Like any good pet parent (because we all know that we all have this), I have a container filled with dog costume elements for every season in my attic. This year we downsized, so I told myself "No new costumes for Halloween."
..I told myself "no new dog costumes for Halloween" while walking through the local pet boutique. I told myself "no new dog costumes for Halloween" as I browsed through spiders, cowboys, sharks, and scuba costumes. I told myself "no new dog cost--" as my eyes fell upon a specific set of costumes, and my inner mantra of Halloween self-control disappeared into an ether of candy-corn flavored excitement. The no-new-costume chant was soon replaced with "This is amazing...This is amazing..." as I grabbed my purchases, headed for the register, and then hurried home to try out the new outfits on the pups which leads me to Halloween:
Arie and Fulton got a little festive today with a throwback to a 90s favorite for many.
The truth is, since we've added Fulton to the family, there have been many, fantastic Harry and Lloyd like moments and when you have two goofy dogs and you see Dumb and Dumber tuxedo dog costumes, your only reaction can be this:
Don't worry; dog actors were paid handsomely with roasted turkey, their highest value treat, for sitting still for photos and wearing their costumes. They had food, they had jobs, and none of our pets' heads were falling off, promise.
Happy Halloween, everyone! We hope that your pups looked as fabulously derpy as ours and that you had a great evening! What did you dress your pups up as?
This morning, I woke up at 5:30 AM and could not get back to sleep. After a few minutes of tossing and turning, I finally gave up and surrendered myself to the mercy of the Macbook and the coffee pot and positioned myself near the window so as to enjoy the pending Atlanta sunrise.
As I typed away, jotting down ideas for work, Life with Arie, and beyond, I became aware of a low, rhythmic sound coming from the living room. Steadily, the noise got louder, and louder, until it was clearly identifiable: Arie, my White German Shepherd, was snoring.
I peeked into the living room, because Arie only snores when she sleeps on her back; so much cute cannot be missed. As she usually does anytime I try to sneak up on her, she cracked one eye open, surveyed me and the rest of the scene, then grumbled, rolled back over, and went back to her beauty sleep. I thought about grabbing a photo of her resting, then started to think about the numerous photos I have of this dog at rest, bring us to the "seven sides of a sleepy White German Shepherd":
1: The Sofa Stretch
2. The Sunbathing Beauty
3. The (ahem) Southern Exposure
4. The "Don't look at me, I need my beauty rest".
5. The Vigilante
6. The Snuggler
7. The Sprawler
Does your dog have a few funny sleep positions? Share a photo on our Facebook page or tell us about them in the comments section.
Arie and I just moved into a home in the city of Atlanta (Hooray for being ITP! If you don't know what ITP is, you probably don't live in Atlanta, and that's okay). Since moving in, the partners-in-crime..err...cats, have developed a new game to play with Arie. We'll call it "dumpster diving". This new game is helping Arie to eat things that she shouldn't, taking our carefully set-out dog nutrition plan and tossing it out the window. Here's a little bit about how "Dumpster Diving" is played:
Dumpster Diving is a simple game for the feline participant. You simply jump onto the counter, and wait. When the canine approaches, pick an object close to you--Any object. Now, lightly tap that object with your paw until it finally falls to ground where it either breaks, bounces, or sits peacefully. Now, watch.
Dumpster Diving is a game of opportunity for the canine participant. Your actions go like this: Mull around the house being a good girl. Chew on your Kong, eat a few bites of Nutro kibble, sleep. Eventually, look to find your favorite pals, the cats, and see what they're up to. Oh, look! They're in the kitchen, AND they want to PLAY! They're tossing you toys! Hooray! OH OH OH! They're tossing you treats! HOORAY!
Dumpster Diving is like a game of keep-away for the human, except you're always the kid in the middle and you just can't seem to get that stupid ball. You go about your day, minding your own business, when you hear a sudden "THUMP!" in the kitchen. You walk in to find your beloved pets committing mischievous acts: Cats are on the counter, waiting to see if the dog will get in trouble. The dog looks up at you with guilt eyes, having just eaten/chewed/played with whatever the cats knocked to the floor. Your part in the game is to clean up whatever mess has just happened, and then repeat when the game is played again, all against your will.
Why call the game "Dumpster Diving"? The cats "dump" items from the counter and Arie "dives" for them. From a few rounds of "Dumpster Diving," I've discovered that my cats can be even bigger jerks than I thought, that Arie is a trusting, gullible soul, and also that Arie doesn't care about what she eats nearly as much as I do.
