Friday, October 2, 2009

Rosie's Coat Review

Being of a warm climate heritage, Rosie Mae is not totally cut out for Alaska's inclement weather. That being said, we have found one coat that serves as a fantastic accommodation for Rosie's shiver prone body. The K-9 Overcoat by Ruffwear makes things possible all times of the year for Rosie.

On an earlier post you saw a picture of a soaking wet Rosie in her Overcoat - well, under that coat, she was totally dry. The coat is insulated with recycled fleece and is enclosed with durable recycled polyester, so you can rejoice that it is eco-friendly! It is wind and water resistant according to Ruffwear - but I have never seen it soak through on Rosie even in Southeast Alaska's driving rain. It also has reflective material on the sides and a spot to put a light for safety - which is extra great when you're less than a foot tall!

Another super thing about this coat is that it has clips on the side. It is a cinch to put on and it will stay on. This is true dog outdoor gear made for true dog outdoor activities, this is not for decoration. Rosie is regularly on the go in this coat and is able to participate in a lot of activities she would otherwise be miserable doing.

One draw back of this coat is its' price point - the coat costs $59.99 - which is a bit spendy. That being said - it holds up great, it doesn't fall off so it won't be lost, it does just what Ruffwear say's it will do if not more - and it doesn't look completely ridiculous. We think it's worth the money and we give it a solid 5 Bones, our highest score!

Here is Rosie hiking up the side of a mountain last winter on Valentines day. This activity would not have been possible without the K-9 Overcoat. Thank you, Ruffwear!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rosie Eats a Tuna Fish Sandwich

Rosie is not able to help out with the blog today because she is sleeping off a food hangover. Last night we went to dinner at our friend's house and left Rosie and Zoe home. When we got home a few hours later, we discovered that Rosie had pulled out my husband's uneaten lunch, a tuna fish sandwich - with cheese, and eaten everything except for one piece of bread! I am convinced the only reason she hadn't finished the sandwich is that we interrupted her.

You can imagine how large her little tummy looked! She seems to have recovered alright, aside from being a bit constipated.

Lesson learned: Make sure your house is doggie proofed before you leave the pups home alone - for Rosie, leaving out any easily accessible food is a big no no!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Trying New Things

Rosie is a champ at trying new things, here she is riding in the back of a truck. Don't worry, we were going slow on a rural Alaska road.

Exposing your pup to new things is a great way to raise a dog who can adapt to changes without becoming too anxious or stressed out.

Here are some tips on making the exposure to new things a success:

- Remember to use what motivates your dog. As we said before, for Rosie, that's food. When Rosie is exposed to something new, she get's food. For example, when she went kayaking for the first time, I gave her lots of treats during the process. This helped her to have a good association with being in a kayak. For some dogs, this could have been bringing along a favorite toy.

- Make sure that you're not making your dog take on too much at once. If they need reassurance, give it to them. If you know your dog, you'll know when they need your support.

- If it really isn't working and your dog is just too stressed out - stop the activity. You can try again, but start VERY slow - and don't force it.

- As with anything you do with your pup, have fun and be patient.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rewarding the Good

We cannot stress enough the importance of positive reinforcement while you and your dog learn the family rules!

Some dog trainers will tell you that dogs are dominant creatures and if you're not dominant over them your dog will lose respect for you. Frankly - we think this is hogwash. We'll talk more about why we disagree in a later entry. For now, here are some tried and true training tips that we'd like to share.

Have fun. If you are getting frustrated or upset during a training session - take a break and come back to it later.

Be patient.

Find out what motivates your dog the most. For Rosie - it's food - hands down. For some dogs it's toys, belly rubs etc. If it's food, what food is best? If it's toys, which toy is the most motivating?

Be proactive and reward your pup for doing right. This is why it's so important to know what is the best motivator for your pup. When your four legged friend does what you want her to do - make sure she get's credit!
Make sure that you don't reward for what you don't want. If they're being demanding - don't give them attention - give it when they're being polite and waiting patiently - unless you want a pushy pup...

One example of this Rosie and I have been working on is walking by other dogs when she is on her leash. She used to pull on her leash and try to go say "hello" which is not always convenient or safe. I started taking out a treat and getting Rosie's attention when we walked passed other dogs. Rosie would look up at me and once we'd walked safely by the other dog with no leash pulling, Rosie would get the treat. I no longer take out a treat every time, because I can easily get Rosie's attention and keep her focus on me when we walk passed other dogs. It's great and the whole training process has been fun, positive and stress free for both of us.

We will share more training tips in the weeks to come - if you start by focusing on these though, you'll have the foundation you need for many years of successful team work with your dog!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rosie's Toy Review

We hope that this will become a regular part of the blog. All toys will be rated on a five bone scale. One being the lowest rating and five being the highest. Please feel free to suggest toys you think Rosie should review and let us know what you think about the toys she does review!

Today's Review: The Orbee from Planet Dog

The word from Rosie:

I have had a lot of fun playing with this toy. The Orbee is bouncy and tough and I can sink my teeth into it for tons of chewing fun. It is easy to grip, so I can carry it around and it's fun to use for fetch. I really like the minty flavor. I also really like the texture on the ball when I chew on it.

The word from Jorden:

The best part about the Orbee is that it is made out of non-toxic, recycled material here in the US. I don't feel like I have to worry that Rosie might be chewing on an arsenic laced, Made In China gem. The only bummer is that she is able to pull off some of the textured parts, which for something they said was at the top of their "chew-o-meter" I find rather disappointing. The medium size cost about 12 bucks, so they're a bit pricey. All in all though, Rosie has a lot of fun with it, they seem like a good company, and I am sure we will be reviewing more products of theirs in the future.

