Black & White Sunday – This I Missed

 

I have to admit that when I went away last weekend, I didn’t mind getting a break from playing fetch in the yard with the dogs.  I didn’t miss being door person or tripping over the cats in the kitchen.  It was really nice to have a whole bed to myself and all the leg room I needed.

But this, this I missed.

20141019_072835I love staying in bed on weekend mornings with a cup of coffee and the company of the dogs and my hubby, watching the news and just watching them play.  I think they enjoy this time as well.

Missing u

I’ll be going away again next weekend, but at least only for Friday and Saturday, so on Sunday morning I’ll wake up in my own bed and get to see these faces.

Missing 2

There truly is no place like home.

Seat cover

Have you entered our giveaway for a 4Knines Luxury Cargo Cover for your SUV?  Click here to read our review and enter to win!  We have another giveaway coming up tomorrow as well!

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Thank you to Sugar the Golden Retriever and Dachshund Nola for hosting the Black and White Sunday blog hop.  Please visit them and other blogs through the links below.

Clicker Training – A Positive Experience (Part 3) – Shaping

In Part 1 I wrote about how we started out, and in Part 2 I wrote about how we had found out Luke was reactive.

In his bed on command.

In his bed on command.

Our first few classes were spent working on clicker basics and the commands “sit”, “lie down”, “stay”, and “here”.  Luke did very well with all of those.  We had originally signed up for 3 classes and they gave us a 4th free, so we signed up for two additional classes because we knew there was more we wanted to learn and accomplish.

Our trainer Dave wanted to try what he called “shaping”, which I believe is similar to what they call “targeting”.  This training is done in steps to reinforce a desired action such as going to a bed, ringing a bell to go out, opening doors, and fun things like getting a beer from the fridge (which my nephew’s dog can actually do!).  We wanted to use it to get Luke to go to his bed, in the hopes we could get him to settle down when people come over (he barks at everyone), and I also wanted to keep him out of the kitchen when I’m cooking.  Our beagle Kobi had always been under my feet when I was cooking, and though I knew it was a bad idea, I let him do it.  Luke took that over and I probably encouraged it by giving him and the other dogs a nibble sometimes.  I’ll write more next time about all the bad habits we had that we’ve had to learn to break!

free standing target

Photo from cleanrun.com which sells agility tools and other dog supplies.

We used a tool, seen to the left here, called a freestanding target.  These are used in agility, and Dave used it because it was handy there!  The idea is to get the dog to touch the target with his nose.  This is done in steps; click & treat when he steps towards it, then click & treat when he looks at it, then when he actually touches the top with his nose.  Each step is done a few times, and as you move on, you withhold the click and treat, trying to get them to try something else.  My husband worked with Luke on this, with Dave instructing, and Luke caught on very quickly.  In only a  matter of a few minutes, he had Luke touching the base of the target instead of the top!

That was one time we saw Dave get really excited, and he said “Luke is really smart!”  It makes a pet parent so proud to hear those words!  We tried to move on from there with working towards getting Luke to lie down on a rug.   This time I was doing the training, and it didn’t go nearly as well!  I wasn’t quick enough to see him looking and we didn’t get far.  Luke may have been getting tired by that point too, so we gave it up for that night.

At home my husband worked with Luke on targeting his bed (I tried too but didn’t do as well), and it didn’t take long before Luke was going to his bed and sitting or lying down on command, with just the word “bed”!  The steps are walk towards the bed, look at it, touch it, put a paw on it, etc. until he got to sitting on it completely.

In the next class we worked on someone knocking at the door and getting him to stay in his bed until he was given a command we chose “say hi” and he could come greet the person and get a treat.  We needed to work on this at home and then get people to come over to put it to the test.  Our first trial run with “strangers” didn’t go nearly as well as we hoped.  I will fill you in on that in Part 4.  But I will say that it is working well at keeping him out of the kitchen.  He isn’t perfect yet, but he’s getting better.  There’s even been times where I’ve gone into the kitchen to do something and he’s gone right to his bed without me even telling him to (but the norm right now is that I need to send him back more than once)!

