Monthly Archives: May 2013

Photographic Interlude

I haven’t had time to write a blog post or edit a pending guest post recently, so here are some pictures in the meantime!

Dusty's latest favourite hangout spot is the arm of the loveseat in our office so he can look out the window

Dusty’s latest favourite hangout spot is the arm of the loveseat in our office so he can look out the window

Hogan loves to sleep in the sun on a warm spring day.

Hogan loves to sleep in the sun on a warm spring day.

Cora was very interested in the bird's nest under the deck and tried everything she could think of to get at the eggs and, later, the baby birds. Unfortunately, she did catch two of the babies once they had left the nest. :(

Cora was very interested in the bird’s nest under the deck and tried everything she could think of to get at the eggs and, later, the baby birds. Unfortunately, she did catch two of the babies once they had left the nest. :(

We've had a lot of fun weekend walks by the waterfront and in unfamiliar neighbourhoods, just to change things up!

We’ve had a lot of fun weekend walks by the waterfront and in unfamiliar neighbourhoods, just to change things up!

Dusty's friend Mumford has come to visit a few times this spring. Dusty likes to climb on people so he can try to get face to face with Mr. Mumford!

Dusty’s friend Mumford has come to visit a few times this spring. Dusty likes to climb on people so he can try to get face to face with Mr. Mumford! (I love that Dusty looks as though he’s smiling! He wags his tail nonstop when Mumford is here. It’s very cute!)

I just love this picture of Mumford sitting on his mom's lap!

I just love this picture of Mumford sitting on his mom’s lap!

When we have company and Cora feels nervous but wants to be outside anyway, she hangs out in the rock garden and pretends she's a flower (and she sure is pretty enough to be one!).

When we have company and Cora feels nervous but wants to be outside anyway, she hangs out in the rock garden and pretends she’s a flower (and she sure is pretty enough to be one!).

This past weekend, we built and painted agility equipment, including three jumps, two sets of six weave poles, a teeter, and a pause table!

This past weekend, we built and painted agility equipment, including three jumps, two sets of six weave poles, a teeter, and a pause table (not all pictured)!

My First Rescue Transport

I spent my morning shopping for the recommended items and setting my car up for my first transport!

I spent my morning shopping for the recommended items and setting my car up for my first transport!

A little over a month ago, I signed up with Open Arms Dog Transport as a volunteer driver. Every week since, I’ve received a notice about transports from the States (Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio, usually) needing drivers for 19 individual legs (or so) over the course of each weekend.

For the first time, I was able to sign up for one of those legs. Tonight I drove from Pickering to Newtonville with a little Yorkie rescue from a puppy mill. Evey is estimated to be six or seven years old. To think of the sheltered life this poor girl has had all those years, living in a cage with little human contact, day in, day out—not to mention how many litters her little body has gone through—breaks my heart.

Evey is a cuddler!

Evey is a cuddler!

However, it fills me with such joy to have played a small part in getting her to a new life of sniffing and walking on grass; sleeping in a warm, comfy bed; being cuddled by people who love her; interacting with other dogs; having toys to play with; running through snow; enjoying treats and training; getting medical care when she needs it; and, heck, even just having a name!

Such a sweet little girl

Such a sweet little girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the next few weeks, Evey will experience so many firsts. She was a little stressed on our short drive (about 45 minutes), as she probably was on every drive she endured en route to her new foster home in Ottawa (with Loyal Rescue, the rescue my mom adopted Misha through). But within a few minutes, she settled into the crate and lay down for a while.

I am so excited for Evey! Both Cora and Dusty got to TAGS, and then to us, through rescue transport volunteers. Thank God for those volunteers! I couldn’t imagine life without either of my beagle babies or my Hogan, and it feels wonderful to have helped Evey get a small step closer to her forever family. Good luck, little girl! You now have a whole lot of people in your corner, and I’m proud to be one of them!

Recall: The Most Important Lesson

No dog is perfect, but ask any fur-mom, and she will say that her dog is perfect. In my case, this is no different. I think Mulligan is the most well-behaved, sweetest, smartest dog! However, after reality sunk in, I realized that our “do-over” dog needed to go back to school.

