Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Smarty paws

I wanted to take some photos of Marley figuring out her new puzzle; except she figured it out right away. I tried to make if difficult and she grinned while she ate her quickly found treat. I am a bit amazed at how quick she figured it out.

I am a bit disappointed with the puzzle. I liked the sliders. I did not like the pegs, they are just too easy to knock over and that makes the puzzle kind of too easy. While the box indicates it is made of wood, it has a plastic feel, which I don't like.

I think I'm going to stick to Nina Ottosson puzzles. I really like the wood and I feel the puzzles are really challenging.

A friend recently told me it is my fault Marley solved the puzzle so quickly. He told me agility was making my dog too smart and I should cut it out!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Really, this is it?

We enjoyed an old fashioned Christmas. The focus was not on the gifts but on enjoying time with friends and family. I tried not to overdo gifts for Marley, after all how many tennis balls does a non-fetching dog really need.

Marley received a new puzzle and a bully stick.

I was good, what else do I get?

I received the best gift ever! Marley and Bob sharing my lap.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Holidays

We would like to wish everybody a safe and happy Holidays!

We attended a fundraiser for Mercer Veterinary Clinic for the Homeless. It is a student run organization that provides veterinary care for pets of the homeless. We had a great time and we totally love our photo.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Playdate with King

Marley had a play date today with King and his little brother Ace, she had a great time. I'm glad she didn't chase their feline siblings.

King showed her around his huge yard and pointed out all the best spots.
Quick come here, I'll show you my favorite digging spot.

Ace just wanted to play fetch.
Quick throw the toy and I'll kind of bring it back. Hurry!

Marley helped them patrol the yard. This involved a lot of running around and barking.
Stay out of the yard, we are sure you don't belong! We are large, fierce and will tear you apart!

They all took a grass snack break.

They all had a great time. I enjoyed throwing toys for dogs that appreciate a great game of fetch and Marley enjoyed running around and rolling in grass. Everybody had so much fun that Ace wanted to go home with us, we resisted the urge to bring him home.

Thanks to King and Ace's mom for inviting us over, we had a great time.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Magic

Bob is the weirdest cat I have ever lived with, probably because he is the only cat who actually behaves like a cat. He is extremely aloof and very picky about who he considers a friend. He does not like many of my friends and he refuses to allow his first human to invade his space. He has insisted Marley maintain a 3" separation between them at all times.

Dogs are totally smelly!

I totally wanted them to become friends and cuddle together, like Marley and Mahone used to cuddle. Bob totally refused...until this week!

This dog is such a pain but kind of warm!

It took freezing temperatures to coax Bob into sharing my lap.

Friday, December 3, 2010

It is freezing cold!

It has rained every weekend and the temperatures are hoovering around freezing. I'm always worried about Marley being cold and I'm not sure how to tell if she is freezing. While her fur is fairly long she does not have a double coat or any extra body fat to keep her insulated. In public she never shivers or tries to cuddle or provide any indication she may be cold. I've arbitrarily decided if I'm wearing multiple layers, Marley will wear a sweater.

Marley does not like it one bit, however she is being a good sport about wearing the sweater.

Does this color make my coat look shiny?

Oh no, is that a neighbor?

I better make a run for it before they see me!

Photos in this post taken by Peaceful Pets.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jump...what jump?

Marley has been doing great with jumps. At every class session she takes the jumps with out any problems, send aways are fine, multiple jumps are fine and recalls over jumps are fine. Distractions around jumps have not been a problem and broad jumps have been easy.

Until this week!

We get to class and our instructor gave us a pop quiz on pinwheels. (Yes, we have exams in agility class...doesn't everybody?) I'm not concerned because Marley has been doing so well on jumps. When it is our turn she looks around and sits instead of going towards the jump. I walk her towards the jump and she runs around the jump. I restart the exercise and she jumps over one jump and runs around the next.

Our instructor totally gave me the "you haven't been doing your homework" look and nicely suggested we increase homework time on jumps.

