A Change Of Plans….

Today, my human and I were suposed to meet my friend Serenity and her human at the park for our Sunday walk. We met at Serenity’s house first cause we were going to go to a different park by her. Instead of going to the park, we ended up staying and playing in the snow at Serenity’s house. She has a really BIG  fenced in yard (two or three acers) and Sheep that live next door to her! Can you believe it? Sheep I say! I have never seen sheep until today and was amazed! Play date with Serenity

Here I am checking out those sheep for the first time! I couldn’t believe my eyes! At first, I wasn’t sure what to think which is why my front paw is raised a bit. After watching them for a bit I thought they were pretty cool!

play date with Serenity

I had to keep checking on those sheep to see what they were doing….. Every time I checked, they were doing pretty much the same thing…. They stood in a group by the barn making a lot of noise. seems kinda boring to just be standing around!

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Serenity came with me to check on them too, even though she sees them all the time and they are nothing new to her…. She is such a good friend!

Play date with Serenity

Serenity showed me around and I peed on many trees and fences…. I couldn’t help myself and she didn’t seem to mind.

Play  date with Serenity

We played in the snow and walked all around her big yard! She has the best yard in the world! Her house is now at the top of my “Top 10 places to play list”!

Play date with Serenity

I ran at Serentiy’s house too….. I love to run and I was having the time of my life…… I ran and I ran, then I ran some more! I was running sooooo fast and I loved every minute of it! My human was so proud of me because even though I was running through this big and beautiful yard, I still listened to every one of her commands! When she called me, I came running at full speed! She was thrilled because she wasn’t sure how well I would listen in such a wide open space…. The only place I am usually off me leash is at home or in my back yard because my human says she would be heartbroken if she lost me. I think I did a good job, because she was laughing a lot at me and kept telling me what a good boy I was!

Play date with Serenity

 

I was having so much fun running and I was running soooo fast, that Serenity lost sight of me for a minute….. She started looking for me! It didn’t take her long to find me though.

 

 

 

Now that our play day is over, I am really tired out and I would imagine Serenity is too. Tonight, when I cuddle up in my nice warm bed, or on the nice soft couch with the throw pillows and close my sleepy brown eyes, I will dream of this wonderful day…… I ran my little heart out, I was free from the leash is such a wide open space, I spent the day with my bestie, and I got to see sheep for the first time in my life…. What a perfect day! Thank you Serenity for making it wonderful!

 

A perfect end to a perfect day, curled up on the couch with pillows, a blanket and my human’s robe! I love laying on her robe because it smells like her! I have the best human in the world! She loves me so much and I love her too!

Play date with Serenity

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Teaching Your Dog to Speak….

barking dogTeaching your dog new tricks can be a great way to strengthen your bond. Training of any kind is also great exercise for your dog’s mind and will tire your pup out as much any walk will. Thinking is hard work! Not only is it fun, but teaching your dog new tricks, will result in a better behaved, yet entertaining dog! I have decided to work on teaching my dog Lucky some new tricks. With the weather here so cold right now, working on learning new tricks is a great alternative to walking when the mercury dips too low. I will be posting mine and Lucky’s favorite tricks along with “how to” instructions, so that you can try them with your furry friend.

Last night, Lucky learned to speak on command. It took about fifteen minutes for him to catch on. He was so happy when he finally figured out what I wanted from him. After he knew what I was asking of him, we practiced for about fifteen minutes. Our full training session last night lasted 30 minutes and before we move on to the next trick, we will practice speak every night this week so I don’t confuse him. I decided to teach lucky the speak command first followed by the quiet command. It seemed to work well using the two commands together. When he figured out I wanted him to bark, he would bark a lot, about 10-12 barks in a row. After the third bark I would give him the quiet command and treat him after he was quiet for a couple seconds. This seemed to work well and he picked up on both commands rather quickly. He now will give 1-3 barks on the speak command without me having to give the quiet command. We will be using the quiet command more for excessive barking control.

