Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Am Thankful

I have been quite perturbed for the last week and a half to watch large quantities of my dog food and treats leaving the house. This did not make sense to me. Twice a day Barbara would fill a bag with my kibble and some treats and take it away!!

Well I learned the reason today. She has been feeding a stray boxer and trying to coax him to come to her.
I doesn't seem like he has any person to call his own and take care of him. She saw him a few weeks ago further down our road and people said that he had been hanging around awhile. Then she didn't see him anymore and was worried that he had been hit by a car.

A week ago Monday she was happily surprised to see him in a field near our house. He is really skinny and nervous. Barbara has put food out for him near a certain tree and he will eat it but not if she is too close to the food. She has been able to get within 5 feet of him but then he gets scared and runs away even when she has delicious treats.

Today she brought me to the field with her with the idea that if he saw her with a nice dog he might trust her. He watched us but would not come too close. Even with all my food he is still very skinny and since it has been very cold at night we are worried about him. I'll try again tomorrow to get him to come near.

Seeing this poor guy in such bad condition makes me realize just how lucky I am.

1. I've got a special person who loves me and cares for me.

2. I get all the food I need to keep me healthy and in good condition.

3. i have a house to live in and cozy beds to sleep on.

4. I have toys to play with, treats to eat.

5. I get to go fun places and learn interesting things.

6. I get all the petting, kisses and cuddling I could possibly want.

So Happy Thanksgiving to all my blogging dog friends and give your people a big kiss!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Photo Shoot and More

Thank you to my Scottish friends the Dughallmor Beagles for this lovely award created by Crystal at Memoirs of a Mommy.
It is beautiful.

Well we are a little behind here and so finally Barbara arranged to do a photo shoot for my Christmas card. Since she is not that good of a photographer (as you can see from some of the photos on my blog) she asked my boyfriend Trotter's person Chris to take the pictures. I am always so happy to see Chris as she always makes a big fuss over me and of course when I see Chris I get to see Trotter too.

Unfortunately before I could play with him I had to pose for all these pictures. Very boooooring. Standing and sitting still is so dull when there is a nice big fenced yard to run around in. It didn't take too long and here is a picture from the shoot. I think I look pretty nice and I didn't even have to have a bath! Then Trotter and I got to play for a little while.

My boyfriend Royal's person is a dog trainer too. Her name is Jenn and she was on TV tonight. The local CBS station WRAL had a Bad Dog Challange and Jenn was one of the trainers picked to help a young Sheltie with problems. Jenn really shows how positive training can help. You can check out the video of Jenn and Mali the Sheltie here.

Here is a photo of Royal and me hanging out at the dog park.

I am off to Drill Team practice now. Our team is going to be in 2 Christmas Parades in December and we want to look good.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why Train?

As a dog, I must say I think we are just perfect and that people are lucky that we are around. However, sometimes to help us fit into human society we have to have some training. Why bother? And how do we know if the trainer and the training is right for us?

Archie and Agatha have described their recent experiences with dog training and their efforts to keep the trainer from coming back. Since my person is a dog trainer, I think that I can share my thoughts on training. There are many different ways to train dogs, some good and some bad. Barbara always says that training is something you do with your dog, not to your dog. I agree with this. We do reward based, positive training (which is the only kind I am interested in) and it has made me even more bonded to her.

Training stimulates my mind, I get to go interesting and fun places and I get lots of rewards. Dogs who don't behave well stay home because their people are embarrassed to take them anywhere.

Dogs that are trained get to do fun dog sports like tracking, agility or freestyle.

Sky and Shari practicing their freestyle moves.

The Drill Team performing.


They can learn lots of tricks and show them off. Royal is learning to play the piano.

I am learning to leap.

All around training makes me a better dog (and I was pretty good to start with).

Now training is as much about training your person as it is about you. Barbara says that if she just had to train us dogs her job would be very easy! But the whole point of training is to make you a good team so you and your person can communicate and work together.

If you need some training it is important to find the right trainer who will train you in a way that you will enjoy learning and help your people to be consistent with you. They can start by checking out the trainer search at the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. The APDT advocates dog friendly, reward based training and helps trainers get education on the best ways to train. You can also check out the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers whose members have taken a national exam to show that they know how to train.

Your people should check the trainer's references, or if it is for a group class, they should attend a class without you to see what methods are used. Training should be fun and humane. Training should never, ever cause you fear or pain.

Will training make you tired? Sometimes. When I have been working very hard on a new skill or trick I need a little nap when I get home since my brain got stretched. Training should not make you afraid of the trainer. I love to train (and I have been doing it since I was a pup), learn new things and have fun with my person while I do it. You can check out her website for more info on training. Have fun and get lots of treats.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Taste Testing and the Kibble Nibble

Last week was very busy what with tracking, drill team, Pets on the Patio and other activities. Unfortunately it has rained the last two days and I was very bored. I thrashed my stuffies and did some counter surfing but it just wasn't enough to keep me occupied. So Barbara decided that we would complete the taste test of all my new treats. Finally!

Now Barbara has been known to joke that if she cut up cardboard into bite size pieces I would eat them as treats. This is a complete lie and very rude of her to say. I have a discriminating palate and have devised a rating system to identify the best treats.

4 PAWS: Scrumptious - will eat them even when I see squirrels

3 PAWS Delicious - will eat them most of the time

2 PAWS Tasty - will eat them when there are no distractions

1 PAW slightly better than cardboard

I tried to do this in a very scientific manner by comparing treats of similar types and then pitting the best of each type against each other. We put the treats on paper plates. I had to do a sit stay and when she said "OK" I ran to pick which one I liked better. To take in account a left or right bias the treats were switched after a few trials.

Once I selected the most delicious treats we tried them during my training practice.

I know that you have all been waiting anxiously for the results of this very important scientific experiment and here they are:


Cloud Star Tender Jerky Strips - Pork


Buddy Biscuits Soft & Chewy - Bacon & Cheese Madness
Buddy Biscuits Soft & Chewy - Beef Madness
Cloud Star Muttos - Duck & Sweet Potato


Buddy Biscuits Soft & Chewy - Peanut Butter Madness
Vida - Chicken
Train-Me - Beef


Liver Biscotti
Benny Bully's

Now for this to be statistically significant I would have had have done many more repetitions of eating the treats. This sounded like a fine idea to me but Barbara was afraid I would get sick. Also this is my opinion only. It is our responsibility as blogging dogs to taste test as many treats as possible and share the results with the world. Of course your people must read the labels on the treat packages carefully so they don't give you a treat that will cause you problems. Fortunately I don't have any allergies or protein sensitivities but I know that some of my friends do. So test some treats and let us know your favorities.

I also wanted to let you know about a treat dispensing toy called the Kibble Nibble. Barbara bought it for me at the APDT Conference and I have been having a lot of fun with it.

It opens up and your person can put your kibbles and treats in it.

Then they screw it back together and give it to you to play with. As you roll it around on the floor, the food falls out!

Here are a few pictures of me pushing it around the APS training center. Barbara likes it because the purple lines on the side are rubber which means it doesn't make much noise when I roll it around.

Since I am pretty good at getting stuff out of a Kong and a Twist & Treat, the Kibble Nibble wasn't very challenging but it was still fun and of course I got good things to eat!

All this scientific research and product testing is quite exhausting so I must go take a long nap now.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pets on the Patio

Today we went to Alivia's Bistro for an event called "Pets on the Patio". For a donation, dogs could have brunch with their people on the patio of the the restaurant. The money raised benefits Independent Animal Rescue (IAR). Alivia's also donated 10% of the price of all the food people ordered to IAR.

We thought that this was a great idea and since it was a nice fall day, we drove the dog crate on wheels to Durham to participate. I know dogs in Europe can go to restaurants, but in the US they are ridiculously fussy and won't let us inside. Maybe they are afraid one of our hairs will get in the food. Anyway, I was glad to go when I heard that the money will help foster dogs and that I would get to have brunch on the patio.

There were all kinds of dogs at the event. Here are a few photos of dogs enjoying going out to brunch with their people.

Everyone was very well behaved.

Each table had a dog bowl on the ground near it so we could have a drink. Every dog on the patio got a nice toy or treat of their choice. Here I am sampling the chewy I picked out.

The people at the next table ordered a big bowl of something called shrimp. I have never had a shrimp but it smelled extremely delicious. Barbara wouldn't order any for me but she did get me an English muffin and sausage. I tried very hard to sit nicely and not disgrace her by jumping up on the table to get my brunch.

The muffin and sausage were quite tasty but I am going to be dreaming about those shrimp. I hope that the event raised lots of money for IAR - they do good work.

This is my 100th blog post! I really enjoy posting about my adventures and I am so glad to have made many new dog friends all over the world. Blog On!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Good Time at the Dog Park and Tracking Fun

I knew it was going to be a fun morning when I saw Barbara packing up my tracking bag. And it got even better when she drove the dog crate on wheels through the drive-thru at Burger King. I could smell those sausage biscuits and was anticipating the fun of tracking and the great rewards.

But first we stopped at the dog park to run off some energy and meet my boyfriend Riley. I haven't seen him in awhile so I was glad to get the chance to play with him.

There was a nice group there this morning and we are had a good sniff at one another.

I did a lot of running around at first. No pictures of that because I was going so fast that I was a blur. Then I invited Riley to play with me.

The two of us get along very well and you can see my good play postures and curvy body language.

We really enjoyed the opportunity to play together and I know that Barbara was glad to see that the play helped me settle down a bit.

Riley found a nice chocolate lab mix dog to play with as well. The did a lot of bitey face and finally they both got down on the ground to chew on each other. Very silly but fun and they got very dirty too.

Then it was on to the tracking fields. Here is my BFF Ayla with her person. Ayla is all ready to track.

My boyfriend Trotter is a good tracker but he is not as intense about it as Ayla and me. He is working that track very well. I think he likes agility better because he recently got his Novice Agility title.

I ran a track where I had to find 8 articles including gloves, socks and slippers. I found them all and got sausage biscuit and muenster cheese as my reward. Very well worth it! No photos though because Barbara can't manage to hold the tracking line and take pictures at the same time! Then we headed home as I really need a nap now.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Puppy Class Graduation

I showed you some pictures of Barbara's Junior Puppy Class several weeks ago. Last night the puppies graduated! They have grown so much and learned a lot. They have learned to pay attention, sit, down, leave it, come and do some tricks as well as lots of socialization. There was a contest to show how long they could pay attention to their people, they showed off their tricks and ran an obstacle course. Then they got diplomas and ribbons and treats (Barbara gave away some of mine!!!)

It is so important for puppies to get off to the right start so I am very glad that these people were smart enough to take their puppies to Barbara's class.

Louie coming out of the tunnel.

Akiko getting ready to sit.

Rose going over the hoops in the obstacle course.

Now to something that is of more interest to me - taste testing the treats. My tummy is all better so Barbara thought it was safe for me to try some. She brought home 9 different kinds of treats from the trade show at the APDT Conference. Actually she brought home 12 kinds but gave 3 away to friends which has me a bit put out since I wanted to taste them all.

However last night I got to try 2 flavors. The Muttos Duck and Sweet Potato treats were quite delicious but they paled in comparison to the Buddy Biscuits Beef Madness.

Yum!! I wanted to try all 9 flavors but she was afraid that too many treats would upset my tummy again. Maybe tomorrow I can try the peanut butter and the lamb flavors.

I want to thank my British Border Collie friends Holly and Zac for this great butterfly award.

I'd like to pass it on to my friends Tom, Sen-Chan and Tama-Chan, Kirby, Pedro and Stanislaw and Big Pupi. I enjoy their blogs so much.

Now Barbara is off to stand in long lines and vote.