Monday, June 24, 2013

PEDs: On Challenging Ourselves

As reactive-dog owners, we understand how much simpler it is to avoid.  But we also know how little good it does.  Our pooches need to be put in situations that challenge them -- all the while being set up to succeed.

After walking two safe routes for the past two months, we decided we needed a challenge for our PEDs walks, too.

We planned a route along the Bayfront for yesterday's walk.  And while it's less traveled than other paths in the area, there are still plenty of distractions - bikes, kids, other dogs...goose poo.

Our members have been doing so well.  I think that keeping a "safe," consistent location for the first several weeks has been really effective in getting the group to "click," especially our reactive dogs.

The new location worked out well (once we figured out where everyone was!), and it did supply some new experiences.  We'll be happy to give it another shot next week!

How do you challenge your pooches?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Obsessive Compulsive Doggy

Last night during our walk, it seemed like Tess had an upset stomach as she went, the bathroom quite a few times.

And we realized that each time she went, she peed almost immediately after. While she always pees second, we never noticed the pattern as it is usually in the morning or after she has eaten.

So it seems like Tess is a little OCD about her bowel movements.

We realized that this isn't the only thing she's obsessive about. She has to sit on the passenger side directly behind the passenger seat while in the car always. Even if her brother's crate is there - she'll make do. (I can't find the photo of this, but will post it on facebook when I do!)

It's no wonder that Tessie is always so worried! I wonder what other rituals she has that we don't allow her to do....

Does your dog have obsessions? Any rituals?

This post is in no way to make light of the serious effects OCD can have on humans and their families.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

PEDs: Commitment of the Group

We have loved the commitment we've gotten from our members since we started the group in May.

We've managed to get a good size turn-out on rainy days, hot days, and even holidays!

We have been so impressed.  Wynston's person mentioned that she would love to bring her other (read, easier) dog to the walks, but knows that the walks are more important for Wynston -- even though they are more stressful for her!

Look how close Wynston lets Tess get!
Little Nikki has made every walk so far!

We really think commitment and routine is so important to our pooches, whether that be feeding times, morning walks, or weekly group walks.

What routines do you have with your pooches?

Monday, June 17, 2013

60 Days of Morning Walks - Recap

You may remember here when I confessed how lazy this winter made us.  So we challenged ourselves to walk the pooches every day for 60 days.  How'd we do?

Not terrible!  The past few weeks have busy busy for both the humans in the household with business trips and early mornings in the office that have really put a damper on our morning walks.  Of course, we try to compensate with a nice evening walk, but that doesn't really count as a morning walk, does it?

The way the data stands we walked both pooches 38 days.  Five of the days we only took Tess, and one of the walks was Ed only.  So we're looking at a 63% success rate at taking both pooches on morning walks.

Not perfection, but we are pleased with the routine it has given us.  We (the humans) actually look forward to our walks each morning and are bummed on days where we have to leave early (or more often, wake up late!) and can't go on our walks.  I've noticed how much more ready for the day I feel after our morning walks.

Do you take your pooches for regular morning walks?  Do you find that it affects your day?

Friday, June 14, 2013

It's Raining Kibble

You might remember way back here when we did our kibble raiser, we promised to donate a pound of kibble for each "like" we received on our facebook.  And boy did you guys respond!

By the time we reached the end date, we had over 500 likes!  So true to our word, we picked up 500 POUNDS  -- yep, thirteen 40-pound bags -- of dog food for the pups at The ANNA Shelter.

One of the coolest things about donating this food is that not only will it feed the pups during their temporary stay at the shelter, The ANNA Shelter also has teamed up with Erie Animal Network to combine their pet food banks to help pet owners in need.

We knew we wanted to donate food that we would feed to our own pups, so we checked in at one of Tess & Ed's favorite places -- Mud Puppies.  We went with Victor Dog Foods, a brand that we have been contemplating switching the pooches over to for a few months ago.  Kim so very graciously gave us a HUGE discount to help make this possible.

It felt to great being able to support the organizations that support the Erie animal community.

