Thursday, May 30, 2013

Say What?!

I don't like wearing my uniform in public after work. People see ANIMAL CONTROL written on my back in 3 inch letters and feel the need to talk to me. Usually it's to complain about their neighbors. I try to smile and hand them my card, asking them to call me in the morning. But then there are those people who leave me speechless. This is one of those stories.

I popped into Pet Supermarket after work to pick up some more training treats for Jedi. A woman saw my shirt and wanted to tell me about her English bulldog. The conversation was going along nicely until she told me about how she got her dog. She said the breeder gives away all the males at seven years old, and all the females at five. Gives away? Yes, gives away. Then she told me that her dog had fathered hundreds of champions. If I were a good detective I would've calmly asked "Really, who's your breeder?" Instead my brain was screaming "What the ****?!"

No breeder I know just gives her dogs away, especially a stud who sires champions. You'd have a better chance at getting one of her kidneys! No, I would bet my next paycheck this woman's "breeder" was nothing more than a puppy mill. English bulldogs are one of the more popular breeds these days, which makes them prime for puppy mills.

It's been over a week since this incident. I keep thinking about that woman and her dog. And I keep wondering "What could I have done differently?" How many other bulldogs are out there from this so-called breeder? If I was a better animal control officer I would have found a way to share the following with her:

How YOU can help stop puppy mills
Credit: Pets Adviser

But I didn't. Fortunately her dog appeared loved and well cared for. However, I'd still like to do something, so I'm sharing this information with you. Please share it with others. Hopefully somehow, someway, we'll make a difference. -- K

Monday, May 27, 2013

Beat the Heat Puppy Treat #2

Jedi loves ice cubes, so when I saw the Kong Easy Freeze I just had to get it. I got the mold that makes six large cubes, though I've seen one that makes a bunch of smaller ones. The mold comes with three free mixes as well. So far we've made the chicken soup flavor and the maple/sweet potato flavor, leaving a white cheddar cheese flavor left to try. Jedi doesn't seem to have a preference. Roxy, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with them. The Kong website sells additional mixes, though I'd probably just freeze watered down broth. Do you have any better ideas? Jedi would love to know! -- K

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Rhymes With Sit

In obedience class last week I learned that there are two types of sits -- the tuck sit and the rock sit -- and I taught Jedi the wrong one for competitive obedience. Oh sit.

The tuck sit is where a dog plants his front feet and tucks his butt up underneath himself. This is the sit of choice as the dog stays in heel position when going from a stand to a sit.

With the rock sit a dog plants his rear feet and leans back into the sit. The longer the dog, the farther he falls from heel position. A nice, long German shepherd like Jedi can easily be off by 4 to 6 inches. How does this happen? By teaching your puppy to site by letting him with a piece of food held over his nose. (Sound familiar?) So now six months and sixty pounds later I'm trying fix this. Grrrr. Wish I'd known this earlier.

To fix this I'm trying to kiss Jedi into a sit while practically holding him up by his collar so he tucks his butt underneath. Did I mention that he's nearly 80 pounds? My trainer swears he'll get it before my arm breaks. We're trying to make the tuck sit second nature -- a muscle memory kind of thing. However, I feel like it's a "blind leading the blind" scenario. I don't know which one of us is more confused. -- K

Friday, May 24, 2013

Back to the Arboretum

Hubby and I took the dogs back to the Arboretum. It went better this time, probably because both dogs had prong collars. There was definitely less pulling. The dogs behaved well enough that I actually got some decent pictures. Unfortunately Jedi still acted like an idiot when we came across other people and dogs on the trails. sigh. I wish I could break him of that. Any ideas? -- K

Roxy on a shady part of the trail

Jedi takes a break by the creek

The wildflowers are in bloom -- gorgeous!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beat the Heat Puppy Treat #1

It's May and Florida has officially become hot. I was in Wal-Mart the other day buying ice cream for Hubby and look what I found: Dogsters ice cream style treat for dogs. The dogs love it! The hardest part was keeping Jedi from eating the paper cup. We got four ice cream cups for less than $2.50. Jedi and Roxy say that's a good deal! -- K

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bark Box #2

Another Bark Box came today. Jedi and I are very excited about it. Want to know what's inside?

