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 all know that baby girl is a beast. By a beast, I mean that my lovable ball of fur and energy is a whopping 96 lbs...of, again, fur and energy, so she can be a lot to handle at times. Arie is still only 2, so she has a lot of puppy left in her. Usually, I love this about her--We have wonderful walks, lots of play time, and even a few spontaneous dance parties (she likes to put her paws on my shoulders and dance!). While her energy level is great for our life, it can complicate a few tasks, like dental care.
That all being said, Arie is better than some at letting me brush her teeth. About once every two weeks, I can get that giant, wiggly body to hold still long enough for me scrub those pearly whites with her peanut butter toothpaste and canine toothbrush. I thought that I was doing a great job, given that some pet parents either can't get their dogs to let them brush their teeth at all or don't make oral care a priority. Even with my effort, Arie's teeth still managed to get that yellow residue, even if on a small scale, and her gums looked a bit red in a few areas--I knew it was time for a cleaning.
Have you ever paid to have your dogs teeth cleaned? While not a massive expense, it did add a little over $100 to my vet bill after baby girl boarded there while I was out of the country. She came back with her teeth looking much cleaner and whiter. After seeing the difference the cleaning made, I knew I had to do a better job of caring for Arie's teeth on a regular basis so that they wouldn't start to look that bad again. I started doing a bit of research on the subject and came across some information in the Nutro Knowledge Network on the matter (please note: This post was written by a Nutro Knowledge Network Member and sponsored by the Nutro Company.)
Nutro is the company behind the ever-popular Greenies treats for dogs and cats. The company isn't just about providing snacks that help clean your pet's teeth--They also work to readily provide information for you on the subject of your pet's oral health to help you be an informed pet parent as you care for your pets. While exploring the Greenies site, I came across the Pet Dental Health Quiz, which walks you through a few questions to help you figure out where you may want to up your care for your pet's teeth. The quiz can be for cat parents or dog parents, so pick the one that works for you and have at it.
How'd you do? I found that Arie could definitely be getting better oral care, so I'm going to work to brush her teeth more often and let her gnaw on dental chews from Greenies a bit more often to help keep those teeth sparkling. You can join the Greenies Smart Treating program to save on your next batch of Greenies and to get more information on your pets' oral health if you'd like to save a bit on dental chews and learn more.
I know that you all care a great deal about your pets and their teeth...any tips you want to share? I'd especially like to hear from those of you with cats, as Briseis and Jasper attempt to shred my arm with their back feet any time I go near a toothbrush for them.
Maybe I'm just a little too snarky for my own good...but lately there has been a lot of negative buzz over the site Dog Shaming, and I just don't get it.
Dog Shaming is a Tumblr, the ever popular micro-blogging site, devoted to dogs that have done wrong. Each dog is given a sign telling us of their misdeed, usually at the scene of the crime, to document the mishap.
Some people find this amusing (me, and half of the Today show).
Other people find it awful and spout out comments like "The owners should be shamed instead!" and whatnot (majority of pet bloggers I've seen comment on the issue, and the other half of the Today show).
Here are most of the reasons I've heard from people objecting to the website, including a few from my peers in the Nutro Knowledge Network, as well as many from my friends on Twitter and Facebook:
Here's the thing: I agree with every single one of these points. At the same time, I don't think Dog Shaming is as sinister as some people have made it out to be. Let's face it: We've all had that moment. Dog training is a process, and there are always mishaps along the way. In the moment, as a pet parent, you have no option but to deal with the issue, reinforce your training, and move forward, often laughing about what happened after it's over. To me, this is what Dog Shaming is.
Should owners be ignoring the negative behavior? No. Should they be working on their training? Yes. Are medical problems funny? No. Does humor help you deal with hard situations, like a pet having a serious illness? Sometimes, yes. I think most of how you enjoy this site is based on your perception of it and how you approach it. Are some of the post harsh? Of course--but so are many on various humor sites across the web. Some of them are just meant to be funny, and don't comment on issues with the dog's behavior, like this one:
While I love the site, I think it would do well to do an area for bragging rights as well. Perhaps a previously shamed dog could brag about a behavior being corrected after training was completed. After all, balance is the healthiest way, right?
What are your thoughts on Dog Shaming? Do you think it's a truly negative thing, or all in good fun? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
This website was discussed within the Nutro Network and inspired this blog post, though the opinions contained within are solely my own. This post was written by a Nutro Knowledge Network Member and sponsored by the Nutro Company, though the opinions contained within do not belong to or represent the Nutro Company.
Now that I'm getting back to the blogosphere, I'm enjoying catching up on friend's posts and enjoying all of their interesting thoughts, finds, and tips. Jodi Stone's blog about her dogs, Sampson and Delilah, has always been a favorite of mine. In her most recent post, Jodi blogged about an ideal dog park, and asked what value readers would put on such a haven.
Dog parks are a big point of desire for me and for Arie. So far, we still haven't conquered our dog and leash aggression issues, so dog parks are off limits until Arie can learn to play nicely with others. I still love reading about parks and about their features, as when the day comes that her training has progressed far enough for Arie to go off-leash with playmates, I want to take her to the best parks in the city to let her get her run on.
This thought trail, along with Jodi's post, reminded me of a recent topic in the Nutro Knowledge Network, a community project by Nutro to help local dog parks called "Room to Run". (As a reminder for all of my posts regarding the Knowledge Network, this post was written by a Nutro Knowledge Network Member and sponsored by the Nutro Company.)
The Room to Run Dog Park Appreciation Project works to support local community dog parks and off-leash areas so that pet parents and pooches everywhere can enjoy exercise and socialization with their peers. In the past two years, Nutro was able to work with 60 dog parks in the US and Canada to better their facilities for those using them. In 2012, the program is enjoying a change of pace and is now a grant application program, with a focus on working closely with park departments. Here are just a few people speaking out about last year's program to give you an idea of its impact:
Do you know of a park that could use the help from Room to Run? Submit a Grant Application by August 31 to the program for a chance to help improve your park! For more information, check out the Room to Run Facebook page.
What changes would you make to your local dog park?