Teaching your dog to “speak,” or bark on command can be fun as well as useful. A barking dog can ward off intruders and alert you to potential danger. Excessive barking can be a huge problem, but teaching the speak / quiet commands can sharpen the natural instinct to bark. With dedication and consistency, you can teach your dog to bark on command AND to be quiet. Different dog trainers and owners have varying techniques, but here is one basic method that works for many dogs.

I found a website that has steps to teaching your dog to speak, it was written by: By Jenna Stregowski, RVT, About.com Guider many dogs. These steps worked really well in teaching this command to Lucky, so I am passing in on to my readers. The biggest thing to remember is to not get frustrated and have fun! If you are having fun and enjoying it, your dog will too!

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 10-15 minutes, 1-2 times per day (may take several weeks)

Here’s How:

1. Choose one simple word for the bark command. The word should be easy to remember and used consistently. Good choices: “speak,” “bark” or “talk.”

2. Choose one simple word for the quiet command. This word should also be easy to remember and used consistently. Good choices: “enough,” “quiet,” or “hush.”

3. When your dog barks, briefly acknowledge it by checking for the source (look out the window or door, go to your dog). Then, get her attention with a clap, whistle or similar sound.

4. Immediately after the barking stops, say your quiet command in a firm, audible and upbeat voice while giving a treat.

5. Practice the “quiet” command frequently. You can do this anytime she barks, but
keep sessions brief.

6. Once your dog seems to understand “quiet,” you can move onto the bark command.

7. Create a situation that will cause your dog to bark. The best method is to have a friend ring the doorbell or knock on the door. As this occurs, say your speak command in a clear, upbeat voice.

8. After your dog barks 2-3 times in a row, say “good speak!” in a clear, upbeat voice while giving a treat.

9. Repeat the speak command process several times until your dog seems to understand.

10. Once your dog learns “speak” and “quiet” separately, you can use them together – have your dog speak a few times, then tell her to be quiet.

 

Tips:

1. Rewards should be immediate and very tasty. You need to make obeying “worth it” to your dog. Small, stinky liver treats or similar goodies work best.

2. Some people prefer to teach “speak” first, and “quiet” second. Others like to teach them together to begin with. This is your choice – it is about your comfort level, confidence and your dog’s ability to learn. Use your best judgment. Dogs with a tendency to become “excessive barkers” might need to learn the quiet command first.

3. Be patient yet consistent. These commands can take weeks to master for some dogs.

4. Teach speak only works on dogs that will bark. If you are training a puppy, wait until she develops the ability and desire to bark, otherwise she will become confused. Remember that the Basenji dog breed does not bark.

Do Dogs Dream?

Zeus taking a nap.

Zeus taking a nap.

My sleeping little angle

Lucky getting some shut eye.

I have often wondered if dogs really do dream and why they do it. Having dogs myself, I have noticed that mine do appear to be dreaming every once in a while. They will growl, twitch, and sometimes even bark in their sleep. I have also noticed that they also seem to have nightmares though these don’t happen too often. When I notice what seems and looks like a nightmare, I would gently pet them and talk to them to wake them from their bad dream. After reading the folowing article, I have learned not to wake them and let them sleep through it. What do you do when your dog is asleep and appears to be having a nightmare? Here is the article I found on this subject, I included a link to the website at the end of the article. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

It is not uncommon to hear a dog whining and squeaking while they are sound asleep. Often their adorable vocal sounds are accompanied by paw twitching and tail flicking. It can be amusing to watch and often people are convinced they are dreaming.

Is it true? Do dogs dream? Of course, no one will ever be completely certain as to what goes inside our canine friends’ minds, but it certainly looks as though they are dreaming.