The only good thing about class is I may have finally mastered the rear cross.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lure Coursing

I think I owe Marley a huge apology, in the past I've called her unruly and out of control. This weekend I realized I had never really seen Marley out of control. We tried lure coursing and the minute she saw the lure she lost all sense of control.

Yep, she started yipping, barking, pulling on the leash and trembling with excitement. I ended up finding a spot behind a huge truck, which managed to block her view of the course, which seemed to help a bit.

We took 5 turns on the course and she loved every moment. Well, until her turn ended and then I had to be fast and leash her quickly. I ended up having to pick her up to remove her from the course, she squirmed a lot and I almost dropped her a few times.

Check out her stride, she is amazing.

She looks so intense and happy.

I am so grateful this was mentioned at Just Another Dog Blog, Marley had such a great time. I have to keep my eyes open for more opportunities to do this more often.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What a difference

I feel like a real agility trainer!

I finally broke down and rented a training yard for an hour of training. This allows us to practice on equipment I do not own and this small change has really helped me focus on agility. I also think Marley is having fun.

I still have a few concerns and we will probably wing it a bit until I've found a good course of action. We only have the space for an hour and I'm worried about pushing Marley too far before she is ready. I'm also worried about making the activity boring by doing too many drills in too short of a time.

So far I've done the following:
  • I've planned out our activities. For this session we were working on the teeter and the tunnel.
  • I alternated between both activities. For example we worked on driving to the tunnel about 5 times and then we went to the teeter and worked on that for about 5 times. We repeated each set about three times.
  • We took a break and I threw her favorite toy for a few times. I tried her special agility tuggy, except she wasn't interested.
  • I made sure we took water breaks, while the temperature was mild the sun was pretty hot.
  • We also worked on a self control exercise. We walked around the equipment and we worked on keeping her from taking off and running to the equipment.
I'm pleased with our first session in the training yard. I'm not sure if I'm working enough or if I should increase the number of drills on the equipment. I'm hope it falls together now that I feel like a real agility trainer.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The most difficult part of owning a dog

When I was a child Frosted Flakes were considered a healthy part of a good breakfast and dogs were fed dog chow. As a teen I learned about Science Diet and I was totally sold on it being the healthiest food around for pets. My cats have always received the healthiest food I could find at the pet store.

While I was looking for Marley I discovered a friend's dog was allergic to corn and they were experimenting with premium food. Also, the "Massive Pet Food Recall" occurred and I realized I had to be more cautious about the food I purchased.

Currently, I feed Marley a variation on the rotation diet. I'm rotating between dry, canned and raw. I try to rotate brands and protein source. I also add a variety of toppers to dry and canned food, such as yogurt, fruit and veggies.

I would like to feel confident feeding raw; however I'm not sure I totally understand dog nutrition. I am currently learning as much as possible by reading a few books, Whole Dog Journal and asking as many questions as possible. A great friend is sharing her dog nutrition knowledge in her new blog, Around the Dog Bowl.

I appreciate any advise or suggestions for reading material.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wanted...New Agility Mom

Marley is doing great in Agility and until today we were great partners. Today, I totally embarrassed my dog. I strongly suspect she wanted to leave with some of the real trainers in our class.

It seems the following behavior is embarrassing for Marley:
  • It seems to embarrass my dog that I can't figure out a rear cross. I keep tripping over my feet and falling or tripping over my dog. After a couple of months I should have figured this out, unfortunately I had to ask for a refresher.
  • Marley enjoys being sent away to do something and she thinks I'm really slow. She totally showed attitude while waiting for me on the pause table.
  • While doing send aways she was totally squirmy, probably because I was slow and I picked her up to restart the exercise. Picking her up seems to calm her down, probably because she doesn't like it very much. This part not only embarrassed Marley but our trainer chastised me, I need to allow Marley the dignity of walking.
  • Instead of treats I brought our agility tuggy to a few activities. Marley doesn't believe in toys during agility and she was totally unhappy by my insistence on playing with toys when she could have treats instead.
Hopefully our class will be better next week and Marley will not stow away with a different trainer.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Marley - Trainer of People
Or Master Manipulator?