If you've read my previous posts, you know that dog nutrition, especially when it comes to dealing with common ailments, like allergies, is something that I care about. Your dog's diet is important, but they might not be as strict about it as you are. In fact, The Nutro Company recently released an infographic that discusses that fact:
Arie and I area going to work harder to make sure she's only eating what's good for her and what she loves, sticking to that grain-free diet to help with her allergies. What do you do to keep your pet away from foods that they shouldn't eat, or to help them eat healthy?
We've been telling you about our giveaway throughout the A to Z Challenge and Ultimate Blog Challenge. Since you stuck with us throughout the madness, we're giving you some swag. I'm ready to announce the complete giveaway basket, and ready for you to win!
The basket is a treasure trove of goodies for health-conscious pet parents and their beloved pups. We have $80 worth of items, including:
While we do love all of our international blog friends, we do have to keep the giveaway stateside--Only continental US entries will be included. The giveaway is open for two weeks. After that, we'll notify the winners. A blog comment is mandatory so that we can email the winners at the address they provide. A valid email is required--don't worry though, you're email isn't publicized. Winners who do not respond within 48 hours will be replaced with another winner. After winners have been confirmed, I'll email the winners to get their address so that the prize can be mailed. **If you have any problems with the giveaway, email me at canismajortreats (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you!
Today I am tired, and toying with the terms of the A to Z Challenge...and the letter T. One of the principles of the challenge is to keep your posts short and sweet so that more of your peers can enjoy them without too much of a time sacrifice. In the spirit of this aspect of the challenge, and the letter T, I have ten "T" terms that I'm going to describe in ten words each:
Training is an essential for all pet parents--no excuses.
If your dog is food motivated, treats help with training.
Focus on basic obedience, but you can also teach tricks.
Tweet with us and follow us at @masdemoore on Twitter.
We're trying to teach Arie to "speak" and eventually talk.
We have a special basket for Arie's collection of toys .
Wagging tails are the best greeting when you come home.
Time is elusive when you're trying to complete blog challenges.
Blog and sharing tools are a new writer's best friends.
Three days after mentioning them, I gave Arie flea treatment.
That is all. Stay tuned for tomorrow...when you may hinthint hinthint get another reveal at a prize for our giveaway basket.
Today has been an absolutely wonderful day. I slept in late. I got to go to a wonderful fundraiser. I met a new neighbor...who loves dogs. Awesome day? Check. Now for the details.
Today was the Stylin' for Sheppies event with the German Shepherd Dog Rescue of Georgia. this event was a total blast, complete with adorable German Shepherd Dogs, a great fundraiser principle, and two companies putting themselves out there to help a great rescue group. Stylin' for Sheppies was offering $5 for a manicure, $10 for an adult haircut, and $5 for a kid's haircut from a local salon ,with all proceeds going towards the rescue. Very cool. The salon is also right beside of a Firehouse Subs, which offered a discount to all participants. Also very cool.
Kelly, from Sew Alluring, who is not only my blog friend but also a bestie and a neighbor, went with me to get our nails did. Oh yes, that is one phrase where I don't mind abusing grammar. :) Unfortunately, when we got there, only one of the stylists who had offered her time was present (and she was amazing, handling all the haircuts solo), but the one for manicures was MIA. Boo on her. Still, hooray for rescue. As neither of us was in need of a cut, we instead planned to go on our merry, after donations to the rescue and meeting the gorgeous sheps they had with them.
All of the shepherds present were loving and friendly, showcasing the true family friendly nature of this breed. As usual, the puppy stole the show, but rightfully so. Riley is going to be a small shepherd, as her paws were nothing like Arie's gargantu-paws at her age, and she has an amazing disposition. It was hard for me to get a picture of her, as anytime I got close, she ran right up to me to love on me. So cute! We did get one nice though, and she became the focal point of my event recap on Examiner.
After the event, my roommate and I went for lunch at a local Mexican restaurant that's part of the Monterrey's chain. Success number two of the day? Finding out that they have the exact quesadilla that I LOVED back home, but that I haven't been able to find at a Monterrey's in Georgia. Score. After lunch, we headed back home where I grabbed a cider (the hard kind), my lap top, and headed out to the porch to enjoy the sunshine.
While typing away, someone strolled past with a little schnauzer who alerted me to his presence with lots of barking. After a few minutes, he chilled out, his owner gave a quick apology, and a conversation begun. I have a normal neighbor. For reals. For those of you who know me well, you know that my neighbors have been an issue in my new apartment community--They are very nosy, and like to call to complain to the office about EVERYTHING. Like when Arie reacts to their dog...who is also leash reactive. Go figure. This neighbor was friendly, congenial, funny, and had similar tales of woes with neighbors and their nosiness. She also loves dogs. Woot!