When a dog is awake, it is almost impossible to argue that there isn’t some form of thought process that they go through. While their thoughts are probably not even close to the cute little voice overs we give them as we watch them, but their facial expressions, their ability to hold a lengthy attentions span, and their overall demeanor creates the impression of thoughts.

Most people believe that a dog is capable of processing about one hundred to one hundred and fifty words. Some experts believe there are dogs that can process as many as five hundred. By processing we are talking about some form of cognitive thought pattern like the ability to recognize a ball as a ball. Do they actually think, “Come on. I’m being good. Throw the ball?” Probably not. But when you ask a dog to go retrieve his ball, most dogs do know what you are talking about. Most can differentiate between “Get your ball” and “Get a toy.”

What does this have to do with dreaming? We already know that dreams are our brain’s way of processing our experiences in life. Dogs have experiences and are considered smart enough to need processing time as well. Some experts argue that all mammals dream in order to process and learn. What a dog experiences may or may not impact their dreams, but it is a likely possibility that it does. It’s actually logical to believe that it does.

In our household when a dog is appearing to dream we say they are chasing bunnies. We phrase it as such because our dogs all have a fascination with the exorbitant amount of rabbits in the neighborhood and they constantly want to chase them down. It would simply be logical that one of the events our dogs may process is being denied a bunny chase.

There is less evidence however, that abused dogs dream. Abused people tend to have nightmares and bad dreams. Studies performed on dogs show that severely neglected and abused dogs are more likely to experience a lack of dreaming rather than suffer from nightmares. Although, our puppies are not likely to wake us in the middle of the night asking to crawl in bed with us, so the theory is purely speculative.

Dreams are part of REM sleep. We know that when humans enter REM sleep they are most likely to fall into a dream state. Dogs of course experience REM sleep as well, and this is where the sleep barking and tail twitching takes place.

It is highly unlikely that we as humans will ever be able to truly understand the inner workings of a dog’s mind. They truly are amazingly complicated creatures with a vast array of communication skills. As much as we would like to enter their world and understand their thoughts, the closest we may ever get to that is watching them in their dream states. While in their dream states a dog may yip, run, growl, squeak, bark, even twist and turn the way his humans do. Watching this behavior is fascinating and entertaining. It is also a key to proving they have some capability for thought processing.

The genetics shared between dogs and humans are as high as ninety five percent. Our basic core makeup isn’t really all that different from our canine partners. It is reasonable and logical then to believe that we are more similar than we realize in our brain makeup and our brain functions as well. The human brain and the dog brain is remarkably similar as is our basic neurochemistry.

What makes it so remarkable to us as humans that our puppies are lying at our feet dreaming is that we feel connected to them somehow when we watch them. We tend to feel as though our little buddy letting us in on a secret or private moment. We find them endearing because we can tell if their dreams are happy, and for the most part they do basically seem like happy little dreamers.

Just as we cherish our dreams and often share them with those close to us, we tend to view our dogs’ dreaming activities in much the same light. For those of who actually tuck our pups into bed with a blanket, a kiss, and a “sweet dreams,” we feel rewarded somehow as they quietly lie by our bed at night in their own peaceful little dreamland.

http://www.professorshouse.com/Pets/Dogs/General/Articles/Do-Dogs-Dream/

6 Great Ways to Challenge Your Dog’s Mind…..

Dog Playing

I came across this article on the Cesars Way website (there is a link to the website at the end of this post) and found it interesting….. I plan on trying a few of these tips with my dog Lucky. I think we will work on some new tricks in the next two weeks. I always have trouble thinking of new tricks that I would want him to perform though. He knows the basics, such as sit, stay, down, shake, and leave it. If you have any interesting or fun trick ideas for me to teach Lucky, I would love to hear them!
By Nicole Pajer

Just like people, dogs get bored with the same old everyday routine. Keeping  them mentally challenged and constantly exposing them to new things is just as  important as taking them for walks and exercising them. Bored dogs develop  destructive behaviors and take their negative energy out on things like your  furniture.