We've worked on "leave it" on our own as well.

We’ve worked on “leave it” on our own as well.

I moved the treats closer.  He's funny sometimes that he refuses to even look at them!

I moved the treats closer. He’s funny sometimes that he refuses to even look at them!

When I say "treat!" he can take them.  Hopefully it's worth the wait!

When I say “treat!” he can take them. Hopefully it’s worth the wait!

We’ve also been working on “heel” and loose leash walking, which is very challenging (more on that soon as well), but Luke and I just had a great walk yesterday where he did very well with that.  I was so excited, and it helped me to feel better after our less than successful greeting test last week.

Parting thoughts and advice based on our experience.  I’m not an expert – you should always consult a trainer for expert advice:

  • There are a lot of highs and lows to training!  We’ve had really good times and really bad.  I need to remind myself that we need to be consistent and persistent, and not to get discouraged.
  • Luke is still young and I think we need to remember that too.  I believe we’re building some basics here that can only get better as he matures.
  • Training can be fun and rewarding!  There’s nothing like watching your dog think and figure things out, and hearing a professional say that your dog is smart!

In Part 4 I will tell you exactly how our unsuccessful greeting at the door session went, and about the challenges of breaking old bad habits!

fitDogFriday_180x150Training is good for a dog’s mind and body, and helps their overall fitness.  We’re happy to be joining the FitDog Friday blog hop.  Thank you to our blog hop hosts SlimDoggy, To Dog With Love and MyGBGVLife.  Please visit their sites and others through the links below to learn more about keeping your dogs fit and happy!

An SUV Cargo Cover for All Seasons #seatcovers4Knines

*Disclaimer:  This post is sponsored by 4Knines and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network.  I am being compensated for helping spread the word about 4Knines products but Wag ‘n Woof Pets only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers.  4Knines is not responsible for the content of this article.

We don’t travel a lot with our dogs, but when we do take them places, it’s usually dirty, wet, and messy.  In the summer we take them swimming, in the winter we take them snowshoeing, spring is mud season here in New England, and we walk on dirt trails year round.

We love our SUV for traveling with the dogs.  We put the back seat down and they have plenty of room to lie down.  Our vehicle has a nice rubber mat in the way back, but the backs of the seats are carpeted, and the dogs usually want to lie down there right behind us, they don’t stay on the rubber mat (it can’t be comfortable).  So when we get home we have a car filled with dirt and dog fur.

4kanines_logoWhen we got the opportunity to try out a 4Knines SUV Cargo Liner, I was excited!  4Knines was started by Jim and Maggie, a husband and wife team who had their two “rough and tumble Dobermans in mind.”  They focus on delivering high quality products and excellent customer service. All of their products are 100% satisfaction guaranteed!  Their motto is “Nothing but the best for your best friend!”  4Knines donates $1 to the ASPCA for every unit sold, and they also support many other pet advocacy groups.  .

IMGP4796This cargo cover delivers the high quality they promise.  It is made of durable waterproof material, and quilted for comfort.  It is easy to install – I usually have my hubby do things like that because I have no patience with figuring them out – but I installed this easily on my own in no time.  The liner has side flaps and a bumper protector, to give complete coverage and protection from scratches on the bumper.  I also like how you can install it two different ways – either attached to the front seats to provide a barrier between the seats, or completely flat.  The headrest straps are reinforced, and the backing is non-slip.

Getting ready to go.

Getting ready to go. Yes, Cricket jumped right over…I need to pull it up higher to try to keep them in the back.

Come on, you girls, lie down, so we can go!

Come on, you girls, lie down, so we can go!

Sheba is settled in and ready!

Sheba is settled in and ready!

I am a gardener as well and this cover can be used to protect my vehicle when transporting plants, bales of straw, and other gardening products.  It has a lifetime warranty.

It’s Christmas shopping time and 4Knines is having a Black Friday through Cyber Monday sale!  All products will be 20% off through their own website and Amazon as well.

