Monday, December 17, 2012

Bob's Wrath

Bob received his monthly flea treatment and he is furious. He has decided I need to be punished.

He is glaring at me from the foot of the bed. Yes, he is curled up on my bed glaring at me instead of...

• playing the pillow game. This game seems to involve leaping/landing on my pillow while jumping over my head.

• walking on me just as I start to drift off.

• playing the "I'm scratching on the furniture, just kidding" game. This involves inserting his nails onto a forbidden piece of furniture and then popping his head up to make sure I'm watching.

• running into the bathroom to check the acoustics.

The minute Bob fell asleep I stared to wonder what else can I do to ensure he punishes me with a great night sleep.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Play Date with Jenny

Marley and I recently had a play date with her friend Jenny. We had a great time!  Jenny enjoyed going to the park.  I was able to experience handling two dogs.

Jenny was excited and a bit nervous to ride in my car without her dad. There was some slight whining and panting, overall she was great.

Bob was not happy to see Jenny at all, he fluffed up to twice his size and stalked the dogs.

I quickly discovered it was not easy to walk with two dogs sniffing around my feet.  Leashes quickly wrapped around my legs.  It was interesting to note that when I asked Marley to go potty, both dogs went potty at the same time.

In the car, Marley has her blanket on the front seat and she is content to ride there; however, while Jenny was riding in the back she had to join her.  It was simply adorable and if I had not been driving I would have taken photos of both dogs sitting on the seat looking forward.  There was no whining or panting or jumping around in the back seat. They looked like two civilized ladies being driven to the spa. I was so impressed.

Marley was very excited to have a friend join her at the park.  She played more in one hour than she has in the last month.  She initiated play with Jenny and other dogs.  It was interesting to note that after a few minutes of playing Jenny would stop and come check in with me.

In addition to walking two dogs on leashes, managing both dogs at the park was complicated.  Marley and Jenny love to meet new dogs at the gate.  I've been working with Marley to recall her when new dogs are going to walk in; however, I had no expectations Jenny would respond to my recall.  This meant I had to make sure to retrieve her at the gate before any dogs tried to enter the park.  It was a bit tiresome and Marley took full advantage of me having to retrieve Jenny to be a bit naughty.

I was very surprised at Marley's reaction when we dropped Jenny off at home.  Marley whined while looking out the window and when she realized we were not going to go back for Jenny, she threw herself on the seat with a giant sigh. She was not a happy camper.

I expected some resistance from Marley at having another dog at home and in the car in addition to having to share my time, I was very surprised at her happiness at having another dog around.

I suppose this might mean Marley is ready for a canine sibling.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Leash Monsters

I just attended a fantastic seminar called "Leash Monsters" at 4Paws University.  It was fantastic!

A Leash Monster is a dog that goes ballistic when it spots a dog, cat, bicycle, etc... while on a leash.  It was cute she called us members of the Midnight Walkers Club. 

She started by sharing her story of her first dog that was a leash monster; he sounded like quite a handful.  We proceeded by discussing body language in dogs and we saw a few videos.  The discussion on causes was minimal due to the fact that many dogs are adopted and many times the reasons are unknown. 

She ended by showing us techniques she teaches her students. 

I loved he way she organized the class and the topics she presented.  I also liked the way she didn't try to make us feel bad we had naughty dogs. It was very factual with lots of helpful tips.

The best thing I learned:  Most of the techniques that were mentioned were already part of my toolkit. This made me feel like I wasn't harming or torturing Marley while trying to manage her behavior. 

4Paws University will be hosting seminars once a month for the next couple of months.  This seminar was so good, I may attend the whole series.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Bill Signed to protect Abused Animals

The Governor signed SB1500 by Sen. Ted W. Lieu. 

It is very exciting.  

