dismay), we exercise their minds and bodies, are actively involved with positive training methods and we would never harm our kids or do anything to put them in danger.

We look out for their well-being, are aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
We work hard to build them up where they are weak, and try to set them up for success in all situations.

We will never give up on, or abandon our children.

SO again...what if anything is the difference? As far as i'm concerned my dogs are my kids.

Leave some comments! We'd love to hear what you think!

Grab button for Pet Parade Blog Hop

Share Me