What do dogs do on their day off?

Today, and on every holiday I wrestle with the age old question…

 

Working hard

We may never discover the answer, but I’ll be sure to ponder this and other mysteries at the beach today.

 

Happy Labor Day!

Hope everyone enjoys the day. I’m sure your pup will be happy to bring you to work and let you lie around with them!

Hide-and-Treat

A couple years back I tried a fun experiment with Eko which tested a trait unique to dogs – the ability to follow human body language cues.

Eko took to the hidden treat game pretty quickly so I was interested to see how puppy Penny would fare.

28.1

It’s funny how dogs always know when something is up. I put down the two cups and Penny jumped to attention.

28.2

“Ok, what’s the game? I know there’s a game here somewhere.”

28.3

“Will, I see the treats, stop messing around and let’s play!”

I corralled Penny into the bathroom where she couldn’t view the cups and then hid a treat under one. I remember Eko took a number of tries to catch the gist of the game, but to my surprise Penny got it from her very first time.

28.4

Penny dashed to the spot and looked immediately to me for a cue

28.5

When I pointed to the correct cup, Penny went right for it

28.6

While Eko coached her on from the sidelines, Penny nailed the challenge even when there were four cups

The most interesting part of rerunning the experiment was how Penny instantly followed my cues. I’m not sure if that means she keeps a closer eye on me than Eko did, or if it means Eko just preferred smashing the cups. Or maybe it means puppies tend to watch closer than adult dogs?  Any theories?

28.7

Next up, Eko will teach Penny to play three card monte!

If you have a few cups at home, run the experiment and let me know how it goes! It’s easy and a lot of fun.

Penny on the loose (leash)!

One of my biggest missteps with Eko was how long it took us to finally get comfortable with loose leash walking. There are few things more frustrating than a dog dragging you down the street so I’ve made it my mission to devote time each day to loose leash training with Penny. How committed am I to the cause?27.1

Committed enough to walk outside in public wearing a treat fanny pack!

27.2

But seriously, treat training pouches are awesome for training on the go. I like putting the treats in a prescription-type bottle that sits in the bag. It keeps the bag clean and I can cap the treats to keep them fresh. These Zuke’s minis are my go-to training treat of choice

27.3

How cool do I look with this bad boy at my side!?!?

27.4

And look who also showed up at my side when I put on the bag. I’m guessing it was for the treats and not my sartorial sensibilities 

27.5

This is “Exhibit A” in terms of what we want to avoid

In the past I worked with Penny without treats. When she pulled I would immediately stop and/or change directions. While we made some progress, I felt Penny didn’t grasp that I wanted her by my side.

27.6

Instead of training Penny to do what I wanted, I used treats to grab her attention

27.7

Penny always wants treats so she happily sat by my side to get them

27.8

When Penny walked by my side (and especially when she looked up at me) I rewarded her

27.9

Pretty soon she was glued to my hip. Penny couldn’t believe her good fortune

27.91

“All I have to do is stay next to him and this chump keeps giving me treats! Too easy.”

With my nifty treat pouch I can easily and consistently reward Penny at the exact moment I need to. And positive reinforcement with treats has yielded much better results than just positive reinforcement alone. Penny now walks by my side because she wants to.

So there I was feeling snazzy in my treat pouch with Penny walking politely by my side when I got a nice ego check.

27.92

“OHMYGOSH LOOK BEHIND YOU!”

27.93

“Mini-humans! I must go to them!” 

27.94

It wasn’t easy but I did manage to grab Penny’s attention again

27.95

Still lots of work to do, but we’re making progress

The key to getting Penny to walk on a loose leash? It’s the same key to getting to Carnegie Hall. Practice, practice, practice!

Happy National Dog Day!

Did you know today was National Dog Day?

26.1

“National Dog Day? Tell me more. I’m all ears.”

Colleen Paige “founded National Dog Day in 2004 to honor dogs, to give them ‘a day’, to show our deep appreciation.”

26.2

“I’m on board. Bathe me in appreciation. And treats.”

As a kid I remember telling my mom the President had declared a National Children’s Day to promote and celebrate the well-being of youngsters. Her response? “That’s nice. Tell him every day is National Children’s Day. Now go mow the lawn.”

I hear echoes of my mom’s tongue-in-cheek response when I think about National Dog Day, but I’m all about celebrating pups every day. That’s why we hit the beach to spread the word.

26.3

“I don’t have any money…oh, you just wanted to tell me about National Dog Day? Whew.”

26.4

Living every day like it’s National Dog Day

Most importantly, National Dog Day has been a great resource to raise awareness for adoptions.

26.5

Petfinder.com teamed with the band American Authors to create an awesome new music video feauturing adopted pups. Check out the premiere on Petfinder later today!

26.6

Here’s to the dogs, today and every day

Unlike punk-kid-me, our dogs never asked for a special day in their honor. And also unlike punk-kid-me, they absolutely deserve one. Happy National Dog Day!

Penny’s growing up in more ways than one

Penny turns five months old tomorrow. Five months is no time at all, but Penny’s managed to squeeze in lots of mischief, mayhem and adventure.  However, one thing she can no longer squeeze into is her baby crate. While Penny grows in maturity, she also grows in size and the puppy crate is now too tight. That’s why it was time to help my little hermit crab find a new shell.

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, adventure, marking our territory, blog, dogs, photo

Penny was quite perturbed when I moved, disassembled and cleaned the little crate. It was her first home! 

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, adventure, marking our territory, blog, dogs, photo

“Hey buddy, what are you doing to my house!?”

I broke out the large crate Eko used to use and set it up extra comfy for my pup. Eko’s old digs would be perfect as Penny’s new digs. But Eko and Penny didn’t see it that way at first.
Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, adventure, marking our territory, blog, dogs, photo

Eko immediately claimed his old spot, and Penny stole Eko’s bed

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, adventure, marking our territory, blog, dogs, photo

Both pups were not pleased to give up their old homes, but I had planned for just such insolence

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, adventure, marking our territory, blog, dogs, photo

No pup can resist the appeal of a bribe!

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, adventure, marking our territory, blog, dogs, photo

“Alright, now if you guys eat these treats it means you have to leave your old beds and…”

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, adventure, marking our territory, blog, dogs, photo

“Yeah, yeah, whatever, just give us the treats!”

I’m happy to report the gang has gracefully let go of the old and embraced the new. It’s an important part of growing up. Speaking of which, Penny isn’t the only growing pup in the family. Check out this shot of Auggie.

When did this happen!?

I have a trip home planned for October and I can’t wait for Auggie and Penny to see each other again. Times have changed just a bit.

Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, adventure, marking our territory, blog, dogs, photo

Hard to believe they were ever this small

We’re going to need a bigger bed for these two to share, that’s for sure!

[VIDEO] My Dogs Review Apps for Pets

Stormy weather kept us indoors much of this week, so we turned to a 21st century solution to stave off the boredom. Here’s what Eko and Penny think of some apps that have been specifically designed for pets:

If you’ve found any fun pet-specific apps in your digital travels be sure to let me know. There’s always another rainy day.