When a pet is picked up due to animal cruelty or neglect it will not be returned to the owner.  It is my understanding that pets must be returned if the owners can prove the pet is healthy and there is adequate shelter and food for the animal.  At this time the pet is held by animal control who takes care of it and therefore the pet is always healthy by the time this is in court.  This will allow an abused or neglected pet to be either released to a rescue organization or adopted much sooner than in the past. 

Here is the link for the news article. 

I'm not clear on the nuances of the law, I'm sure its pretty clear I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pleased an abused animal will not be returned to an abusive home.   If you know more about this law please share your feedback.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pool Plunge at Cameron Park Lake

On Saturday we attended our favorite summer event, Pool Plunge! It is a fabulous event hosted by the El Dorado Dog Owners Guild as a dog park fundraiser. It seems every year the event is just better than the last and Marley has a great time, even if she doesn't swim.

This year we received a fun goodie bag with some flyers for local animal businesses and a few treats.


Nobody is looking, I can help myself, right?

Marley went swimming! 
Well, not actually swimming, she prefers to stalk the ripples in the water. It seems every year she wades further into the lake.  Maybe by next year she'll actually swim.

After wading in the water and running around we decided it was time for a snack.  We found our favorite vendor, Pups-n-Cups and we both had a tasty snack.  The donuts looked scrumptious and Marley thought they were fantastic.

After our snack / shopping break we went wading again.  Marley had a great time chasing the ripples in the water and running in the sand.

What, its time to go?

I am really impressed with the great job the El Dorado Dog Owners Guild did organizing such a fun event.  Every year they seem to make it better and bigger.  This year they added a Dog free 5k prior to the swimming event.  The raffle prizes were fantastic and there was a wide variety of prizes.  The volunteers are incredibly friendly and seem to have a great time hosting the event.  We look forward to next year!

Marley tried to stay awake for the ride home. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer Heat

This summer has been unusually hot in our region.  Temperatures have been over 100 degrees for weeks and today was about 108 degrees.  Totally crazy weather.

Some of our tricks for staying safe in extreme heat are:

  • I don't allow Marley to walk on asphalt or concrete if I'm not comfortable walking barefoot.  Her paws are sensitive and I don't want them to blister.  She walks on dirt or grass.
  • We avoid the outdoors between 2-6 p.m., the hottest part of the day.
  • I carry cool water with me on our walks.
  • Marley receives  most of her meals from a treat ball, due to our restrictive schedule she needs additional mental stimulation.
  • I brush her coat every evening to remove bits of dry brush or grass.  Foxtails are a huge problem and cling to her coat.
  • We are working on our agility foundation exercises.
  • Trick training is fantastic during the heat.

We have also started inventing  some fun indoor games, which I'll share with you soon.  This weekend we'll spend some time at the lake and the river, which should be refreshing.  I hope everybody is staying cool.

Here are some additional tips for surviving the summer weather.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I'm very proud of Marley!

Marley has been incredibly smug for the last week.
Do you want to know why?  

We were practicing weaving 6 poles and I thought, hmm...why don't I try 12 poles?  Marley looked at the poles and wove all 12 poles.  I thought it was a fluke and tried again...and again...and again.  I can confidently say, "Marley is weaving!"

I'm not sure when it clicked but she is doing it without skipping any poles or pausing.  We still have some work  with weaving such as proofing and sequencing; however, this is a huge accomplishment and I'm totally proud of my silly dog.
Of course I could weave!  I was just tricking you for more cookies. 
 Were you really worried?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our 1st Agility Trial

I know you're probably dying to know what happened this weekend at Marley's first trial.  Well, I have to begin by saying we survived the heat (temperatures between 100-106 degrees the whole weekend) and Marley had a great time.  We did Perf Jumpers on both Saturday and Sunday.  We are still having issues with Marley's height, I had her measured both days and the measurements are very different.