Today has been one of those days that you just chalk up to a wonderful weekend--and exactly what I needed for my Sunday. How was your day?
Thanks again for stopping by the blog! I love getting to know each and every one of you and your pets, and hearing what you have to say, whether we met through our blog friends or in person at Bark World. You're all pretty darn awesome!
Growing up, I never had dogs that liked toys. No, really. My parent's miniature dachshund, Watson, is the first to even take to the infamous Loofa dogs, a seemingly universal favorite. When Arie was a wee bitty thing, she loved the loofa dogs as well--and then she discovered stuffing. After the stuffing discovery, a move to stuffing-less toys solved her tug o' war needs, but there was still something missing. Arie needed something to chew on when she just wants to lay down and gnaw away--something other than a wooden vase. Enter Kong.
Kong is one of the most quickly recognized dog toy brands on the market today. They tout their durability and enrichment for dogs, with the motto:
"We satisfy your pets' instinctive, predatory, and environmental needs in a safe and domestic way."
Consumer terms: We make things that make your dog happy that your dog won't break in five seconds.
As I mentioned in my first review of a Kong product, the Kong Tug Dog Toy, which we gave Arie on her birthday, German Shepherd Dogs have some of the most powerful jaws on a domestic canine, meaning that their chew toys have to be hardcore. So far, Kong has been the only brand that we've tried that has truly stood the test of Arie's mouth, so we do have quite the collection:
Do you have a lot of Kong toys for your pets? What are your other favorite brands? I don't want to just hear about them--I want to see them! Share photos with us on our Facebook wall of your pet and their favorite toy. Don't be shy! While your there, if you haven't had a chance to already, go ahead and "Like" us. You know you want to. ;-)
This post is a continuation of my A to Z Challenge and Ultimate Blog Challenge series. To see the rest of the series, find your favorite letters here:
A is for Alphabet Challenges, American Shepherds, Alsatian Shepherds, and More!
B is for Built-Ins for Pet-Friendly Homes
C is for…Cautious Car Rides for Arie
Deciding to Get a Dog: The Do’s and Dont’s of Adding a Pet to Your Family
Ears: Caring For Your Dog’s Ears and Discussing Arie’s Best Feature!
F is for Fleas, Facebook, Farm life, and Failure
Grain Free Diets: The Way to Happiness for Dogs with Allergies
Habit Forming Behavior: The Curse and Blessing of an Intelligent Dog
Ice: Could one of Arie’s favorite things be a health risk for dogs?
J is for Jellyfish and Other Fun Atlanta Animals
Additional posts for the Ultimate Blog Challenge: Happy Easter, Happy Puppy
**Fun turn of events: Today Arie was featured on Kong's Pinterest boards--Check it out!
We find ourselves today (with only thirty minutes to spare!) on the letter I, for Ice. I had originally planned this to be a light hearted post, as we've been talking about a lot of the heavy stuff lately, but alas, the internet had other plans.
Arie LOVES ice. If I open the freezer door, Arie becomes suctioned to my side with her eyes trained on the freezer. Nothing will pass by that portal unless she sees it. As soon as she hears the rustle of the ice in the ice tray, it's over. I'm getting sad puppy eyes and that little "treat please" dance--The one where they seem to bounce a little on their two front paws?
I don't give her the ice without her earning it. We use it to practice stay commands and a few others, like sit, lay down, and so forth. Sometimes, resisting the urge is hard.
Arie usually eats one or two ice cubes a week, depending on the day. We don't regularly give them to her after a hot walk or to cool her down, just as a treat that she likes. When I logged on to write to this post, I did a little Google search on ice and dogs to find out if there was anything interesting on the topic. I was truly surprised by what I found.
Apparently there was an email that circulated the web on the matter, discussing how one pet parent had a life-endangering experience with her pooch after feeding them ice. The email details her account of giving the dog ice and having to rush to the emergency vet because of severe bloat and issues for the dog. I found the exact same story in several forums, and even on an Examiner pet writer's page.
"In an effort to keep your dog cool you may give them some ice to chew or put some cubes in their water bowl. Sounds logical? NO!!! Ice, ice water or very cold water can cause severe muscle spasms that result in bloat." - LA Pet Care Examiner
After years as a dedicated student and 24 years with a type A personality, I don't usually accept information lightly. I had only read about this risk on various chat forums and then in this Examiner article, so I kept searching. I did find an article on PetPlace.com about the matter.