Oh, and we had the pleasure to meet this little lady yesterday.  Meet Sapphire.  Like a few of the dogs that have been shared this past week, Sapphire isn't doing so hot in the kennel situation.  She would much rather be spending her time being a part of a family.  Within her kennel, she is visibly sad.  But as soon as she is out and has some human contact, she's a totally different dog.  Any Erie peeps looking to adopt a new best friend, this is one you want to check out!!

Thank you so much to everyone who made this donation possible -- especially all of YOU that liked our page!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Building Confidence

It's no secret that when we first brought Tess home she was a nervous dog.  After some serious crate training, she began to be able to relax at home.

But in new situations, she still lacked confidence.  She had next to no social skills and other dogs made her nervous, even though she really liked the idea of meeting them.

So we began taking her to Mud Puppies for social hour.  For the first few months, she hid under the chairs - the bigger dogs were just too scary!  After talking about how much she liked my neighbor's cat, it was suggested that Tess try out "Yippy Hour" for smaller dogs.

This was a great fit!  It allowed Tess to work on her social skills and confidence around other dogs while staying in her comfort zone.  That, paired with weekly outings to social hour, were a great prescription for Tess's confidence!

A year later, we brought home Edison, who definitely stretched Tess in new ways.  He taught her how to play, gave her a great tolerance for rude dogs, and showed her the joy of a squeaky toy.

We'd love to get Tess into the agility class we took Ed to for even more confidence-boosting activities.

Do you have a timid dog?  How did you build her confidence?

Monday, June 10, 2013

PEDs: Benefits for Humans

During our walk yesterday, one of our members told us that not only are the walk good for socializing her dog, but they are great for getting her out, too!

It's true!  Sure, the walks help wear out the dogs with mental and physical stimulation, but getting out for a walk is beneficial for the human end of the leash, too.

We also get to work on ensuring our bond with our pooches is the strongest it can be,

and we get to talk to other dog owners about gear, places to go, and things to do.

We can get advice on dealing with situations or behaviors,

and finally have someone that wants to hear stories about our pooches!

Do you have a community of dog owners in your area?  What do you find most beneficial?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Ed & Tess's Favorite Things: DINOS Vest

Since this post, we've gotten a lot of questions about Edison's vest.  We ordered it here after finding the Etsy shop through DINOS.  Not that long ago, we found Notes from a Dog Walker blog which has TONS of great info and learned that there was a name for Ed: a Dog in Need of Space!

After this incident, we decided we needed to be more proactive about having people giving Ed space.  So we decided to get the vest we had talked about long ago.  And we found exactly what we were looking for!  We didn't want something that said "DO NOT TOUCH," but something that made people think before approaching.

As we've said before, we like having a lot of positive human interactions with Ed, but they need to be totally on our terms.  As for dog interaction, those are on the back burner.  We want Ed to have tons of passive socialization experiences, but would need just the right dog with just the right owner and plenty of non-contact meetings before even considering a contact greeting.

On a side note, I started to think about this approach and wondering if there was a chance that we're doing more harm.  By not letting Edison ever greet dogs (and having him always on leash when we see other dogs), I worry that we are fueling his frustration.

Obviously without knowing where Edison's reactivity really would take him, erring on the side of caution is a WAY better approach.  I just worry that we are making it so he can NEVER meet dogs.  Did that make sense?  Any thoughts?

Does your pooch ever get to meet other dogs?  What is your criteria and approach?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bark in the Park 2013

Last night Tess & I went to Bark in the Park at Jerry Uht Stadium to watch the Erie SeaWolves take on the Portland Sea Dogs!

There were tons of dogs there!  In past years, pitbulls (and other controversial breeds) have been turned away, so we were so glad to see (a few!!) pitties mixed in with the crowd!!

With the number of dogs in attendance, it comes as no surprise that unwanted greetings between dogs was bound to happen.  There were, of course, many people who didn't understand the importance of personal space and careful greetings, but we didn't have any incidents and didn't hear any major commotion either!

We even met a new Therapy Dog named Shiloh!  She was the cutest!

Tess, of course, was a huge hit in her tutu...

and managed to make a new friend.

Unfortunately, at the top of the 11th, the score was tied - and we were tired!

But the SeaWolves managed to pull out a victory in the 12th!!

What kind of events do you attend in your area?