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Monday, October 27, 2014

How To Survive Halloween Night with a Dog

I got a cool opportunity recently!

I was asked to write a guest post on Petco's community page about Halloween!

You probably already know how much I enjoy Halloween, and dressing up in costumes.   Jaz  has a lot of opportunities to use her different costumes.  I was going to write about all her different costumes, and the different places we use them.

But instead, the blog post was about Chewy.  Crazy dog Chewy.  And how to survive Halloween with a dog who goes crazy every time the doorbell rings.  Here's my advise:


Friday, October 24, 2014

A Dog Halloween Video, Why I Became a Dog Trainer

It's FINALLY done!!!   Halloween has gone to the dogs!  

Here's our newest Halloween dog trick video!  

Why settle for Tricks *OR* Treats when you can have both!!  :)

Many people have asked me why I spend so much time/ energy training my dogs and making videos.  I think I've finally figured out the answer.
1)  Because Jasmine LOVES it.  I'm not joking.  She LOVES training.  Because I use positive reinforcement, she gets really good treats whenever we practice.  So if even walk by the treat counter, she will start doing her trick resume, trying to get something from me.  As long as she enjoys doing it, I'll keep training and doing little tricks shows with her.
2)  I started making cute trick videos as a way of sharing Jasmine's talents to more people.  Because based on our experiences as a therapy dog team, I know how her simple little tricks can bring smiles and happiness to someone who is having a rough day.  And based on the friends I've made internationally through Jasmine, I know that dogs can be the bridge between cultures and people of all backgrounds.  They can bring a laugh or smile to anyone's face.

3) But it has even evolved from this.  Dog training has become a passion for me.  Visiting dogs in the shelters, it dawned on me that the vast majority of these dogs have never been given the proper tools to succeed.  They were never trained.  I have friends who volunteer at shelters and rescue groups to work with the training the dogs.  Dogs are more likely to be adopted if they can even sit on command.  
So then even if someone's circumstances change, and they need to re-home their dog, they're more likely to find a new owner for a well-trained, well-socialized dog.   So my conclusion is that if more people invested the time to train their dogs in the beginning, less dogs would end up being dumped at the shelters or just abandoned.   I personally consider dogs to be members of the family.  We try to teach our children to play nice and have good manners.  So why wouldn't we teach our pets this?   

THIS is my new reason why I make and share Jasmine's trick videos.  I hope to inspire others to work with their dogs.  They don't have to do tricks.  But just teaching basic obedience gives the dog a better chance in life.  So, this is my little way of making the world a more positive place.  :)

P.S.  When I first got Jasmine, I had never trained a dog in my life.  I just read books, and took classes.  I am not a professional dog trainer.  We just learned together.   And that's what helped create our strong bond.  And just look at what Jaz can do now!  It's living proof that if I can do it, anyone can do it!!  :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Adventures in Dog-Walking

My brother and sister-in-law (and kids) asked us to dog-sit while they were out of town.  They have 2 very large Goldendoodles! Ringo (male)  and Francie (female).  And I have a very small house.  So even though there are only four dogs, it feels like more.

Because I have a small house and now three large dogs (and one little energetic dog), I got the crazy idea in my head to try and take them all on a walk!  It was quite the adventure.   Here's the staring line up.

 We made is as far as the driveway before Chewy saw another dog and went crazy.  (He has some bad manners of barking and rushing at other dogs.  We're working on that!!  He's a work-in-progress.)  So we all went back in the house to calm down, untangle the leashes, and reorder the pack  It was darker when we attempted it the 2nd time, so less likely to run into other dogs being walked.

Here's the finishing line up.  The girls on the outside, and the boys in the middle.  Francie is more nervous and likes to hang back by me.  Jaz likes to do her own thing... keep up with the big dogs or stop and smell the roses.  (and maybe pee on them.)  And the boys are my sled dogs.  They can just go, go, go.  This order seemed to work, and we made it around the block.  Then one of my good friends came over and walked the girls, so I could just concentrate on the boys.  It was a beautiful thing.  Thank goodness for good friends!!

In the end, all the dogs were tired and listening pretty well.  So I call that a success.

Tomorrow's adventure:  Bath-time for 4 dogs?  Or then again, maybe not!!

P.S.  While we were walking down the street, I had the 1st verse to the Monkees theme song stuck in my head!!  I wonder why??  ;)

Here we come... 
Walking down the street...
We get the funniest looks from...
Everyone we meet....