Giveaway!  In addition, I am able to offer one of these covers to one lucky reader.  You will be able to pick out the size and color you’d like, and please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.  The giveaway is open to USA residents only, age 18 or older.  Void where prohibited by law.  It is open until Sunday November 30th at 11:59 pm.   Good luck!

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Wordless Wednesday – King of Comfort

 

Luke moves around a lot at night; sometimes he’s on the bed with us, sometimes he’s on the floor cooling off, sometimes he’s on the dog bed on the floor.  But he never looks quite as comfortable as when he is in the chair by the window.

Luke chair

Please excuse the quality of the photos – they were taken at night with my cell phone.  I knew if I moved off the bed, he would move, so I did the best I could.

Luke chair 2

These were taken at three different times (you might notice we got a new cover for the chair).

Luke chair 3

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Thank you to BlogPaws for hosting the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.  Please visit other blogs through the links below!

Monday Mischief – Don’t Eat That!

 

I’ve written plenty about Luke’s toy destruction, but not too much about his counter surfing, and his bad habit of picking up anything and everything and sometimes eating it.  Along with “please don’t eat that!” you’ll hear a lot of “leave it” and “trade” around here, which sometimes work and sometimes doesn’t.

So when Petplan pet insurance asked me if I would share their “Eat This, Not That” poison guide, I thought it would be a great opportunity to do so and tell a bit about Luke’s escapades in this department.  First of all, I’ll say that so far we’ve been lucky, knock wood, that he hasn’t eaten anything dangerous.  Yet.  That we know of.  My biggest fear is that we’ll end up in the ER with him sooner or later.  He may have already eaten something that we don’t know about, and it’s just sitting inside him waiting to cause problems.  Ugh.

PetPlan

A little preview of the guide.

Our screen porch has been under construction recently, being changed over to a four season porch.  Do you know how sloppy contractors are?  I thoroughly scour the yard after they leave and yet somehow Luke has still found screws, pieces of siding, wood, insulation, etc, etc.  I don’t think he ate any of those things.  I’m pretty sure I should just have the treat pouch as part of my wardrobe though, so I always have a “trade” handy.  He likes to turn it all into a game of chase, so we’ve had to learn not to buy into that.

This potato is the least worrisome thing he's stolen off the kitchen counter!

This potato is the least worrisome thing he’s stolen off the kitchen counter!

You can see him looking at me, just knowing I’m going to take it away!

Last Sunday he really had me pulling my hair out.  Construction is about over, so that’s not an issue any more.  Instead he spent his day getting into anything else he could find in the house.  I try to be diligent about leaving things out of his reach, but I can get preoccupied and be forgetful sometimes.  Here is a list of the things I had to “trade” for, just in that one day:

  • a roll of toilet paper from the upstairs bathroom
  • my hubby’s boot (he thought covering them with his sweatshirt would work, it didn’t)
  • a sock that I don’t even know where it came from
  • a dish cloth from a drawer I accidentally left open
  • a dust cloth from the cabinet I accidentally left open when I was chasing him down trying to get the packet of glaze for our cinnamon buns that he stole off the counter.
  • My vegetable scrubber brush.
  • Then there was the cardboard from the flooring boxes my husband thought he could leave under the deck.  We were sitting on our newly finished porch and couldn’t figure out what the noise was we were hearing from outside!

I can’t believe I had any hair left after that day.  By far though, Luke’s favorite things are tissues, napkins, toilet paper, or paper towels that he steals from anywhere he can find them.  Those he will not trade off, because I don’t know, I guess they’re yummy?  He defiantly chews and swallows before I can get him to trade or leave it.

PetPlan dogPetplan’s guide tells many stories of things that pets have eaten and just how dangerous some things can be.  It’s a great primer with lots of cute illustrations (like that cute one to the left), and it thoroughly covers household and seasonal hazards, as well as signs and symptoms to watch out for (definitely need to know for us).