Last winter Marley convinced me she couldn't wear any clothing. She has recently decided she doesn't like her harness. The same harness she has worn every morning for the last 3 years without complaint.

Every morning I'll stumble out to the living room and she sulks while I put on her harness. After the harness is on she is perky and ready to go for her walk. I've checked the harness and it fits loosely and I make sure it does not pull on her coat. I'm not sure why she is sulking.

She has started training her dog walker; according to reports she is sulking and adding some vocalization. Yep, she is trying to train her dog walker to ditch the harness.

I wonder how fast he'll succumb to her tricky human training.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Raining Cats & Dogs

It has been pouring all weekend and Marley and I have spent most of it outside. We went to the park and we had it all to ourselves so we did the funnest thing ever. We hunted squirrels, well to be honest I pointed them out and Marley chased them. We also enjoyed a fun game of chase, I ran and Marley chased me and when she got close I ran the other way after a while I let her catch me and then we started over until we were tired. We were both happy and relaxed when we returned home and I had hot cocoa while Marley enjoyed a chewy.

While walking to my car completely soaked I started to wonder, where are all the other dogs? Where is everybody? Are they all lucky and live in houses with yards? Are they all calm and relaxed while sitting at home staring out the window?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Multiple dogs, how?

How do people deal with multiple dogs?

I've been trying to wrap my mind around what my life would be like if I adopted another dog. I'm having such a difficult time imagining having enough time to care for multiple dogs.

At this time after dinner I spend about an hour grooming Marley. This includes combing out her ears, brushing her coat, checking her nails and brushing her teeth.

After our grooming session I spend some time playing with Marley. I usually attempt to play fetch; however she prefers hide and seek. We also do some training during this time.

After this I will give her a chewy and I'll spend some time with Bob. This involves grooming him and cuddling.

I have such a hard time visualizing how I could add another hour to my day to spend grooming an additional dog. How in the world do people with multiple dogs do this?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Road Trip

I'm planning Marley's second road trip. I love road trips and I'm so happy Marley does so well in the car. I've started by mapping our route and checking our destination for pet friendly sites.

I want to know how can the stuff of a 12 lb dog can take up so much room? Marley's stuff includes:
  • Crate - to keep her safe in an unfamiliar location
  • Blankets - got to be comfy
  • Towel - in case she gets muddy, heaven forbid she actually swims
  • Vaccine certificate - My vet provides me one at our annual visit and I scan it into my computer for safe keeping (paper vanishes and multiplies at my house).
  • Food and water - always safe to use what is familiar
  • Bowls - for food and water
  • Toys - a variety to keep it fun, must not forget our soccer ball or bubbles
  • Pet friendly snacks - Carrots and apples
  • Extra Leash - just to be safe
  • Regular gear - such as poop bags and long leash
Umm...12 lb dog requires 30 lbs of equipment how is this possible?

After visiting multiple sites looking for pet friendly destinations and mapping my route I discovered the best site ever! Go Pet Friendly is simply so wonderful, in addition to having great tips, they have a brand new Road Trip Planner! They are currently working on it and I encountered a slight snag. I emailed them with the problem and they responded within minutes. I am amazed with their friendly, professional customer service and I look forward to using them for my next road trip.

Monday, October 11, 2010

We are on a Mission

Marley and I are on a very important mission. We are trying to find the best, secret dog play spot. So far we have found a wonderful green field at a local high school and a fabulous enclosed green field in a quiet neighborhood. I was so surprised to find the secret enclosed green field; it is tucked away between a couple of houses and it appears the neighbors have taken it over for their dogs. I'm going to use it to practice some jumps with Marley. If you happen to have a secret dog safe play area we would love to hear more about it.

"More secret running spots, please"

I've noticed Marley does the weirdest thing after a walk. She will lay down and begin sniffing her paws and she will spend quite a while smelling herself until she has inspected her whole body. I wonder why she does this?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fair Oaks Dog Walk

Fair Oaks is best known for its feral chickens...Yep, feral chickens! Marley loses her mind every time we go to fair oaks. She sees these large birds wandering around the ground and she knows she can catch one for dinner.

