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.