Here are some creative ways to stimulate your dog’s mind so they don’t get  bored and misbehave:

1. Work on a new trick.

Every time you engage your dog in a training session, you are providing him  with a mental challenge. Search around for new tricks to work on. If you’re  ready to move past the basic commands, check out books, scan the Internet, and  ask a trainer for ideas for new tricks and training ideas.

“My dog, Vince just recently turned 4-years old and I finally enrolled him in  obedience school. It has changed both our lives. Now on days where I work him on  new tricks and such, I have noticed that his temperament has calmed down.  Challenging him mentally makes him much less anxious in general and he has  become more relaxed around other dogs. Vince is proof that old dogs can  definitely learn new tricks.” – Sara Hicks

2. Play with interactive games or toys with your dog.

Purchase a doggie board game or a canine puzzle to challenge your pup. Engage  your dog in a game of Dog Memory or Dog Dominos. Give your dog one of the many  toys that allow you to hide treats and objects inside and engage your dog to  figure out how to work them out.

“This sounds silly but I bought this board game that I saw at the store for  my dog Snickers and I to play together. I put treats underneath a peg and she  has to figure out which ones to lift up in order to find where the treats are.  There is another version where I cover up the treats with this piece of plastic  and Snickers has to spin the board around to uncover the treats. It really  challenges her and I see her brain working so hard to figure everything out.” – Donna Marr

3. Run errands with your dog.

Even a quick run to the mailbox, a stopover at a friend’s house, or a spin  through the car wash will place your dog face to face with a variety of  stimulants.

“Even just taking Ryker for a car ride or to the car wash is stimulating for  him. He gets to see lots of different sights and sounds and experience new  situations. He loves going and gets so excited. And I can see his brain working  as it takes it all in. And when we come home, he falls right asleep, even though  it wasn’t physically taxing.” – Jennifer Brody

4. Give your dog a job to do.

Dogs are bred to complete tasks such as hunting and herding. When they aren’t  able to fulfill these types of duties, they can get restless. Engage your dog in  a game of Frisbee. Get him involved in a sport like agility or Flyball. Take him  for a long walk,  hike, or swim. Find jobs that fulfill your dog’s breed. If you have a  retriever, for example, nothing will leave it more satisfied than a hearty game  of fetch.

“I can take my dog for a walk or a run, but the thing that really makes her  the happiest is a hearty game of fetch. I take a tennis racket to the dog park  and hit a ball as far as I can. She will bring it back to me over and over again  like it’s her job.” – John Kurmai

5. Introduce your dog to new faces.

Every time your dog meets a new person or fellow canine, they are introduced  to new sights, sounds, and butts to sniff. Taking you pup to places like the dog  park will provide him with ample opportunity to engage his senses.

“I frequently take Bruiser to the dog park, which he absolutely loves!  Bruiser constantly meets new friends there and finds people to sniff and get  petted by. This has really made him listen better, less anxious and truly more  satisfied.” – Kat Malkowych

6. Give them new toys and rotate out the old ones:

You wouldn’t want to play with the same thing every day would you? Then you  shouldn’t expect your dog to continue to love the same toy that he’s had for  months. Give him a toy to play with for a few days and when he grows bored of  it, replace it with another one.

“Moogly has so many toys but still gets bored. It’s ridiculous! I am  constantly bringing new toys into the house but he has a short attention span so  they only keep him entertained for a while. We started keeping all of his toys  in a bin in the closet and rotating them out. He has so many now and we’ll  change up a new toy with one that he’s had for years and that he may have  forgotten about. He loves this and whenever we switch them up, he is just as  excited as when he gets a brand new toy.” – Katie Adams

Read more: http://www.cesarsway.com/training/dogtraining/6-Great-Ways-to-Challenge-Your-Dogs-Mind#ixzz2GAQMEunV

Merry Christmas!!!!

Lucky opening presents.... Yay, a new toy!