We met up with some friends for the easy 2 mile walk (from left to right: Casey, Penny, Bruiser-hiding behind Marley).
Don't they know we have to look at the black box and smile?

Marley really enjoyed the walk, we took a small break at the river. This picture is an example of my view every time we go for a walk and it always makes me smile. Marley is alert and her tail is slowly waging as she trots along.

We found more friends relaxing after the walk. All three are Siberian Husky mixes (from left to right: Apollo, Radar, Bialto and of course Marley).

We participated in some of the games and we were 5th in Musical Sit (everybody walks in a circle and when the music stops the last dog to sit is out). We really need to work on heel, Marley tends to lallygag when ever we heel.

We also attempted to participate in the small dog race. This is so embarrassing, we were ready to go and Marley and I had great eye contact. We were so going to win this race, they said go and Marley ran after a chicken. Yep my fabulous dog was totally distracted by the feral chickens.

Overall, everybody had a great time and we plan on attending this again next year. Of course we will practice heeling and we will try some controlled recalls around birds before the next event.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dogscaping Creating the Perfect Backyard & Garden for You and Your Dog

I like to pretend I can garden, in reality I tend to murder my plants. Especially the "hard to kill" plants like mint or rosemary. I can win awards for the scrawniest tomato plants. I've actually grown the only zucchini plant that produces 3 vegetables.

Well, I've recently moved to a new place with a large patio and I thought it would make a great space for plants and veggies. Once I started to think about what I wanted to plant, I started to worry about Marley eating something toxic.

I was delighted to find Dogscaping! It begins by explaining how to design for the type of dog you have. It walks you though plant selection and organic fertilizers, compost and mulch. There are a few dog recipies and lots of great ideas.

As I flipped through the beautiful pages, I saw two dogs that looked familiar. It was Johanna and Gracie from Raise a Green Dog, I felt like I knew celebrities. Their article about organic lawns was fabulous.

Overall, I loved this book, it was simply beautiful. The ideas were fabulous and there were projects within different sections such as a diy dog pond, doggy sandbox and a fetching strip. I especially loved the section on acceptable plants for the type of dog you have, for example plants that will survive canine excavators. I see a dog friendly water feature in Marley's future.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Maddie and Marley

We had a play date with the cutest border collie foster dog ever. Maddie is a small (about 35 lbs) smooth coat border collie. She was a fetching fiend and enjoyed running after Marley. They played nicely, however she spent most of her time focused on her foster mom.
Just throw it, I'll bring it back!

Isn't she beautiful? She loved chasing her toys and most of the time brought it back.

Marley is doing her best border collie imitation.
Throw it, I'll bring it back!

I'm sure she really wanted to bring it back, unfortunately she was distracted by grass.

I think they look awesome together, if I was an impulsive person I would totally adopt Maddie.

If you are interested in adopting a Border Collie you may be interested in Border Collie Rescue of Northern California. They have quite a few dogs available in additon to Maddie.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Agility Update - Marley's New Thing

At the last trial I attended I noticed all the border collies barked during their run. I'm not sure if this is typical border collie behavior or if it was just a big coincidence that all the border collies I saw barked. I remember so clearly thinking how lucky I am to have found Marley. While she gets excited she doesn't bark unless she wants to scare somebody.

This week at agility class Marley showed her true colors...she barked at me whenever she thought I was slow. Yep my little dog barked when I didn't run fast enough or when I wasn't clear about what I wanted from her or when the treat wasn't delivered in a timely manner. I was a bit disturbed and I figured it was just the excitement of class.

Nope, she did it again when we were practicing jumps at home. I'm glad she is excited and I'm very happy she enjoys agility. I'm not very happy about her new demanding behavior.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Is it October yet?

There are so many fun events to attend in October, we are so excited and can't wait.

Fair Oaks Dog Walk - On October 2, 2010, this is a 2-mile walk to the river and back to Fair Oaks Village. We've attended this and have had a great time. We are looking forward to the little dog races and musical sit. Marley's favorite part of the walk are the feral chickens...yes you read that correctly, feral chickens.

