A blog about my life with dogs.......

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Winds of change


       My last post we were enjoying the snow fall. Today, it's at least 50 degrees and I walked the dogs in a light spring jacket and tennis shoes! Everybody in the neighborhood is out with their dog enjoying the weather. Bugsy and Comet are enjoying it too, standing out on the porch with their noses in the air and the wind blowing their fur coats. A wind of change is blowing. February many loses hit this home, but now we are full speed March-ing in to spring. Moving forward. We have been honored this week by the loving mention of Comet in my clients obituary. I am proud of Comets work in the group home, the hospital and the hospice house. Again, I feel truly honored.

     Here at home I am working on fine tuning some house manners. When new dogs, foster dogs, or visiting dogs are in this house certain rules apply and I like to have those rules be followed before a change occurs. For instance,  when multiple dogs are at the door wanting to go to the yard- the old rule was for the dogs to "Sit" "Wait" and then be released by name one at a time. This routine is now out of practice and Comet and Bugsy are taking full advantage. When I say, "wanna go outside?" the two of them rush to the door with there noses touching it. If I ever want to add a 3rd dog, the best time to start prepping the boys is now. So, I've hung a bag of treats next to the door and reward them as needed for following the new door routine which is "wanna go outside?" dogs head to door then I stand between them and the door and say "settle" with a hand signal along with it. Sit didn't work well because Bugsy would always rather "down" than "sit" and if I say settle, then I'm not ruining Bugsy's sit. I reward the dogs for settling down which can be sitting or downing or just calming down-but always for backing from the door as well. The bag of treats by the door (which hangs well out of reach of all paws and noses) is working well for recall too! Bugsy will immediately come when I call him from the yard every time I call when there is NOT a UPS truck in our driveway. Comet is usually slow to come when called, he comes, but in his own time and not if there is a squirrel. So now it is easy for me to reward him for coming when called and this is working so well that I am already adjusting the reward for only when he quickly comes when called.
Can you see his fur blowing in the wind?

     Another preparation I'm making is a little harder of a routine for me to follow through with. Bugsy and Comet both love to cuddle. I enjoy them sleeping with me in bed at night, but sleeping in the bed is a big privilege. I want Bugsy and Comet to be able to deal with disappointment and not associate it with another being (like oh say, a new furry friend in the house). When a new dog comes in the house, that dog is crated at night for the first several days or weeks(or even months depending on the dog). The crate will be in the bedroom at night where the crated dog could see and hear Bugsy and Comet having the privilege of sleeping in bed with me, where the crated dog cannot go at night. To ensure that this does not become a problem I keep all dogs out of bed overnight before and during transition periods. Some people think that one dog on an elevated surface, above another dog, shows that the higher up dog is dominant. I'm not so sure that it is as black and white as that at all. But, the human bed is a really special place, it is where the person sleeps, there are lots of pillows and blankets, and it's just so darn warm and cozy. Of course a dog wants to be there! Some dogs in bed and others not, just doesn't seem to set all creatures involved up for success. Besides, Bugsy and Comet have very nice dogs beds all their own.

     As always leash manners are a life long project. Most days the boys are great on walks but we are still working on fine tuning. I love my dogs, and going on walks with them should be so much fun! It is, but I am absolutely guilty of (occasionally)becoming a dictator during my leash walks around the neighborhood. Imagine me walking with Bugsy and Comet. Comet catches a sniff of something and suddenly pulls off to the side. "ah ah!" I say and freeze waiting for him to come back to my side, not letting him sniff the precious scent that is so alluring because he tugged on the leash to get to it. Oh dear. Training is great, but I am guilty of needing to lighten up sometimes!

Dinner plans?
Have a heart........

A lamb heart.

Lamb hearts I feed whole to the dogs and cut into smaller chunks for the cats.

Or a beef heart.....
Beef heart I serve in chunks. Kitchen scissors are handy for this job.
The more I look at this picture, the less I am sure that it is actually beef heart! My photo folder has it labeled as heart, but I'm thinking it is actually beef chunks. Likely some heart some other organs in this picture.

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