Saturday:  I found a quiet cool spot under a tree by the car to crate Marley.  I picked up my map and worked on my strategy. When it was our turn I lined Marley up at the start and took off her collar.  I released her and she took make new friends with the pole setters and the Judge.  I managed to call her back and she kept finding new stuff to sniff.  Needless to say it was quite an experience.  I'm really glad I didn't have very many expectations.  Overall, I met my goals by staying on course and Marley met her goal by having a great time.

Sunday:  The quiet cool spot under the tree started to cause Marley some stress and I ended up moving her closer to the ring.   She kept an eye on me the entire time she was in her crate. It was a bit unnerving.  I spent time working on nose touches and heeling to help her overcome the distractions.  I also spent more time at the practice jump.  When it was our turn I set her up and slowly walked away keeping my eye on her the entire time.  I released her and she jumped over the jump and took off towards the Judge.  I used my no-nonsense voice and called her back. Once she was next too me it was fantastic.  She took all the jumps in front of her and didn't hesitate going into the tunnels.  It was marvelous until we headed towards the finish.  With one jump left she veered away and started running towards the scribe and timer.  I managed to call her back and jump over the last jump. It was awesome!

Our instructor met us at the exit of the ring and told me we did a great job and gave me some advice on cool down.  Our instructor is the best!

Overall, we had a great time and everybody was simply so nice and welcoming. I can't wait to do it all over again.

Friday, June 15, 2012

It is about time!

We are heading to our first trial.

I'm very nervous and I've spent the this week fretting.  The highlight of my panic was  when we measured Marley in class and she measured 13" which means she'll need to jump 16".  When I measured her she was 12" which means we've practiced jumping 12". The trial secretary was fantastic and moved Marley to performance.

Our goals for this trial are quite simple.

  • Survive temperatures of over 100 degrees
  • Don't go off course
  • Stay calm (not sure if I'll actually meet this goal)
  • Have a fun time
I really do not have expectations from us at this event I mainly want to see how Marley does in this environment.  

I'm so nervous!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It is only a matter of time

File:Striped Skunk.jpgNature is not our friend.

Recently a skunk has been making my front entryway his highway to the city.  At first I thought it was a fluke and he would find a better route.  However, we have had a few sightings.

  • I noticed him a building away and chose to stay inside.
  • I didn't see him until he was between my front door and myself.  I waited about 20 minutes for him to choose to move on before I was able to go inside again.  
  • He was wandering by the stairs next to my front door.  I turned around and took Marley out the back door. 
Yesterday, I decided to take Marley out early and miss our striped neighbor; unfortunately, he had the same idea. We ended up going back inside and waiting for about 30 minutes before we went back out.  

At this point I've started collecting skunk odor removal remedies, I figure it is only a matter of time before we have an encounter. 

So far I've learned the popular tomato juice remedy is not very effective.  The popular baking soda, peroxide, dawn seems to be a good remedy.  

My favorite is the Sadie Skunk Solution:  when your dog has been sprayed smear your dog with Crisco and then wash with shampoo.  It works under the premise that the oil in the Crisco will draw out the oils in the skunk spray.  Two of our friends have tried it and it worked great.  

I keep hoping I never have to try it but it seems like it is only a matter of time. If you have a great solution that worked for you please feel free to share it. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Attitude from Marley

Today is The Dog Agility Blog Action Day and the topic of discussion is Attitude.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to share how I've had to learn to adjust my attitude when I'm working with Marley.  I can't suck it up and pretend to be happy and pleasant when I feel the complete opposite.  I wanted to share how my change in attitude has altered our weave training. I wanted to share how I've learned to evaluate our emotional state prior to each training session and feel comfortable about just loading everything back in the car and playing Frisbee instead of training if we are having a poor day.  I had great plans for my blog post and then we went to class...

Where Marley dished out the attitude, I have to say she does a great impression of a teenager.  