The first thing I saw was a bright purple eggplant. It turned out to be an Orbee-Tuff toy from Planet Dog. I've been looking at Planet Dog toys for a while now and am excited to finally see if they are as awesome as I've heard. The eggplant had a quarter-sized hole (they called it a "treat spot") in the top so I smeared a little cream cheese inside and dropped in a couple milk bones. 20 minutes later Jedi was still chewing on it. Good sign!

There was also a BeHAMoth smoked pork bone from Lucky Dog. Jedi will be getting this tomorrow during Game of Thrones! The bone says that it's 100% natural and made in the USA. Let's see if Jedi likes it. (I'm laughing out loud because if piggy Jedi can put it in his mouth, he'll like it.)

There was a bag of Grill-icious beef and sweet potato treats. This one also claims to be 100% natural and made in the USA. Jedi and Roxy approve, though I think they stink.

The last thing in the box was a pack of Bocce's Bakery Green Juice biscuits. They are made from spinach, kale, apples, spirulina, mint and flax seeds. They're bite-sized and smell much better than the Grill-icious treats. Jedi ate them up as well. But honestly, he'll eat anything. Roxy turned her nose up at them.

We're having a lot of fun with these Bark Boxes. It's like Christmas every month! Want one of your own? Click here and get $5 off! -- K

Friday, May 17, 2013

Puppy Cakes

Two weeks ago I ordered a couple boxes of puppy cake mix and a bone shaped silicone baking mold. I made the peanut butter one first. The end result didn't turn out as pretty as I would have liked. The cakes didn't hold up well -- two out of every three cakes broke coming out of the mold. Maybe the fact that the mix is wheat-free had something to do with it. However, the ugly pieces didn't slow the dogs down any. Even picky Roxy ate the treats with enthusiasm. (This is a huge compliment from a dog who only wants real meat and cheese.) The box claims that the ingredients are "human grade" so yes, I tasted one! I thought it was kind of bland -- but I didn't make them for me to eat . . .

I mixed up the second box a few days later. Roxy and I both agreed that the carob cakes were better. Yes, I tasted that one too. However, they also broke coming out of the mold, so I think maybe the design of the mold is the problem. (NOTE: This was the first time I've ever used silicone bakeware, so I'm not ruling out "user error.") Again, the dogs didn't mind eating the ugly pieces. The cake mixes don't contain any preservatives and the leftovers were moldy within four days. If you decide to make some puppy cakes for your dogs, I suggest that you use them up quickly. "Bone" appetite! -- K

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Trash Warning

Don't be fooled by the pretty face.
Jedi is a bad trash dog.
Jedi and I came home late Monday evening after training class. I heard him rustling in the front bathroom while I was putting things away. I caught him with a mouth full of toilet paper. Yuck. (Jedi loves toilet paper and Kleenex, especially if it's used.) I took the toilet paper out of his mouth, fed the dogs a late dinner and we went to bed. I thought nothing else of it.
The next morning I found Jedi hacking. Nothing came up so I assumed his stomach was upset because he had a late dinner. I asked Hubby to watch him and I went to work. A couple hours later Hubby sent a picture to my phone. Jedi had thrown up a tampon. Apparently one of my son's friends had wrapped it up and stuck in the bathroom trash the night before. I didn't even know it was there! Besides being grossed out I was a little horrified. What if it hadn't come up? What if it had become lodged in his intestinal track? By the way, this isn't a rare occurrence. If you Google "dog ate tampon" you'll get five pages of hits! Probably the most helpful one was Four Things to Know if Your Dog Ate a Used Tampon. I hope you never need to know these things.
Is it Jedi-proof?
When I got home from work Tuesday evening Hubby and I went on "The Great Bathroom Trash Can Hunt." We needed a can heavy enough that Jedi couldn't knock it over. We also needed one with a lid that he couldn't open. This was not an easy find because Jedi uses his nose and his feet all the time. We Jedi-tested every trash can we could find. I'm sure it looked funny to those passing by to see two grown people pushing, slapping, and shoving garbage cans in the housewares aisle. It took a while but we finally found a can that looked promising. And we found it at Wal-Mart of all places. This rectangular trash can is made by Better Homes and Gardens. It has a heavy foot pedal and a lid that fits inside an outer lip, making it harder to nose open. At $25 it was a bit pricey, but we bought two anyway (one for each bathroom -- just in case). I keep telling myself that surgery to remove an embedded tampon would cost much, much more than $50. Unfortunately, finding a trash can for the kitchen has proven to be more difficult. Any suggestions? -- K

Monday, May 13, 2013

Another Class

Tonight Jedi and I start another class at K-9 Obedience Club. This is a "real" class too, not like those puppy classes we were taking earlier. Those were about socializing as much as training.