Rosie Rating: 3.5 Bones.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ok...Ok... Why a blog?

So, I realize writing a blog about my dog is wee bit ridiculous, but let me tell you why I started this...

My old dog Zoe has been my companion and friend since I adopted her as a 7 week old fluff ball 14 years ago.

Since then I have watched her lie her head in the lap of crying mom's about to hospitalize their children. I have seen her greet long lost friends with a gratitude and excitement I only wish I could replicate. She has been with me through some of the saddest days of my life and has celebrated with me on the happiest. Most amazingly, she has accepted Rosie Mae into her life. She has reached down and given her love and has done it with an ease and comfort that we should all aspire to. I fully believe she has done this because she loves me and she knows I want her to love Rosie.

This is why I write this silly blog. These dogs are a part of my family. I have watched them make people stop crying and smile. I have watched them give people peace and at times, I know their comfort has saved my life.

So - here is to cuddles, long walks, and moments of wonder with our dogs...our lives would not be the same without them.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dreaming of Vacation

On rainy and dreary days like today (and if you lived here you would know what I mean), I start dreaming of vacation and remembering vacations past.

Here I am curled up in Santa Fe back in January. After walking around town all day, it was so nice to warm up by the fire while we all relaxed.

I am a hearty Alaskan pup, so I tolerate the rain and the cold - but I do dream of sunshine and warm fires. I hope my family figures out a trip soon, so I can look forward to warming up and drying out - as I think it might be a wet one. Until the next time, good night friends.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Wet Day - A Wet Dog

I was horrified to learn recently that there is a lot of information out there telling people that Chihuahuas don't need much exercise. This is NOT TRUE! I need as much exercise as the next pup and when I don't get it, I feel on edge and find myself nearly unable to control my urges to do things I know I shouldn't do and that seem to upset my family and the cat (but honestly I don't mind upsetting the cat much...even though I know I shouldn't).

As you can see from my photo, yesterday's walk was in the pouring rain. Fortunately, I have a good coat to keep my core warm and dry and I enjoyed tromping through the woods with my big sister, Zoe and my mom. Zoe is 13 years my elder, and much bigger than me, but we love to walk together and I admire her for still trotting through the woods when she is so old. She doesn't hear so well anymore, so I help her out and let her know when I hear something in the woods and we go check it out together. It is very fun! It is also super great when mom gives us tiny treats along the way and it really helps me to remember to go to her when she calls me, even though there are so many cool smells and sounds in the woods.

When we got home yesterday from our very wet walk, my mom toweled us off and gave us each a yummy treat, then I got to curl up in my favorite red down blanket on my mom's lap. I warmed up and dried out in no time and I can't wait to go out again!

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Word on Food

Tonight, as my family gets ready to cook a Julia Child Braised Salmon recipe, I find myself pondering all the delicious things I love to eat. Here is a great pup recipe I eat for dinner a lot that you might want to try out too.


2 free range and or organic chicken breasts
2 small organic sweet potatoes
1 handful chopped organic chard leaves, about a cup or so
1 cup organic quinoa
2 tablespoons or so of chopped fresh organic parsley

Chop the sweet potatoes into small bite size bits (for me that is really small, but if you're a bigger dog, bigger is fine). Saute in olive oil. Let cook, stirring regularly until the bits just start to get tender. Take the chicken breasts and set them right on top of the potatoes, cover and let cook, stirring the potatoes from time to time to keep them from burning (you should have your burner set to medium heat). As the chicken gets cooked, break it up in the pan, add the chopped chard. Keep covered and let everything keep cooking until done.

Separately, cook the quinoa according to directions. Mix in quinoa with finished chicken and veggies, sprinkle entire thing with the chopped parsley (great for pup breath). Make sure it's all chopped up into tiny bits if you have a pup like me who eats as fast as possible (tricks for how to deal with that later) and sometimes chokes on her food...

Let thoroughly cool and you have a delicious dinner for many nights to come!

**You can substitute really any veggies for the chard. You can also use brown rice instead of quinoa if it's what you have in your cupboard. I have a tendency to get a lil' porky (or at least that's what my family says) so my mom uses quinoa because it is high in protein and lower in carbs. Sometimes she uses old fish from the freezer - we do live in Alaska after all - I REALLY like that - it is a super treat.

That's it for now, off to hang out in the kitchen and see if anything wonderful falls in front of my mouth! I do love Julia and salmon!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Hi! Welcome to Little Dog in the Big North.

This blog will tell the story of a sweet lil' Chihuahua living in Juneau, Alaska. Rosie Mae is 8lbs of fearless fun. She kayaks, she hikes mountains in the snow, she cuddles and loves, she does hilarious tricks that make most anyone with a heart smile, and mostly...she is a part of a family.

As anyone with dogs knows, they are a full member of the family. This little one is not only an integral part of our family, she might have more friends in Juneau than we do! Rosie is excited to tell you about all she has learned in her one year of life and is looking forward to sharing future adventures with you!

Living in Alaska isn't always easy when you are 8lbs and meant to live in warm climates, but Rosie has learned a few tricks she think other's might want to know. She loves her pals and all the fun things she gets to do in the big north! We hope you will read along in the tails of Rosie's life. She hopes to share yummy pup recipes, warm and dry clothing tips, fun adventures and much much more! Thanks for taking a look and stay tuned...