  • We were doing some hand touches, after three she looks at me...throws herself on the ground and barks. 
  • We were running a jumping sequence where Marley kept missing a jump.  I stop Marley looks at the instructor, looks at me and rolls her eyes.  Yes, I was the one making the error.
  • We were on our pre-class walk and Marley saw a cat strolling by and was ready to chase.  I asked her to leave it and she gives me the "you have got to be kidding" look and proceeds to whine. 
  • I was trying to read something and she wanted attention so she starts making soft primate like noises until I acknowledged her presence. 
I'm beginning to suspect she watches James Dean movies while I'm at work. She has no problem conveying her emotional state; however, I have to say I'm not pleased with the whole eye-rolling throwing herself on the ground.  

I did notice all the Border Collies seem to be perpetually happy, I'm sure they don't dish out attitude. Hm..maybe I should stop anthropomorphizing.

If you would like to read some great articles about attitude in agility please head on over to the Dog Agility Blog Action Day.

Monday, May 28, 2012

I attended my first trial

I attended without Marley. I feel a little guilty because I had so much fun.  A long time ago I figured it would be a good idea to volunteer and get a good feel on what to expect without having to worry about Marley.  I was pretty flexible and didn't request a specific task, I figured whatever they assigned me would be a great learning experience.

I was assigned the Gate!

When I first saw the schedule I expected to see my name under pole setter or leash runner, something that made sense for a newbie.  After looking up the Gate, I have to say I was totally intimidated and figured it was a mistake.

It was not a mistake.

I was given a sharpie and hustled over to a gigantic white board with lists of dogs.  My instructions were:  Call the dogs in order and make sure they enter the ring at the right time.  Umm...ok, I guess I could do that.

Then I was swarmed with people who had conflicts and wanted to move up or down on the list.  So, I was trying to talk to everybody, call dogs and make sure everybody knew when to enter the ring.  And, somebody would inevitability say, "you have to make sure to watch X handler/dog."  

As I was questioning my sanity, a friend saw me and said, "you need to speak up nobody can hear you and during your break you need to find Joe."  Eventually, I found Joe, who was totally calm and he gave me some great advice.  

After observing Joe, I found my groove and since nobody complained I figure I must have done alright.  I was able to watch some amazing dogs.  

I was totally inspired and I think Marley would enjoy a trial.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Favorite...

I totally love watching Marley when she the lightbulb goes off.  Her eyes brighten, her grin gets huge and her whole body wiggles. Those moments are my reward.

The whole body wiggles started during weave training (I didn't want to write about weaving but I just can't help myself).  We were working the arch around two poles.  She skipped the poles and ran to the robot.  She looked around wondering why there were no treats.  Upon noticing the poles, I saw her eyes brighten as she scampered through the poles.  Of course she went in the wrong direction but I somehow managed restrained myself and wait.  She looked around and realized she was in the wrong spot so she turned around and went through the poles the correctly.  The robot rewarded her and I started jumping up and down in excitement.  She rewarded me with the grin and whole body wiggles. 

Yesterday, we were working on combining two sets of poles and she kept skipping the first set on the right side.  After analyzing my set-up I realized it may be confusing and I decided to slightly change the angle of the first set of poles. The angle made it easier for her to see the direction she needed to run and she rewarded me with a huge grin and whole body wiggles.

I hope everybody gets those magic moments from their dog.  It totally fills my heart with joy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I am in Love...

...with a robot!

I don't know if you recall how frustrating I found weaving.  I will not bore you with the details of our weaving trauma; however, I was in tears and ready to walk away from agility.  Marley just couldn't weave consistently, more importantly she wouldn't weave in front of our instructor.

Our instructor told me I was making all the classic newbie mistakes and I needed to go back to the beginning with two poles.  I was ready to cry when she brings out the Manners Minder.

It has revolutionized our weave training.  It has pretty much removed me from the equation. All I have to do is play with Marley.  How awesome is that!

Within a week she was entering the two poles from anywhere on the arch.*  We now have distance and drive through the poles.  I've recently added the second set of poles and within two sessions she is driving through the poles.