PAWED at the Park - On October 3, 2010, this is a fundraiser for the Mobile Spay/Neuter and Disaster Response Clinic. This event includes a 3K and 5K walk/run; themed costume contests and two behavior contests. Marley is very excited about the dog demos; she knows I'll be distracted and she can steal cookies from my purse.

Pooch Pursuit - On October 24, 2010, this is a fundraiser for the Morris Animal Foundation Canine Cancer Campaign. This event is a 1 mile walk or a 5K walk/run. There will be a K9 officers exhibition, agility demo, costume contest and lots of games.

We enjoy attending fundraising events, they are great causes and we enjoy attending dog friendly events.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On Higher Ground

Someone doesn't like resting on the ground.

We'll meet you at the car!
Turtles are slow but this one hasn't moved!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pooch Plunge at Cameron Park Lake

El Dorado Dog Owners Group (EDDOG) is raising money for the construction of two dog parks in El Dorado County. The Pooch Plunge is a great event where dogs can run and play in the water. It is really special because normally pets are not allowed at Cameron Park Lake.

I was a bit concerned because Marley normally does not like any water activities; however, when we arrived she immediately ran into the water.

She played along the shore and stopped when the water began to deepen.

She took breaks in the sand watched the crazy, ball fetching labs.

She made friends.

After an hour when it was getting hot, Marley chose to break in the shade.

We saw a Riley twin (Labradoodle mix).

Overall, we had a great time at this event. I think Marley likes the gentle slope of the lake and the small waves. She is very adamant at stopping when it becomes warm. I look forward to more of these events.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Congratulations to...

The winner of the Beneful WagWorld Dog Park Contest is Pat McNeely & Koda!

See the winning entry here: Newton Dog Park in Johns Creek, GA.

The park will contain a rubberized mulch trail around the perimeter of the one-acre park and a water spray area with a dog pool.

It sounds so exciting, Marley and I may have to take a trip to Johns Creek in order to check this out when it is complete.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hartz Recalls Dog Treats

I have not purchased any Hartz products after a friend had a horrible experience with their flea products, and I was not really surprised to see this article.

Hartz is recalling nearly 75,000 bags of dog treats.

Salmonella was found in 8-ounce bags of Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats for Dogs stamped with the lot code BZ0969101E, according to the FDA.

If you have any questions you should contact Hartz at 1-800-275-1414.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Agility Update

Marley continues to do very well with our foundation training. I am a bit curious as to why she always seems to do much better in class than at home. We've been working on contacts and while she is doing fine, I'm not sure she understands the concept. Jumps are still going smoothly.

The best thing about Agility Training is the focus and control Marley is learning. I've found she pays more attention to me and my actions. For example a couple of weeks ago we were visiting a friend and I was telling a story (I tend to talk with my hands a lot) and half way into my story I found Marley had leaped up into my arms. I was a bit startled and realized I had made a motion similar to our Up hand signal.

On our morning walks whenever we encounter a neighbor or hear a loud sound, instead of barking as soon as she notices this she will look at me and wait for my response. If I'm on the ball and acknowledge the sound or neighbor she will calmly continue our walk. If I'm not paying attention she will start barking. I really appreciate that she has the self-control to wait for a response from me before choosing to act.

Overall, I'm very pleased with our progress.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Woofstock 2010

We had a fabulous time at this event, we saw so much cool stuff. We participated in the Best Trick contest and lost to a dog that did magic tricks. Yep, Cain did magic tricks, I am in awe that a dog can be taught to do magic tricks. We also saw some interesting dogs that were celebrating in style.

This dog was advertising Mastiff Rescue.
We caught some flyball and I was simply amazed at how totally cool and fun it looks. Marley took the opportunity to poke around my bag and steal two gingerbread man cookies. I managed to catch her before she pilfered all the treats I had purchased.

This is one of the jumps the dogs are going to go over while retrieving the ball. They run in a straight line and once they reach the end they jump a panel and catch the tennis ball and race back over the jumps.