Mulligan and his mom, Ashley

Mulligan and his mom, Ashley

We decided to try K9 Central as we had heard many great things about its facility. We enrolled Mulligan in the “Radical Recall” class. It was six weeks of nothing but recall work.

Did it ever help! While I do not feel 100% comfortable having Mulligan off leash at the cottage or close to a road, I am much more confident with him at the dog park now because he comes to us when he is called.

Here are some of the great tips they taught us:

  • Always have tasty treats in your pocket. Randomly, throughout your walk with your furry friend, call their name. If they look up at you, reward them! If not, stop walking, and wait for them to look at you (patience is key, and persistence does pay off in the end!).
  • At home, put a tasty treat on your open palm right in front of your dog’s nose. If they lunge for it or try to take it, shut your hand. Do this over and over again until they sit and look at you. Once they look at you, reward them, give them the treat that was in your hand, and make a big deal of this accomplishment. This teaches them that when they focus on you, they will be rewarded.
Mulligan off leash by the lake, keeping an eye on his parents.

Mulligan off leash by the lake, keeping an eye on his parents.

 

  • “Watch me!” That was a major command from our class. It really helped with having Mulligan look at me instead of the distraction. I would stand straight up; have my arm away from my body with an open palm. I would place a high value treat in my hand. I would turn my back to Mulligan and say “Watch me!” Mulligan had to figure out that if he came around to face me and look at me, he would receive that tasty piece of chicken or steak!
  • Hide-and-seek: This is also a great rainy day activity for you and your dog to do if they need to burn off some energy. My husband would go off and hide in a separate room in the house (behind a dresser or the bed) and would call Mulligan. Just once, loud and clear, so Mulligan would take an interest in where he was. Shortly after, Mulligan would be on the move.  He would search and search, sometimes looking back to me for some reassurance, and then I would tell my husband to call his name again. No treats were needed once Mulligan found him! Just the praise and the game of hide-and-seek alone were enough for Mulligan to want to play over and over again!

It’s Hogan’s Fourth, Fifth, or Maybe Sixth Birthday–Kind Of!

Today, we celebrate Hogan’s second birthday with us. Since he’s a rescue, we don’t know his real birthday or his real age, but he was guessed to be two or three when we adopted him (although, judging by his energy level, he’s always seemed much older), and we decided, in honour of his Mexican homeland, his birthday would be Cinco de Mayo. (See last year’s celebration here.)

So to celebrate our littlest one’s special day, we went for a very long walk by the beautiful Pickering waterfront, where Hogan encountered many other dogs and yet was on his best behaviour ever. Normally reactive on-leash, Hogan did almost no growling, instead looking up to his dad for treats, the behaviour we’ve been encouraging since we first adopted him and hired an animal behaviourist to help us deal with his reactivity. It’s taken some time, but he’s finally mastered this behaviour!

Hogan thought that since it's his birthday, he should be allowed to drive today.

Hogan thought that since it’s his birthday, he should be allowed to drive today.

 

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We stopped for pictures in a field of dandelions

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Of course, the doggies got lots of treats.

And we had to have water breaks, too.

And we had to have water breaks, too.

One last picture of the birthday boy before leaving the lake

One last picture of the birthday boy before leaving the lake

Tired doggies ready to go home for the birthday treat.

Tired doggies ready to go home for the birthday treat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back at home for their afternoon snack, I treated the dogs to tacos (unseasoned beef, cheese, lettuce, and a dab of sour cream inside tiny flour tortilla shells) in exchange for pictures in sombreros. They all really enjoyed this treat (the sombreros, less so)!

 

Cora was having a particularly tough time waiting to enjoy the birthday treat.

Cora was having a particularly tough time waiting to enjoy the birthday treat.

Whereas curious Dusty opened his taco, sniffed and then ate the bits separately, Hogan opted to put the entire thing in his mouth. Our little Mexican boy knows how it's done!

Whereas curious Dusty opened his taco, sniffed and then ate the bits separately, Hogan opted to put the entire thing in his mouth. Our little Mexican boy knows how it’s done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And to top off Hogan’s birthday, we will end the day with a family agility lesson this evening! In the meantime, Hogan’s engaging in his favourite afternoon activity—napping.

All in all, I think Hogan is finding today to be the best birthday ever!