Why didn't anybody tell me about this fabulous invention?   

Marley resting after our training session.

* For our non-agility friends:  The arch is the area around the two poles, excluding the front of the poles.  Think of a pie with a slice taken out.  The empty space caused by the missing slice is the front of the poles and the remaining pie is the arch.  

Sunday, April 29, 2012

My dog ate my to-do list

We had one of those weekends when we chucked my carefully planned to-do list and hit the trails.

We tried some running on the quiet trails. 

Some trees needed to be climbed.

I'm sure next weekend shall be way more productive.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Found Dog: What I did

Quick recap:  I found an Abandoned Border Collie (ABC dog) at the park; if you wish please read the first part Found Dog: What Would You Do? 

I was just about in tears while I sat at the Emergency Vet wondering what to do with the ABC dog I evaluated the situation. 
  • The dog was very nice and mellow. 
  • His coat looked clean, he needed a good brushing. 
  • I didn't see any pests or obvious problems. 
  • He was fat which ment somebody enjoyeed feeding him.  
  • He knew how to walk on a leash, so he belonged to somebody.
  • He enjoyed the drive in the car
So, I took him home.  Once there I lead him to the front door and kept the leash on while we walked to the patio.  Marley was a bit perplexed this strange dog was coming inside.  Bob was incredibly curious and walked around behind the dog on our way to the patio.  He quickly found the water bowl and drank like he hadn't had water all day. I left the patio door open so Marley and Bob could become used to him.

I finally receive a call from somebody who can help.  Border Collie Rescue of Northern California  offered great advise.  I am so pleased with the assistance they provided.

She advised advised me to do the following:

  • Check Craigslist for lost dogs.
  • If I was not sure about the dog, it was ok to keep him outside as long as he couldn't escape. 
  • I could take the dog to the county shelter the next morning and let them know BCRNC would pick him up after the stray time expired.
  • She also advised me not to worry about him not eating, he was probably nervous and wouldn't be interested in eating. 
The following day, I took him to the County Shelter and they told me they would keep him for 14 days if he didn't have a microchip.  

He is a very nice dog and I hope he was just separated from his people and not abandoned.  I keep wondering if I should have done something different.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Found Dog: What would you do?

Marley was enjoying a romp at the park and I realized it was really late.  I gathered all of our things and as I reached the gate I realized there was a dog inside the double gate structure.  I looked around for the dog owner and after a few minutes realized nobody was heading in our direction.  The dog was scared and kept trying to get out.  I went in and checked the dog for a collar, which he was wearing but had no tags.  We let him into the park, to keep him from escaping and allow other people to enter and exit.

I asked everybody if they owned the dog.  Everybody was shocked the dog had been abandoned at the park; however, nobody offered to help.  By this time it is quite late and I have no idea what to do with a large abandoned dog.

I start calling everybody I know asking for assistance.  I keep hoping somebody will say, "I'll be right over, I'll take care of it."  Nobody does, however everybody has a lot of great ideas.  I call the county shelter and their after hours response leaves a lot to be desired.

At this point the park is pretty empty and I decide to take him to the Emergency Vet to check for a microchip. I've also heard a rumor that they will keep found animals overnight.  Turns out the dog does not have a microchip and the Vet will not accept the dog overnight.

Found dog: Blue eyed border collie
The receptionist takes a few photos of the found dog and my contact information and wishes me luck.

I find myself sitting in the reception area wondering what to do?  I don't know this dog and while he seems calm, I know he is scared and therefore unpredictable.  I do not want to expose Marley or Bob to an unpredictable dog.  

What would you do in this situation? 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

We would like to wish you a happy Easter. Hopefully the Easter Bunny delivered a basket full of chocolate goodies.  Marley loves Easter and she waits with bated breath every year to meet the Easter Bunny.

The Bunny is going to arrive soon...yum!