"There are several known risk factors associated with bloat but eating ice cubes has not been firmly documented. Apparently, an email has been floating around the internet identifying ice cubes as a problem. I found some information in blogs but nothing solid. I talked to several veterinarians and none of them confirmed this claim." -Dr. Jon Rappaport, PetPlace
While my gut and research tend to lean towards Arie's ice cube habit being okay, I know that we have a lot of amazingly well informed pet parents in our circle of bloggers. What do you guys know about the ice debate? If you're new to the blog, weigh in as well! I'd love to get your opinions.
We're onto H now, and onto the topic of habit forming behavior. If you haven't been able to read recent posts, I'm doing the A to Z blog challenge in April, where I post using topics inspired by the alphabet almost every day. To stay up to date on the series, subscribe to my blog to have it delivered to your inbox or to your reader.
With people, we talk about our bad habits. Nail biting (guilty), caffeine (guilty), lying (just white ones), etc. By calling them bad habits, in a way we excuse our actions...it's something we slipped into, an accident--one day we bite one nail, then two, then three...and all of the sudden it's a habit.
With dogs, we talk about bad behavior. Your dog barks when someone walks by the door--bad dog. Your dog chews on your stuff--Bad dog. By calling it bad behavior, we imply that the issue is something to do with the dog. We give ourselves excuses, but somewhat blame the dog for their actions in the way we describe these things.
Dog behavior is just your dog developing a habit, bad or good.
I've been thinking about this a lot today, all because of a stupid move on the Internet. I made the mistake of wandering onto Craigslist for furniture, and being the sap that I am, checked the pets section. Being completely masochistic, I searched for "German Shepherd". Sure enough, a list of dogs popped up. Most of these dogs ran along the 1 and a half year mark, the perfect age to stop being a puppy, and, if not raised properly, to start being a really big problem. People give reasons like "the dog is too hyper for us" or mention that this dog, at a year and a half old, "isn't house trained and needs to be an outdoor dog". In other words, their dog has formed bad habits, and they can't deal with it anymore.
Dogs often develop bad habits when they are in search of fulfilling a need that they have. Dogs who are highly energetic breeds, like a Border Collie, German Shepherd, or Jack Russell can develop destructive habits if their energy needs are not met. Intelligent breeds, with several names from the same list I just gave (Shepherds are number 3!), also fall into this category. Dogs are smart. When you don't play games or don't give them toys, they'll make their own. Take this little guy--he taught himself to play fetch!
Arie, when she was about a year old, taught herself one such form of entertainment as a tantrum. Any time you went to the bathroom, Arie would follow you into the room and smack her big face in your lap while you were occupied. After growing up in a family with four people (6 after my sister had kids) and one bathroom, my bathroom time is precious to me. While I love my dog, my time in that room is a private affair, and even she is not invited. We began shutting Arie out of the bathroom and leaving her on the other side of the door, much to her dismay.
At first she whined. Then she barked. And then the crazy girl figured out how to OPEN THE DOOR. This wasn't a jump-and-hit-it-with-your-paw by chance venture either. Arie knew how the handle worked. She used her muzzle to push the lever down while pushing on the bottom of the door with her paw to pop it open.
My dog taught herself a habit as a way to "stick it to the man" for trying to bar her from bathroom time. When we moved to our new apartment, the handles were, thank goodness, round door knobs, so she can no longer practice this feat.
To help Arie avoid learning any other bad habits, I try to do what is required of all pet parents: train, entertain, and occupy.
Train your dog by teaching them good habits. Sit, stay, speak, roll over, lay down, down, crate, etc. By giving your dog a positive task, you create a stronger bond between you and your dog, give them a sense of purpose, and keep their brains busy with good things.
Entertain your dog by giving them the exercise and play time they need. In my last post, I mentioned that I'm upping Arie's walk time to get her energy out. We play catch with her favorite tennis balls and stuffing-less toys, and we always play "tag", another game of Arie's device---Arie will get into her play bow, then bounce toward me, then run away. If I run, she'll chase me and tap me with her nose, then run away, waiting for me to come touch her on the back, then so forth and so forth. I've taught that, even while playing tag, if I call her the game is over to avoid letting this behavior become problematic and instead keeping it fun.
Occupy your dog when you can't be there to train or entertain. For Arie, right now I use puzzle toys and treat hiding toys, like her Kong, while I'm at work. You can also try boarding your dog or taking them to a day camp for dogs, where they can interact with other people and other dogs to have a great time.
What funny or odd habits have your dogs formed? I know that many of you are amazing trainers and great at working with your dogs, so share your secrets to training, entertaining, and occupying your pooch with the rest of us in the comment section. I'd love to hear them for help with Arie! I don't usually post on training or my thoughts on it either, so tell me what you think---Do you agree with the post? Disagree? Love it? Hate it? Weigh in with your thoughts.