Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Adventures in Dog-Sitting

(OK, almost wordless...)

Way back, approximately 8 billion years ago, when this whole hurricane displacement started (still going strong by the way. le sigh.), LWD recurring characters Tim (of custom dog-art fame), Jane, Luca, and Jackie took care of Desmond for a few days while we sifted through the damage. We still can't thank them enough!

Desmond made himself right at home, though not all existing dog residents were super pumped about that--some of them may or may not have tried to hide in the bathtub. (All pix taken by J & T)

P.S. Next week begins my three-week period of Animal Behavior College final exam prep. I know I'm barely around as it is, but I may seriously fall off the face of the blogosphere until that test is in my past. As you know, I took a six-month hold from the dog obedience instructor program after Sandy, so I'm a bit out of practice, even though I've been doing a few from-afar consultations for friends and family. Cross your fingers for me that I pass this thing with flying colors. I'm trying to graduate with honors over here! :-)

Monday, June 17, 2013

KONG Premium Treats Review & Giveaway

Boy, do we have a treat for you today! Literally!

OK. I'm really sorry, but I had to get that out of my system.

So then, yes: we've got a giveaway today--of treats! KONG Premium Treats, in fact. And this particular giveaway will have three winners (who will each get three different kinds of treats)! Why is this so exciting? Because these treats are awesome. I know it. Desmond knows it. And you'll know it, too, if you win some for yourself (or pick some up on your own accord).

Click on any of the pictures to make them bigger so you can read the text. All three images provided by KONG.
We haven't been able to get Desmond excited about much in the food department, so when I opened the review package from KONG and Desmond basically harassed me until I handed something over, I knew we had a winner. 

This package contained a large, bacon-flavored chew. It's what I had to relinquish to Desmond to get him to stop shoving his nose into any random body part he could reach while I was opening the package. I never even got to take a proper pic. He is kind of weird with chews, bones, rawhide, tracheas, etc. Sometimes he loves them and gobbles them up; other times, he sniffs and walks away--and possibly never bothers with it again. I was pleasantly surprised to see him run off with this and hide while he scarfed it down. Don't worry: I was nearby in case of any chew hazards (of which we had none). I would absolutely buy this chew and try the others like it.
KONG also sent us these chewy sweet potato treats, the bigger of the two chewy treats. Desmond loves these!
And the other chewy treat were these beef bites. Desmond really likes these, too, but I think he may like the sweet potato ones more. Not sure if that's because they are bigger, because he normally loves both of these flavors. I think he's just a piggy who wants a bigger treat.
Checking out the beef bites
Waiting nicely--if with an attitude--for permission to swipe the goods
I'm thrilled that we've got some new treats that Desmond looks forward to getting, but I'm especially happy that these are quality treats. They're made in the U.S., and there's no icky stuff in them. I would definitely buy them again. 

I put some of them in the KONG we have, which is the Leo, and that sort of worked. I mean, they fit in there fine, but they don't come back out easily--and we all know Desmond is no Rhodes Scholar (plus he's super lazy). So, the outcome of that experiment was Des trying to get treats out of the KONG for over a half hour, to no avail. He just kept licking and licking and giving the KONG dirty looks. He must have gotten something out of that, though, because I'm sure he would have given up earlier if not. There were still a bunch of treats when he was done, and they were super gross and sticky and kind of trapped in there. Don't think I'll be doing that again! We need to stick with the beginner-level treat-dispensing toys for this guy. 

If you'd like a chance to win some of these great products from the KONG Premium Treats line, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. There will be 3 winners of this giveaway--and all 3 winners will get all 3 treats featured in this post! U.S. residents 18 & older only, please. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

[FTC disclosure]: We received three bags of treats in exchange for our honest opinion. 
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Friday, June 7, 2013

If You Read Only One Thing Today, Read This: It's Not How They're Raised

I was in the middle of sharing this post from DINOS on our Facebook page (thanks to Mary for her share!), when I realized that I had more to say about it than was really FB warranted. So here we are.


When people ask me for training advice--especially for "problem" behaviors--I always make it very clear that MANAGEMENT is at least half the battle. And it's important to understand that so much of what humans deem "problems" are just natural instincts for dogs. Dogs are not humans; we have to teach them how to live in our world, but we have to do it with the right mindset. And this is true whether you have a puppy, a 5-year-old, or a senior.

So much contributes to a dog's behavior day in and day out--you cannot always just blame yourself for screwing everything up, being a bad dog parent, or even being a bad dog trainer (guilty, as charged!). You can do it all by the book and still not come out with a well-adjusted, CGC dog. There are things that will always be out of your control; dogs are individuals. You can also blame with all your heart the people who had your dog before you did and caused all the so-called damage, but that doesn't mean that you're off the hook.

This passage from the DINOS article says so much, and, sadly, it's something I've encountered with friends and family:
When people believe that “It’s All How They’re Raised”, there are some real-life consequences for the dogs. So we need to check ourselves.
Here are a few ways our words hurt:
People refuse to adopt adult dogs. This idea, that how they’re raised determines who a dog is, makes adopting out adult and senior dogs a real challenge. Why would adopters take a chance on an adult dog, who has been raised by someone else, when they could adopt a puppy and raise it “right” themselves? Some folks really believe this. Seriously, shelter workers are constantly confronted by this way of thinking. It stinks.

Meanwhile, those people did get puppies and by no means have perfect dogs. And it's OK to be OK with a dog who is not perfect, as long as you know how to properly MANAGE any behaviors that could present an issue, whether that issue is simply a nuisance to others or straight-up dangerous.

We are fully aware that Desmond is a DINOS, and we do everything we can to manage that. Right now, we're in a situation where we can't leave Desmond alone. People don't understand that. What's worse, though? People not understanding why we also can't just bring him with us everywhere, why that might not be the best thing for him, or even why that might be just really annoying for us to deal with. (If you have a young child, do you want to bring him with you to parties??)

Know your limits. Know your dog's limits. Accept them both. Then work within them and love one another. That's the best you can do for your dog.

It’s Not How They’re Raised, It’s How Dogs are Managed That Matters Most

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Useful & Fun Dog Accessories


This week, we're featured on Healthy Paws as contributor to the Dog Accessories Worth Fetching article.

I implore you to head on over there and check it out--you'll likely recognize all the featured dogs and their bloggers.

BONUS--here is a ridiculous photo of Desmond at daycare to help you get through the day:

Because why choose one of the many dog beds when the top of the small hard-plastic slide is available?

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