This new class, Beginner Foundations, is a big dog class. ("Big" as in "not for puppies," as opposed to "not for Chihuahuas.") We'll be learning the basics of competitive obedience -- things like heel, front and finish. Hopefully I'll learn how to teach Jedi not to pull. (And how not to be an ass around other dogs. I don't know what's gotten in to him lately but I don't like it. I'd sure like to know how to make it stop.)

This class is also the starting point for Rally which looks like a lot of fun. My biggest fear is that I'll look stupid or just not "get it." That sounds silly when said out loud, but failing publicly is the subject of my nightmares! Maybe I can use that fear as a motivation for practicing. I really suck at doing my homework. Good or bad, I'll be sharing our experience either way -- but I'm hoping for good! Wish me luck. -- K

P.S. This entire post was written on and sent from my new phone. How cool is that?!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bark in the Park

Last night was Bark in the Park. Our local minor league baseball team, the Jacksonville Suns, admitted dogs into the stadium for their game against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Ticket prices were cheap too! For only $7.50 per person and $2.50 per dog we got to enjoy a whole night of baseball. We sat in the general admissions seating with other dogs and their families. Some people brought lawn chairs or blankets, others (like me) sat on the concrete stadium seating. It was a fun and relaxed atmosphere, nothing like some of the other sporting events I've been to. Dogs sniffed each other, kids ran back and forth, people chatted between innings, and the players interacted with the fans (much friendlier than the Major leagues). We ate peanuts and popcorn and kept an eye out for foul balls. The dogs and I even ran the bases after the game. What a trip!

Roxy thought baseball was boring, but the
hot dogs smelled delicious!
I was hoping to get a group of friends and/or club members to join us but they all wimped out. Too bad because the dogs and I had a blast. And the Suns won, making it even better. Some people told me they didn't go because they were afraid the weather wouldn't hold out. The rain only delayed the game for about an hour, and after that it was cool and comfortable. Others didn't show because the event wasn't well advertised and they weren't sure what was going on. I almost didn't go either -- mostly because nobody else would commit -- but I'm glad I did. I will definitely go again.

I had my hands full with the dogs so I didn't get many pictures. Sorry. I guess if someone really wants to know what happens at the dog-friendly ball games they'll just have to go with me next time. According to the schedule, the Suns offer another Bark in the Park on June 15th, and Dog Daze of Summer with pre-game dog parades on July 28th and August 4th. Who's ready for some baseball? -- K


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mud Dog

It rained five days straight. Everything was wet and dreary. Roxy took it in stride and used the down time for extra naps. Jedi went stir crazy and irritated all of us, Roxy included. When the weather finally cleared I took Jedi to the Intercostal Waterway, hoping to wear him out. I found a secluded spot where we could see the water through the reeds and palms. It was gorgeous! Jedi approved. The moisture in the air intensified all the smells and I could see that Jedi's nose was working overtime. I'm sure he could smell the opossums, raccoons, feral cats, lizards and armadillos that live along the marsh. I didn't see them, but Jedi knew something had been there. The only animals we saw were hawks flying overhead and fiddler crabs scurrying along the bank. Jedi didn't know what to think about the crabs. Every time he sniffed at one it would disappear into a hole and barking didn't bring them back to the surface. Once Jedi realized he couldn't catch them he went straight for the water -- and promptly got stuck in the mud. He sank a good 3 inches! Guess I didn't think this through. Fortunately he was able to get himself out; I was afraid I'd have to go get him -- and get muddy myself. I was also thankful that I keep blankets in my car and was able to protect the seats. Mud aside, it was a great day. Jedi sniffed and frolicked and then slept for the rest of the day. Mission accomplished! -- K