We also caught the Busy Bee's Dogs show and it was fabulous. Here the dog is making the tunnel roll forward, which means he has to walk backwards.

One dog pushed the other around in a vehicle. Marley wasn't too impressed and she mostly napped and digested the stolen cookies.

There was even a train ride around the event, it looked like so much fun. Rescue row was fabulous there were so many mellow dogs waiting to be adopted.

I want a train ride before we go home!

I has such a good time, I'm already looking forward to the event next year. Marley and I are going to practice some new tricks and hopefully next time we might win.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Doors and Doorways

I have always insisted Marley wait for permission before crossing a doorway. Living in a city it is extremely dangerous for a pet or child to run outside. I'm especially strict about her waiting for permission before exiting the car.

This was fairly easy to teach, this is what I did:
  • First we learned stay and wait in obedience class.
  • Each time we encountered a door leading outside I asked her to sit/wait. I then open the door and invite her outside.
  • Once outside I asked her to sit while I locked my door.
  • If we were returning from our walk we repeat the process.
This ensures she will sit and wait nicely while I juggle all my stuff while closing the door. I don't know about most people but leaving the house involves a lot of juggling of purse, leash, beverage, book and snack. Having my dog wait just ensures I don't drop anything.

I am extremely concerned about Marley jumping out of the car to chase squirrels. For this activity I enlisted the help of Marley's favorite people.
  • I waited until I knew she could wait and understood sit/wait at doors in my home.
  • I started to ask her to wait while I stood in front of the door (basically using my body as an obstacle).
  • Once she didn't try to jump out, I started moving slightly to one side (basically creating a situation where there was a slight opening).
  • I waited until there was enough opening for Marley to jump out if she chose, pretty much the entire door width.
  • I then enlisted Marley's friends and asked them to call her name and basically entice her to leave the car. We started with me blocking the door and reminding her to wait.
  • She was pretty good about it until I moved to the side of the door and she jumped out, thankfully she was wearing her leash.
  • I picked her up and put her back in the car and repeated the command wait.
  • I kept the sessions really short and we repeated this each and every time we were at the car.
This took a long time for her to learn this to my satisfaction. At this point I trust her to stay in the car while I walk around the car. She is very good about waiting for permission to leave the car; however, I will never try this anywhere near a road.

  • This was posted at the request of Bruiser's mom; I would strongly suggest completing an obedience class before trying this.
  • This is what I do every time we leave the house or leave the car. If for any reason Marley doesn't wait, we start over at the beginning.
  • We had to start at the beginning when we moved. Marley stayed on a leash until I had time to begin teaching her the rules applied to our new home.
  • I do not put her in situations where she can fail; therefore, I will never do this anywhere near a busy road.

Monday, August 23, 2010

We received an Award!

I am the lucky recipient of the the:

I received this from Boomer. Thank you for the award.

The rules are simple.

1. Thank the blogger who gave it to you.
  • Thank you Boomer!

2. Share 7 things about yourself:

  • We love to make new friends at the park.
  • Water is for ducks not dogs. Marley might wade in it but never swim.
  • Marley loves to trick me into thinking she'll fetch. She'll run to the toy and sit there and wait for me to retrieve it and throw it again.
  • The treat bin at the pet store is the best thing ever...sometimes there are bits on the ground for snacking.
  • Bell peppers are yummy.
  • If you want a snack sit buy a guy and look sad, they will always share their snacks.
  • Cats shouldn't run if they don't want to be chased! They probably run to get dogs in trouble for chasing them.
3. Pass it on to 15 other blogger.
  • I don't think I know 15 bloggers who have not received this award. If you haven't received it please consider yourself awarded. Thanks.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Woofstock 2010

Woofstock 2010 in Rocklin sounds like a fabulous event. It will be held on Sunday, August 29, 2010 and runs from 9-2 p.m. at Johnson-Springview Park in Rocklin. There will be live music, contests, 3k and 5k walk/run, demos and a fenced play area.

You need to preregister for the following events:
  • 3k/5k Walk/Run
  • Weiner dog races
  • 60's costume contest (human dog duos)
There will be demos by the following organizations:

This event is raising funds for the following agencies:
I think Marley will love this event, especially all the vendor booths. Check out the vendor list before you go, it sounds like it might be wise to be ready to purchase some cool stuff.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Might as well jump. Jump!
Might as well jump.
Go ahead, jump. Jump!
Go ahead, jump.

(Words by Van Halen)

A while ago Marley started running around jumps in class. She thought it was fun to just run around the jumps and start something new. Well, thanks to some new tips from our new trainer and I think Marley is starting to reconsider her jumping philosophy.

I started by taking my weave poles apart and creating a makeshift jump that is small enough to fit in my living room. I also started using treats that are large enough for Marley to see on the ground and will not stick to carpet. Finally, I've incorporated our clicker into our jump training.

Having the jump in the living room means we play at jumping often (you know during commercials). Marley loves playing jump in the living room. We have played at her running from one side to the other, she thinks the game is run and catch the treat before it hits the floor. We have also played at her going through the jump and coming back to start position.

When we showed up to class I was a bit concerned because I had not practiced jumping anywhere else and was worried about Marley trying on grass. Our instructor was teaching us the pinwheel and Marley surprised the heck out of me! She went from jump to jump with no shenanigans. She didn't try to run away! She didn't act like this was a new activity!

I am so impressed with her behavior. I've also realized we do really well at any activity that can be practiced indoors (you know during commercials).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rescuing Sprite

A couple of days after Mahone died, a friend gave me a copy of Rescuing Sprite. I was a bit flabbergasted she would give me such a book and promised to read it soon.

It is a lovely story about a man who talks his family into acquiring a dog and his family loved having a pet so much they look for and adopt Sprite. They were informed Sprite was about 3-6 years old. Sprite adapts quickly to their household and everybody loves him. After some time they realize Sprite is much older than they believed and he has some undiagnosed health problems.

The author discovers that no matter who we are or what we do we all seem to feel the same way about our pets. Our pets seem to occupy a part of our soul that defies explanation. I loved this book and I'm glad I took the time to read it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Emergency Pet Care

A local paper had a fascinating article about providing emergency veterinary assistance to low income pet owners.

The United Animal Nations provides small grants to people in emergency situations. These grants run between $100 - $300.

If you know someone who is homeless and their pet needs veterinary care they can go to the Mercer Veterinary Clinic.

Our local shelters and SPCA are not equipped to provide emergency care and they will refer you to an emergency pet hospital. Please do not surrender your pet to those agencies in the hope they will receive emergency care, if they have an abundance of needy pets they will euthanize pets in need of medical attention.

If you are looking for a place to donate funds or time please contact some of these agencies. Marley and I participate in the Mercer Vet clinic Santa Paws fundraiser every year and we have a great time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Road Trip

I've always enjoyed a spontaneous road trip. You know waking up and just tossing things in your car and driving to Vegas. After living with Marley for two years, I decided it was time for Marley to experience a road trip.

Road trip to where?

Since Marley is not welcome at most establishments and leaving her in a car is not an option, I found myself spending some time planning. I invited some friends and we scoured the internet looking for a dog friendly, scenic location. We settled on North Lake Tahoe. I contacted the Visitors Bureau and requested information on dog friendly areas. We gathered our supplies; water, food, toys and towels and took off on our adventure.

Riley (laboradoodle), Bruiser (Bishon) and Marley waiting for treats.

Riley was in doggy nirvana. He got to run around and fetch in water!

Marley got to run around and smell stuff that didn't involve any water.

Are we going somewhere else?

Marley was not too impressed with our second location.

Marley enjoying the breeze and shade (possibly plotting Riley's early demise for making her look bad for not fetching or playing in water).

Riley oblivious to anything except fetching in water.

Everybody had a great time and ALL the dogs slept on the way home. I'm glad we planned our trip because many of the beaches did not allow dogs at all. Marley seemed to enjoy the entire concept and I'm starting to think about other areas to visit.