Lucky opening presents…. Yay, a new toy!

What could it be? The new bone I asked for?

Lucky loves opening presents!

Lucky loves opening presents!

Lucky loves opening presents!

Lucky loves opening presents!

This one smells yummy! My favorite treats!!!!

This one smells yummy! My favorite treats!!!

Wow, a big one.... What could it be?

Wow, a big one…. What could this one be? Maybe a nice warm cozy bed?

The big ones take a little longer to open... Could this be a nice cozy bed?

The big ones take a little longer to open… Could this be a nice cozy bed?

Time to take a step back and take a diferent approach!

Time to take a step back and take a diferent approach!

Time to lay in my new bed and chew my new Christmas bone!

Time to lay in my new bed and chew my new Christmas bone!

Merry Christmas to all! May you enjoy spending time with your family and friends this holiday season, we sure are!

Cold Weather Tips, From Our Pets to Yours…..

Cold Weather Tips

Brrrr—it’s cold outside! The following guidelines will help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips.

1. Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife.

2. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.

3. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.

4. Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.

5. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.

Lucky sporting his winter coat. He is ready for his morning walk!

Lucky sporting his winter coat. He is ready for his morning walk!

6. Never leave your dog or cat alone in  a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

7. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.

8. Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him, and his fur, in tip-top shape.

9. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal  poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from  your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.

10. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

Why Do Dogs Lick You?

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Why Do Dogs Lick You?

I find this really interesting because Lucky is a big kisser and Zeus used to be too. I always wondered if they did it because they meant to or if it was just because of instinct.
I love Zeus' kisses so much! On kiss makes everything worth it!

I love Zeus’ kisses so much! One kiss makes everything worth it!

December 18th, 2011 06:41:20 pm.
Why do dogs lick you? Anyone who’s met a dog is familiar with their wet greetings. It’s not like you rubbed bacon on your hands before walking in the door, so why do they do it?For the most part, it’s a sign of affection. From the day they were born, their mother licked them to clean them and stimulate them. Because of that, licking is connected to their very earliest social bonds, so it’s a significant part of their social signals. People aren’t exaggerating when they call it puppy kisses – a dog who licks you is showing you love. It’s why your dog licks your hand happily when you walk in the door, and why many dogs will lick you after you’ve been petting them. They’re returning the friendly gesture.Another reason why dogs lick you is to learn about you. Smell may be their strongest sense, but they learn a lot from what they taste as well. That’s why they lick other dogs in greeting, and why they lick people. In the wild, wolves lick other wolves’ mouths to determine if they’ve eaten and if a food source is nearby. Taste tells them a lot more than just how to fill their belly, however, especially in domesticated dogs. What they taste when they lick you tells them about your chemical composition, which can clue them in to other things about you. Human hormones and chemicals vary based on everything from our health to our mood, so they may be able to tell a lot about our state of being by licking us.

Dogs may lick people because they like the taste. My family has a dog who loves the taste of lotion – she would eat it from a bowl if she could – so she’ll lick lotion off people’s hands and feet as long as they let her. Dogs also tend to like salty, savory flavors. Human sweat is loaded with sodium, so if you’ve ever noticed your dog licking your feet after a workout, it’s because of the flavor.

Licking is also a sign of respect and submission for dogs. They’ll lick higher-up pack members to show acceptance of that member’s higher rank. If your dog lays down and licks your feet, that’s likely their way of showing respect for your authority.

Occasionally, licking is a sign of anxiety. Dogs enjoy licking, so they will sometimes lick as a way of comforting themselves. It usually shows itself as licking themselves or licking objects, but they may lick you for relief as well. If you think your dog has anxiety, consult your vet for confirmation and how to handle it.

Why do dogs lick you? It’s usually a friendly sign. Occasionally, it may be the sign of a problem like anxiety, but it’s typically nothing to worry about. Enjoy the puppy kisses.