It’s not just dogs though.  Our late cat Katie looked with disdain on this fun toy I bought her, but she used to love to play with the caps off Katie toya milk jug, and also the plastic strip you pull off when first opening it.  We thought she just played with those strips, until I came home one day and found one upchucked on the kitchen floor!

I am keeping Petplan’s guide saved to my favorites, because I have a feeling I’d better keep that information close by.  So, what do your pets get into?

*Disclaimer:  I am not being compensated in any way by Petplan.   They asked if I would share their guide, and I thought it was a valuable resource for my readers’ to know about.

Coming soon!

Advent Calendar

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Thank you to our blog hop hosts:  Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog, and My Brown Newfies!  Please visit them and the other participants through the links below.

Black & White Sunday – Malakai

 

I just got home from spending two days with my best friend in Massachusetts.  She and her sister have an adorable little dog named Malakai, also called Mali.  Mali is a silky terrier/long haired dachshund mix.

Malakai 2

Mali is seen here with his “blankie” which he carries around, thus earning himself the nickname Linus!

Malakai

nolasugar_bwbadge_pmThank you to Sugar the Golden Retriever and Dachshund Nola for hosting the Black and White Sunday blog hop.  Please visit other participants through the links below!

Clicker Training – A Positive Experience (Part 2) #WOOF Support

Woof 2We are pleased to be co-hosting the 6th WOOF blog hop along with Oz the TerrierWOOF (Working Out Our Fears) Support is where reactive dogs and their owners can come together to share similar experiences.  Are you a reactive and/or fearful dog or its owner?   We’d love to hear your story!  This month’s theme is “Hopes and Challenges This Holiday”Will the upcoming holidays be a challenging or hopeful time for you and your reactive dog?  Maybe it will be a little bit of bothWe have a giveaway this month, at the end of the post!

In Part 1 I shared how we started clicker training with Luke. Just a few days after we signed him up for private classes, something happened that made us realize just how much we all really needed it.  Let me back up just a bit…..

How It Started

Luke sit

“Sit”

It’s hard for me to admit this, that Luke is reactive, because of course I partially blame myself (and my hubby). I fear that we didn’t socialize him well enough.  I knew how important socialization was, and we honestly did try.  We had every intention of taking Luke to puppy kindergarten to get him off to a good start.  However, he had only been with us a day before he came down with kennel cough, and not long after that, worms.  Both of these things set back his vaccination schedule (my vet won’t vaccinate an ill dog), and since I prefer to split up our dogs’ vaccines, Luke was 4 months old before all of that was finally done; too old for kindergarten, yet too young for basic obedience.

On one trip to the vets’, he growled at two different dogs. One of the dogs was being calm and friendly, but the other was jumping and pulling at his leash trying to get to us, so I don’t blame him for that one.  In both cases, I just moved Luke away and he was fine.  Next thing we noticed was that he started barking at people coming to our house.  Mostly he only barked initially but then he would settle down and be fine.  I was concerned when he started obedience school, but he did fine there.  On the other hand, he barked at our neighbors when I was walking him.  We thought (hoped) that just getting him out more would help him.

Over the summer our son and grandson came for a visit. We probably screwed up by not introducing them all more slowly, but we were just getting home from a trip ourselves and things were a little chaotic.  What we didn’t expect was that Luke would bark at our grandson the whole time he was there (which was really just a short overnight visit).  So we either had to keep Luke separate or stay right with him to keep an eye on things.  I don’t believe that Luke would ever bite anyone, I know this barking is out of fear, but of course it’s not a chance I would ever take, especially with our grandson.  William, who is 3, was great with Luke….he never tried to approach him, bother him, or anything like that.  Luke wanted to get up to him and smell him, but children move quickly and that always startled Luke and he would back off and start barking again.  For some reason, William still liked Luke….he kept telling his Dad he wanted to see “the black and white dog”!