Friday, May 10, 2013

Puppy Got a Brand New Bag

A picture 30+ years in the making
True story: I had the world's slowest orthodontist. Every month for two years I would sit in the waiting room for an hour. Then I would sit in the chair for another hour before finally getting my braces tightened. To pass the time I would read Dog World and Dog Fancy magazines cover to cover. I loved looking at the ads. Some kennels would advertise with pictures of gorgeous German shepherds. Somewhere around 1980 I saw an ad for doggie backpacks -- and I wanted one. I would sit in the chair and fantasize about hiking around the world with a gorgeous German shepherd wearing a backpack. (Stop laughing, I was 12!)
Fast forward three decades. I was in Petsmart just after Christmas and what did I see in the clearance bin? A doggie backpack! Yeah, I bought it. It's still a little big for Jedi, but we broke it in today. I put two bottles of water, his collapsible bowl and poop bags inside the pockets and we took a trip. He didn't seem to mind the weight of the pack too much, especially when distracted with a Sonic cheeseburger. After Sonic we headed to the Jacksonville Arboretum. The hike didn't go as well as I would have liked. Jedi pulls -- a lot -- and I am not in the best shape for hiking. We both came home tired and took extra long naps. But I will go again, and I'll try to take pictures next time. If nothing else, I owe it to my 12 year old self. -- K

Hubby took a picture of Jedi and me sleeping.
Jedi takes up half of the queen size bed!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I & Dog

My son gave me an interesting book for my birthday. Its called I & Dog by the Monks of New Skete. Have you heard of it? It discusses the spiritual connection between people and dogs. It's a short book, more contemplate than scientific. I read it in 20 minutes or so, and spent another 10 minutes looking at the gorgeous pictures. However, I'm definitely going to read it again, this time taking time to mull over the text. Hours after I'd finished the book I was still thinking about some of what I read. For example, the introduction states that:

We humans can and do form mutually inspiring and beneficial relationships with our dog companions, and this experience colors every aspect of our life.

I asked myself "Did having a dog as a child affect my life?" The answer was obviously yes. More difficult, however, has been trying to articulate how my life has been affected. I'm not sure if I even can!

The only picture I have of my first love
I've mentioned my first dog, Eli, before. Amazingly, a brindled mutt from the pound became the best friend a girl could ever have. Eli was smart, funny, patient, protective, loyal and my constant companion. He's been gone 30 years yet my friends and family still share "good old Eli" stories. He was a once in a lifetime dog. My love for him -- and more importantly, his love for me -- greatly influenced the woman I am today. Don't believe me? Look at what I do for a living. Look at my blog. You can even look at my wardrobe -- most of my clothing has dog pictures and/or actual dog hair on it!

When I reread I & Dog I will think of Eli. And Pepper. And Logan. I'll remember the joy they brought into my life. I'm sure I'll cry. As the book also says:

     The biggest problem with dogs is that they don't
     live long enough. They always seem to leave us when
     we're most vulnerable, most in need of their bias,
     affirming presence. Dogs make us believe we can
     actually be as they see us, and it's often only when
     they're gone that we realize their role in what we've become.
I'm going to grab a box of Kleenex and then give Roxy and Jedi a hug. I'm thankful for the dogs in my life. How about you, have you hugged your dog today? -- K

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me

Mom sent me money for my birthday (Thanks Mom!) with a note that said "Something for you and something for Jedi." Mom wants me to spend birthday money on something fun and frivolous. This a bit nerve wracking because I'm the type of person who would just as soon use it for groceries (which is neither fun nor frivolous). So I spent a rainy afternoon surfing the Internet, finding all those goofy things I bookmarked over the past couple months. With a little digging I was able to get free shipping one order, and a combo deal on the second. SCORE! Do you want to see what we're getting?