Maybe if I lay quietly in the white flowers, I can catch him.

Hmm...maybe more color is a better option.

Where is he?  I'm ready for a snack.
Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tea and Dog Biscuits

This last weekend was wet and rainy; a perfect weekend to stay indoors cuddling with Marley and reading a good book. I read the most delightful book, Tea and Dog Biscuits by Barrie Hawkins.

Its about a couple in England who decide to start a rescue for German Shepards.  They have made plans as in "when we have more time" until a major illness strikes Mrs. Hawkins.  She wants Barrie to start the rescue to give him focus while she undergoes surgery.  While she is in the hospital a young man calls begging him to take his dog because he is homeless and living in his car, thus starts the rescue organization.

The writing made it easy to imagine living with German Shepards and running a rescue.  As charming and delightful as the book is Barrie does not hide the dark side of rescue. I'll stop before I give the entire story away.  

It is simply a great read and perfect for a dark rainy day. 

The rescue organization is GSD Homefinders and 10% of the royalties from the book are going directly to the rescue organization. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day in the Country

I located a fancy training facility that was advertising Lure Coursing, so of course we had to check it out.  Upon arrival we discovered we had access to the entire property and were welcome to hike, try dock diving, and use the agility course. 

I thought this would be a great opportunity to practice agility in a new location with different equipment.  We normally practice on turf and sand was a fun change.  We focused on Jumps and tunnels, Marley had a fabulous time.  There were a lot of distractions and Marley really impressed me with her focus and concentration.  (I've included some photos taken with my phone.)

Marley waiting to be released; she looks so earnest. 


I simply love the expression on her face when she jumps.  She is always so excited and pleased with herself.

After playing in the agility field we hiked around some empty fields where sheep are normally kept.  I tried to entice Marley into some dock diving; she declined.  I also spent some time watching the sheep being worked by some awesome border collies and shelties.

While I was watching the sheep; Marley made a wonderful discovery; rabbits kept in cages where they can't run away!  Yes, my little dog started "harassing" the livestock. As soon as I noticed her standing in front of the rabbit pen pawing at the fencing, I realized it was time to leash her up and head back to city living.

"What?  It wasn't the snack bar?"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Agility friends are simply the best!

Marley and I are starting weave training at the beginning again.  Yep, we are back to 2 poles.

During our training there seems to be a moment when Marley understands and I'll move forward to train a new component and Marley "forgets."  I find I need to go back and review before going forward in many other aspects of training.  I can't believe I thought weaving would be any different.

Everybody has been so kind and helpful, I am simply overwhelmed by the support I've received. 

Thank You!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Brand New Equipment

Today we went to the park to practice some weaving. According to Marley, these weave poles are new and she has no idea what I want.

Last week she was weaving 6-poles just fine. She was taking jumps and then weaving, without any problems.

I simply don't know what is causing such inconsistency.

Everybody keeps advising me to just enjoy the journey; of course, their dogs weave just fine.

After putting my weave poles away, I decided to ensure we ended our training session on a positive note. I unpacked our new frisbee and Marley had a great time!

Maybe, we need to find a new activity.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When Marley Met Mac

The adoption of a new pet is exciting and cause for celebration. As excited as I was to hear my friends adopted a Yellow Lab from rescue, I waited for him to become used to his new home before we met him.  His name is Mac and he is simply gorgeous; very tall and lean.  He is very much aware his purpose in life is to retrieve and he has a ton of energy.

Marley meeting Mac.
"You are so tall and handsome"

Reagan was delighted to see her BFF, until Marley met Mac.

 Reagan was not pleased to discover Marley preferred the company of Mac. 
She was right there ready to separate them every time Marley initiated play.
"Mac you are so handsome, do you want to play with me?"