Handsome

Now we knew additional training was even more important than we thought. When we told the trainer, Dave, what was going on he immediately said Luke was reactive.  To his credit, he didn’t suggest that we had screwed him up or anything.  When we told him Luke had been transported from down south, he told us that often puppies transported can come from inbreeding, and that could possibly cause a sort of disconnect in their brains.  To me, that doesn’t mean Luke isn’t smart, but that his genetics might predispose him to being fearful.  That at least eased my guilt a little.  The bottom line is this is what we’re dealing with, and with the holidays coming, and company, we need to work with Luke to help the situation.  Dave felt that clicker training could be a good tool for this.

Know Your Dog

I wrote in Part 1 that our first week working with Luke at home didn’t go well. Dave felt that we needed something to get Luke’s attention when he was not cooperating.  He suggested a “leash correction”.  I was wary of leash corrections, but I also knew we had to do something to get Luke to pay attention to us.  From the beginning, Dave assured us he would never ask us to do anything we were uncomfortable with.  We weren’t talking about using any special collars, just giving a tug on his collar so he would focus on us.

"Lie down"

“Lie down”

To be honest, I was not totally comfortable with the idea, but my hubby was OK with it. I don’t even like to raise my voice with the dogs, and frankly, they sometimes know that and walk all over me.  I thought we should at least try it, and we did.  However, it didn’t take me long to figure out when back at home that it wasn’t working.  For me, it made Luke worse….I could see him kind of “shutting down” and paying even less attention to me.  So I stopped doing it.  When back at our next class, Dave asked about it, and I told him what I thought.

So we stopped using the leash when training (except for loose leash walking of course) right after that and we found that a sharp “Hey!” or clap will usually get Luke’s attention.  Sometimes I have to physically get in front of him to get his attention as well, but it works and Dave approved of how I was doing it.  Then later when my hubby was working on heeling with Luke, and gave Luke a slight leash correction, Dave saw what I had seen.  To his credit, he made a point of telling me that I was right, he saw Luke shut down too.  I felt good that I had observed this, for me it was a confirmation that I was learning and paying attention, and that I know my dog.

"Luke, here!"

“Luke, here!”

Closing thoughts and advice based on our experience.  I’m not an expert – you should always consult a trainer or behaviorist for expert advice!

  • Blaming yourself for your dogs’ reactivity is a waste of time. Yes, we could have done better, but personality does play into it.  Sheba had the same upbringing as all of our dogs, and she is not reactive at all.  Luke has a lot of other personality quirks that lead me to believe this might have happened no matter what we did.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new, but also, don’t be afraid to say no to something you are uncomfortable with.
  • Be observant of your dog’s reactions during training.  Most of our classes were spent with either my hubby or I working with Luke and the other watching to learn.
  • Having a trainer who listens to you and works with you is very important. One of our trainer Dave’s strong points is his communication skills.  He gave us instructions but never told us what we had to do, if that makes sense For example; he keeps his own dogs out of the kitchen, but he wasn’t going to tell us that was something we had to do as well.  I want to keep them out when I’m cooking, so he helped us to work on that.

In Part 3, I will explain how we are using clicker training to help Luke with his fear of strangers coming to our house.

Giveaway!

PrizesOne winner will receive a Training Package that includes a Clicker, Sport Treat Pouch (I have this pouch and love it) & Lickety Stik dog training treat courtesy of PetSafe.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter below.  The giveaway is open for 1 week, it closes on Thursday, November 20 at 11:59 PM – you can come back and tweet daily!  Contest is open to USA and Canada only, age 18 or over, void where prohibited by law.  Good luck!

 

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Wordless Wednesday – Showing Off

 

Sunday was bath day for Luke and Cricket (Sheba goes to the groomer tomorrow for hers).  After getting them all cleaned up, we put new collars on them which they wanted to show off.

Luke clean

Cricket clean

A few months ago we had won a bid for a paracord collar and leash set made by JoAnn at Sand Spring Chesapeakes, in an online charity auction.  I shared how handsome Luke looked in it, but these collars are not adjustable so Luke quickly outgrew it.

