Blog Fart!

I don't know what has happened, but my images seem to have gone on vacation. Since I put an image in every post....that's a bunch.

Give me time, I'll get 'er fixed.


Housebreaking Revisited

A friend posted recently that she felt it was time to kill her dogs. I asked her, "what did they do this time?" The dogs had apparently used the living room as their "personal toilet". She was kidding about killing her dogs, of course, but we can all identify with the frustration she was feeling.

I thought about this and it occurred to me, this friend has relocated several times since becoming a dog owner and both her canine companions are still rather young. It seems that relocating to a new environment is what's disrupting the housebreaking and causing serious setback. It makes sense that the dog no longer knows what door leads to the great outdoors, everything is unfamiliar.

Any new environment should be coupled with reintroducing the dog to proper and expected bathroom behavior just as you did when initially housebreaking him. There is the preferred door for going out, the timing (first thing in the morning, after meals, before bed, etc.), the praise; all that. With the dog being more mature, the reintroduction of bathroom duties should not take as long as it initially did when he was a youngster but it is just as important to teach the dog that "this is how it's done" in the new environment.

Therapy dogs visiting a new facility need the same reinforcement. Making an initial trip to the new facility to learn your way around, meet staff and locate a "bathroom area" for your dog is time well spent. Figure out if you'll need plastic bags for cleanup, or if the area is remote/vegetated enough to not worry. When you take your dog to the facility for the first time, visit the "bathroom area" before entering the facility. Any therapy dog should be given the opportunity to relieve himself before going to work.

Note! I've taught all my dogs "key words" for elimination, "go potty", "go poop", etc. Just as with the post bath command, "shake!", this is taught as the dog is doing said activity. The dog learns to associate the word "potty" with urinating. Eventually, you can give the command and if the dog needs to go, he will.

Keep plastic bags in your car for fecal pickup. This is a must for all public areas. If I can't find an outside waist receptacle for it, I tie it to the bumper of my car. Using grocery plastic bags makes this easy as the handles are long enough to tie around a ball hitch securely till I get home and can toss it in my own garbage can.

Picking up poop 101: Use clean plastic bags. Get one (or two) plastic bags (if two, put one inside the other). Place your hand in the bag(s) like putting on a glove. Using your "gloved" hand, pick up the poop. Turn the bag(s) inside out and "voila!" the poop is in the bag. Knot securely.


Always Welcome

Dog lovers will agree that when a canine companion pays a visit, it's always welcome company. One of the reasons that pet assisted therapy is so valuable. Dogs never judge. Jazz is clearly happy for the attention as is the gentleman happy to enjoy her company.

Special thanks to the facility for this wonderful photograph and thanks to the kind gentleman (name withheld) for allowing us to use it.
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First Snow for The Babies!

We didn't get much accumulation, but it was a lovely wet snow! This was Nestle's first and he was captivated by it (looking out the car window, above). Jazz really liked racing around the yard in the snow, but she shook it off her fur regularly so it was difficult to capture her picture! Below is the dock....and so much snow falling that you can't really see the lake!


Fit as a Fiddle!

Nestle is back to his old "wild puppy" self! Here he is this calm winter morning taking a (brief!) pause from racing around with Jazz. I can't convey nor measure the level of thankfulness I feel for his life being spared.

Bonus! This is one of my all time favorite things to see on the lake. Ring Billed Gulls take winter residence on the lake, which are a joy to watch. Sometimes they fish right off our dock though mostly the hang out in the cove opposite from us. I adore how they follow a tug (reminds me of fishing boats on the coast) and I finally got a picture of it: