Good Dogs, Unleashed!


Adventures in Seafood
May 14, 2012, 6:50 pm
Filed under: Chomper, Miscellaneous, Petey

Disclaimer: There is little to nothing interesting about this post.

We went to the beach this weekend again. It’s all of our favorite place. We checked out low tide and found a bunch of sea creatures stuck in the tide pools. Chomper was, as usual, most interested in seagulls. In fact, the first thing she did was bully a sea bird out of it’s meal. Here she is eating a freshly stolen mussel, shell and all.

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The most delicious food is stolen food.

Petey has almost no interest in the birds, but lots of interest in things to eat. He loves digging in the dry sand. I have no idea what he’s eating down there, he always gets to it before I see it. He seems to think that the best way to dig is to lay on his side with his head against the sand, digging sideways. It’s absolutely hilarious. Of course, we didn’t bring the camera then, so we have no proof of this, but trust me, it’s cute.

We found dozens of little crabs that had gotten stuck in the tide pools. Most of them were dead, but we did find a few live ones. We tried to get some pictures, but the dogs kept nudging my hand around trying to see what kind of squirmy toy I had picked up.

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Food?

Eventually, Petey decided he had better uses for a live crab than we did.

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FOOD!

As he does with everything, he ate it. Alive. Shell and all.

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Delicious.

We decided he was right, so we got ourselves some crab cake sandwiches and beer and had lunch on the beach. Without the fur monsters. 

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Easter Beach Trip
April 9, 2012, 8:42 pm
Filed under: Chomper, Miscellaneous, Petey | Tags:

We decided to skip out on the family Easter mania this weekend in favor of a trip to the beach. This was an excellent decision, even if we barely left the house except to take the dogs on the beach and watch the Flyers lose to the Penguins. The dogs had a great time and Chomper got to accompany us when we went out for water ice. She wore her new Baskerville Ultra Muzzle, which fits her much better than her old one, and while she was super reactive, it was a tough situation for her (two golden retrievers with a family full of people) and she did eventually settle down. Petey of course, had a lovely time and made friends with a beagley mix he met on the beach while ignoring us.

Our last walk out, the tide was out and there were lots of small tide pools for the two fur idiots to get soaked and sandy in. We stupidly neglected to bring the camera, but on their trip they chased dozens of seagulls (mostly Chomper) and Petey met a real live crab which he tried to eat while I explained to him what claws do. Luckily, he was much more interested in running around, so his nose stayed un-pinched. Unfortunately for all those involved (or maybe just us humans), the pet store where we like to stop for baths on the way home closed early for the holiday, so I still have two sandy dogs as I sit here. This will be rectified at our local store some time this week.

As for us, I ended up with a nice April sunburn from enjoying the weather a bit too much, and boyfriend got to drink margaritas and relax and take naps, which he never gets to do. I plan to spend the day drinking water and applying aloe lotion while the dogs continue sleeping off the weekend. So far, so good. Overall, excellent weekend had by all, now I just need to convince boyfriend that we should go back again THIS weekend.

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Spring is Here!
April 5, 2012, 4:38 pm
Filed under: Chomper, Miscellaneous, Training | Tags: , ,

Considering the last post I made was in September, I’m going to go with the excuse of “I was hibernating.” By hibernating I mean snuggling the dogs and my Kindle while drinking wine in front of the fireplace. Although realistically, it’s just me taking dozens of photos of the endlessly handsome Petesworth while Chomper hides under the bed. Her noise phobia gets the best of her and it’s difficult to desensitize her against the unpredictable popping of wood. Petey on the other hand, cannot get enough.

Petey enjoys his fireplace photoshoots almost as much as the fire itself.

The winter was super mild this year though, so we didn’t spend the whole time inside. Boyfriend and I got into geocaching in the fall and spent a good deal of time traipsing through the woods with one or both dogs in tow. For those who aren’t familiar, Geocaching is sort of like a world wide scavenger hunt where people hide small containers and everyone else looks for them. Containers always hold a log book for everyone to sign when they find the cache, but many are large enough to leave other little objects as calling cards or for trading. It’s easy and free and all you need is a hand held GPS unit or a smart phone. You can find way more info at Geocaching.com. One of the best parts about geocaching is that it has introduced us to all sorts of parks and other natural areas we had no idea were there. We spent the week between Christmas and New Years at the beach and found quite a few small, beautiful parks. It’s a really fun thing for us and the dogs get to go exploring in new places too, so they’re big fans.

 

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A gorgeous park near Ocean City, Maryland.

We also moved into a new place and that was a huge pain, but it’s turning out to be a great training opportunity for Chomper. She’s been a neurotic mess since the day I got her and I’ve tried a million different training methods to work with her fear and anxiety. I have half a dozen different books on the subject, but none of the classic counter-conditioning or desensitization has ever worked for her. In the fall I purchased yet another book, Behavioral Adjustment Training (BAT) for Fear, Frustration and Aggression in Dogs. This book is in the process of changing Chomper’s life. Detailing exactly what BAT is will come in a later post, but for Chomper, BAT is rewarding her bravest behavior by increasing the distance between her an the thing she is afraid of. So, Chomper is afraid of children. When we’re on a walk and she notices a child, she has to make a decision between getting upset and ignoring the child. Normally, Chomper’s first reaction is to stiffen her entire body, raise her tail and freeze in place before lunging forward and whining then spinning around and repeating the lunge and whine. She’s doing this so that the child will go away. Normally, either the child gets totally freaked out and runs away, or I drag Chomper off in the other direction. Either way, Chomper is getting what she wants (distance from something scary) for doing a behavior that I don’t want (being fearful and defensive). WIth BAT, I wait for Chomper to notice her trigger (people, cats, dogs…) and wait for her to give any type of displacement behavior (relaxing her body language, turning away, sniffing the ground…). The second she provides a displacement behavior, I click and turn around and walk away from the trigger, thereby giving Chomper the distance that she wants, while slowly showing her what good behaviors she can offer to earn that distance. Like I said, it’s kind of a complicated idea to explain in a short paragraph, but the point is, it’s working fantastically.

We’ve only been trying the BAT for a little while now, but Chomper is finally starting to show some improvement with her behavior. In order to keep track of her positive strides and to help keep my moral up when things aren’t going well, I’ve decided to keep a list of things Chomper has not reacted to. So, yesterday, Chomper walked past the following things without reacting in a negative way:

  1. An elementary-aged kid tossing a baseball in the air about 20 yards away
  2. An older man sitting on his front porch with a yappy dog (I don’t think Chomp saw the dog but she definitely heard it) about 10 feet away
  3. Three teenagers tossing a football back and forth about 20 yards away
  4. Four elementary-aged kids coming directly toward us from about 20 feet away-this one was super hard for her, she still whined, but she also still turned away, so it counts
  5. A man sitting on the curb talking on the phone from about 15 yards away-this was another tough one, she tends to do worse with men than women

As you can see, I’m trying to be as specific as possible so that I can keep track of what is more difficult for her so that I can be prepared when those situations present themselves. So far so good. We’re even making progress with not reacting to everyone that passes by when Chomp is on the deck. Unless it’s a cat, in which case you can forget about it. I’ll do my best to keep updating the list of things she’s doing well with. Having a reactive dog is hard as hell, but seeing a positive change in her behavior feels amazing.



It’s HOT
July 21, 2011, 4:49 pm
Filed under: Cool Stuff, Miscellaneous, Product Reviews

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that there’s a massive heat wave sweeping the nation this week. Right now, the Weather Channel website says it’s 92 but feels like 107. It is disgustingly humid and as soon as you walk out the door you are soaked and choking for air. The news is advising everyone to stay inside, check on their elderly family members and drink lots of water. So what do my dogs think of this weather? They *#(&$ love it! They have been sitting at the back door begging to go lay on the deck all morning. This is not happening. They are both black dogs and one is nothing but fur. I’ve tried bribing them with vanilla rawhide bones (their favorite) to no avail. Yesterday they slyly convinced me that it would be a great idea to go the dog park so they could go swimming. And by swimming, I mean Chomper swimming while Petey runs around for 15 seconds before coming back to make sure I’m still watching. He wants nothing to do with the water. This probably stems from him falling in the pool the day this picture was taken. He’s a great swimmer, but he doesn’t see the fun in it at all. So my choices are to let them boil out in the heat alone (because you couldn’t pay me to go outside today) or sit and try to do work while they stare at me, then out the window, then back at me. Right now, I’m dealing with the staring.

If YOU’RE the kind of person who wants to be out in this scorching oven of a day, there are some ways to keep your dog cool (you’re on your own!).

The classic option is the kiddie pool (this one is available at Toys R U ). Cheap, relatively durable and small enough to fit in even the smallest yards. Fill it with just an inch of water for dogs who aren’t big swimmers, and they’ll enjoy laying it to keep cool. Fill it with 2 feet of water (it holds 3) for dogs who enjoy a splash. Toss in a tennis ball or other water retrieving toy and stand back (or join in and get wet too).

If you want something bigger (and WAY more expensive) try this bone-shaped pool from One Dog One Bone. It’s a whopper at 85 gallons, but it’s a whopper in price at $359 too. Still, it’s awesome looking. They have a cheaper, paw-shaped one available as well.


Outward Hound makes this awesome bandana that cools your pet while she wears it. Toss it in the freezer for a few hours before you go out and it will stay cool for hours.

If a cooling bandana isn’t enough for your dog, try Ruffwear’s Swamp Cooler vest. Soak it in water and the evaporation will keep your dog cool. Bonus in that it’s easy to re-soak it as opposed to throwing the bandana back into the freezer.

If you’re looking for a cheaper way to help your dog stay cool, there are a variety of awesome frozen treats you can provide your dog. You can even make them yourself using a Kong, ice cube trays or a small bowl. Fill one of these with anything you can freeze. I often use diluted chicken broth and add in a few pieces of kibble or a couple of treats. If you’re using your Kong, plug the small end with peanut butter and sit it in a large cup so that it stays standing while it freezes. Other things you can add in for freezable fun:

Mashed or chopped up pieces of fruit or veggies (avoid grapes, raisins, onions and mushrooms)

Baby food that does NOT contain onion powder. Check the label carefully.

Cottage cheese. Use a small amount as dairy can upset some dogs digestive systems.

Chicken or beef bullion cubes, without onion.

Cheese

Pieces of meat

Yogurt

Honey

Peanut butter

Cheerios

If you have a big dog, try filling his bowl with water and some of the above as well as a toy or two and freeze the whole thing. Run the bowl under warm water once it’s frozen and you can give the giant ice cube as a big frozen puzzle toy! You may have seen zookeepers do this with polar bears and other wildlife. It’s a great (and cheap) enrichment activity.

Or, if you’re like me, just stay inside and run that air conditioner!



Welcome to Good Dogs, Unleashed!
April 1, 2010, 4:59 pm
Filed under: Miscellaneous

Sit! Stay! Good reader! Welcome to Good Dogs, Unleashed! the place for all things canine. Our goal is to help you find the good dog in every dog. Here you’ll find all kinds of information on the care and keeping of man’s best friend including training tips, behavior troubleshooting, current events, product reviews, canine news from all around the world and much more!  We hope that we can improve your relationship with your four legged friends and enrich their lives in the process. Look for lots of updates over the next few weeks and feel free to contact us with your ideas and comments.