Just a month ago we won another set from a giveaway that JoAnn had for her dog Nellie’s 10th birthday.  JoAnn very kindly offered to make another collar for Luke, and we also got a set for Cricket.

Luke spiffy Cricket spiffy

LeashesI was so excited because I just love the bright and bold colors of these collars, and they look so great on the dogs!  Thank you so much to JoAnn and Nellie from all of us.

 

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Thank you to BlogPaws for hosting the Wordless Wednesday blog hop.  Please visit other blogs through the links below!

All a DADO (Dumb Ass Dog Owner) Needs…..

 

….Is a little common sense.  Sometimes that seems like too much to ask.

DADOWe are joining the DADO blog hop hosted by Heart Like a Dog and Tales from the Backroad.  Join the hop and share your experience of dealing with one of these dog owners, many of who have no common sense.

I first found out that our beagle Cricket was leash reactive because of people like this.  It was two springs ago when I was walking her on the rail trail one town over from us (which happens to be the town I grew up in), along the beautiful lake.  It was a favorite place to walk our beagle Kobi but this time I only had Cricket.  I previously wrote about this in a post titled “Walking the Other Beagle” that March (early on in my blogging career so not many saw it!).

We encountered two women with two dogs, a large mixed breed and a smaller Shih-tzu looking dog.  Neither of the dogs were on leashes, Cricket is always on leash.  I really didn’t think much of it, because Cricket has never had a problem meeting another dog.  For some reason this time when the dogs approached her she did the opposite of what I expected, and started barking, snarling and growling, pulling at the leash.  I keep her on a short leash when approaching people, so I was able to pull her away.  The other good thing is that neither of those dogs were looking for a fight, they retreated (their people called them to them also), and I quickly apologized and moved on, dragging the crazed beagle with me.

We enjoyed the walk and the scenery, for most of it anyway.

We enjoyed the walk and the scenery, for most of it anyway.

Now I could cut these women some slack, if it wasn’t for this…..

The only bad thing about our rail trail in this situation is that chances are if you pass someone once, when you turn around to go back, you will probably pass them again.  There are no round trips on this trail.  Sure enough, we encountered this group again, and the dogs were still loose (I’m not sure they even had leashes with them).  I yelled ahead a little and asked them to just hold their dogs while I got by with her quickly.  The younger woman got the large dog to her and held him.  The older woman called the smaller dog in and I thought would hold on to him but she didn’t.  I don’t know what she did, but again the dog ran towards us and Cricket went off.  Luckily, the dog was smarter than its owner, because it retreated and I hauled Cricket off as quickly as I could.

Really?  My dog wants to beat your dog up, and you’re going to let it run towards us again?  Common sense, people, that’s all we ask!

Always happy!

Always happy!

That is a beautiful stretch of rail trail but now that Kobi is gone, I don’t walk it much.  I did take Sheba there, because she’s my only dog that I can count on to be friendly in every situation.  The last time I took her there, we weren’t on the trail for two minutes before we encountered a man with two small dogs off leash.  By the way, there is a leash law in that town, but apparently many people don’t feel obligated to comply.  Luckily there are plenty of other places to pick up the rail trail and walk, though I do miss the pretty scenery by the lake sometimes.  Unfortunately, sometimes the best way to deal with a DADO is to avoid them, if you can.  My thought is that you can’t teach common sense.

Scenery we miss when avoiding Dumb Ass Dog Owners.

Scenery we miss when avoiding Dumb Ass Dog Owners.

 

Sam Sunday – Basket Case

It’s all about Samantha today…..

Sam selfie

Showing off her selfie….is that her happy face?

Basket case

In her favorite spot…the laundry basket.  Now she’s really happy!

Sunday Selfies

We are joining the Sunday Selfie blog hop, hosted by The Cat On My Head.

nolasugar_bwbadge_pmAnd the Black & White Sunday blog hop, hosted by Sugar the Golden Retriever and Dachshund Nola.

Thank you to all the hosts, and please follow both hops through the links below!