For meGerman Shepherd-opoly. Seriously!! I tried to win one through an online contest before Christmas. I didn't get it. It looked like fun but I didn't buy it because money's tight around the holidays and, well, sometimes I'm cheap. However, it does fit Mom's "fun and frivolous" criteria. Even better, I found it on sale. It should be here next weekend. I can't wait until for Grown-Up Game Night. Lucky for me, my gaming friends are 1) German shepherd owners and 2) wine drinkers. Oh yeah, it's going to be fun! (By the way, there's a one-hour quick version, so we don't have to play all night. But if the wine is flowing . . . )

And for the dogs: Something I saw several months ago -- stuff to make homemade dog treats! (I am not crafty in the kitchen, so I find this pretty exciting.) I ordered a silicone dog treat pan that makes 10 bone-shaped treats and two boxes of Uncle Jimmy's puppy cake mix. Roxy and Jedi are getting one box of peanut butter and one of carob to see which they like better. Think they'll like it? I'll let you know! -- K

Friday, May 3, 2013

No Show -- AGAIN!

Tomorrow's Fun Match has been cancelled. It's been raining for three days (with more rain in the forecast) and the show grounds are a giant mud pit. While I don't disagree with the decision, I am disappointed. This is the second Fun Match cancelled in two months. At this rate Jedi will never get into the ring! *sigh* And now I'm stuck at home with a pair of restless dogs who are driving us all crazy because it's storming outside. Have any indoor games for dogs with cabin fever? -- K

P.S. Jedi is 7 months old today! It's hard to believe that this gorgeous boy is still just a puppy.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

S.T.A.R. Puppy Grad

Two months ago Jedi and I started our S.T.A.R. Puppy class. Tonight was graduation and we passed! The "test" included the following 20 requirements:

1. Maintains puppy’s health (vaccines, exams, appears
2. Owner receives Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge (below)
3. Owner describes adequate daily play and exercise plan
4. Owner and puppy attend at least 6 classes by an AKC
    Approved CGC Evaluator
5. Owner brings bags to classes for cleaning up after puppy
6. Owner has obtained some form of ID for puppy -- collar
    tag, etc.

7.   Free of aggression toward people during at least 6 weeks of class
8.   Free of aggression toward other puppies in class
9.   Tolerates collar or body harness of owner’s choice
10. Owner can hug or hold puppy (depending on size)
11. Puppy allows owner to take away a treat or toy

12. Allows petting by a person other than the owner
13. Allows owner handling and brief exam (ears, feet)
14. Follows owner on lead in a straight line (15 steps)
15. Walks on leash past other people 5 feet away
16. Sits on command
17. Down on command
18. Comes to owner from 5 feet when name is called
19. Normal reaction to distractions (distractions are presented 15 feet away)
20. Stays on leash with another person (owner walks 10 steps and returns)

We're going spend this evening feeling good about our accomplishment. Tomorrow we start prepping for Saturday's Fun Match. This includes a bath for Jedi and lots of packing for me! We'll have to find another obedience class soon. Jedi is getting bigger and stronger and doesn't walk on a leash nearly as nicely as I'd like. I know it's my fault. I need to be more consistent with practicing. The accountability of a class helps. Eventually I'd like to work on getting Jedi's Canine Good Citizen, especially now that it's a title! -- K
AKC CGC Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge

I will be responsible for my dog’s health needs. These include:
  • routine veterinary care including check-ups and vaccines
  • adequate nutrition through proper diet; clean water at all times
  • daily exercise and regular bathing and grooming
I will be responsible for my dog’s safety.
  • I will properly control my dog by providing fencing where appropriate, not letting my dog run loose, and using a leash in public.
  • I will ensure that my dog has some form of identification when appropriate (which may include collar tags, tattoos, or microchip ID).
  • I will provide adequate supervision when my dog and children are together.
I will not allow my dog to infringe on the rights of others.
  • I will not allow my dog to run loose in the neighborhood.
  • I will not allow my dog to be a nuisance to others by barking while in the yard, in a hotel room, etc.
  • I will pick up and properly dispose of my dog’s waste in all public areas such as on the grounds of hotels, on sidewalks, parks, etc.
  • I will pick up and properly dispose of my dog’s waste in wilderness areas, on hiking trails, campgrounds and in off-leash parks.
I will be responsible for my dog’s quality of life.
  • I understand that basic training is beneficial to all dogs.
  • I will give my dog attention and playtime.
  • I understand that owning a dog is a commitment in time and caring.