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bark for Life Adventures

I felt really good about our plans for the weekend. We were going to attend the American Cancer Society Bark for Life event and after doing our part we were going to play in the park  Somehow our weekend didn't quite work out the way I planned.  I learned two things this weekend. First, it turns out a car will not make it to your destination if directions are provided by two different mapping systems.  Second, the Curse of the Black Dog was upon me this weekend.

We arrived at our destination while they were still stetting up and we decided it was a great opportunity to explore the park.  It amused Marley to see the skate park was fenced in and kids had to go through some pretty heavy doors to be able to play. During our meandering we discovered a dog park, which meant we had to explore.

Tanzanite Community Park is about two acres around half of a small lake.  It contains a small developed area with benches and a drinking fountain.  The rest of the park is rather simple with a walking trail and native grass.  Dogs of all sizes are allowed inside; if your dog has issues with dogs who are smaller or larger you may not want to visit this park.

The view from one end of the park. 

Marley and Rose enjoyed exploring the park. 
 (Curse of the Black Dog:  can you find Marley?)

There was a lot of cool public art around the dog park.  
(Curse of the Black Dog:  can you find Marley?) 

After exploring Marley took a nap in the sun. 

We enjoyed the park quite a bit and after Marley's nap we meandered back to the Bark for Life event. It appeared rather empty and we were disappointed to have missed the event. 

Quick recap of the lessons I learned this weekend:  
  1. Find one mapping system and use those directions.  
  2. If early to an event, wait by the event.  Side trips while fun will cause you to miss the event.
  3. Black dogs, while wonderful are susceptible to the Curse of the Black Dog.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Desperate Landscapes is Renovating a Dog Park

While doing research on dog park design I made a delightful discovery, groundbreaking has just happened at the 2011 Beneful® Dream Dog Park.  I was even more excited to discover Jason Cameron, who hosts DIY Network’s “Desperate Landscapes” and is managing the renovation. I hope this means the park construction will be filmed.

The renovated dog park, which will be unveiled in summer 2012, will include many fun features, such as water splash pads to keep puppies cool during the summer; exercise paths with hills to climb and tunnels to explore; a large fetch field for big dogs and a mini-fetch football field for small dogs.  The best feature in my opinion is the community gathering spot, which will be used as a fundraiser.

Marley is a bit upset to discover the 2011 Beneful® Dream Dog Park Contest winner Honey Belle was able to participate in the groundbreaking at the new dog park. Marley thinks all groundbreaking is her responsibility.

Honey Belle Breaking Ground at the 2011 Beneful Dream Dog Park .

I'm looking forward to learning more about the construction of the renovated dog park.  Actually, I'm dusting off my graph paper and I'm starting my design for the 2012 contest.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fun at the Park

 Marley and I invited Rose and Axle to the park with us the other day.  Rose, the pitbull puppy is at that teen puppy age where she knows what you want and will think about it before giving you a full body pout and maybe doing as you asked.  Axle is the tiny black chihuahua that doesn't know he is a tiny dog.

Rose and her big brother Axle. 

Rose really wanted to play.

Marley on the other hand spent some time interacting with other dogs. 
 "Hahaaa...the dog doesn't realize how uncool he is in a sweater!"

 "Will you play with me?"  

"What do I have to do to convince everybody I don't play with puppies"

"Please make Marley play with me"

After a while Marley surprised everybody by initiating play with Rose.  It was very cute, Marley walked up to Rose, bumped her and took off running.  She then circled back to bump into Rose and play bow. Unfortunately, Rose doesn't consider the chasing game as fun.

 Play with me, please

When we first met Rose she was smaller than Marley.  She is now a big girl who is working at becoming a service dog and once she overcomes her teen puppy stage, I'm sure she'll be great.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dog Park Tour

Marley and I love traveling and I've become interested in dog park design. One cool and overcast day we gathered two friends with dogs and piled into my car and set off on the 2009 Dog Park Tour.

While Marley had fun sniffing and meeting new dogs, I spent the entire time photographing cool and unique features at each park.

Phoenix Park in Fair Oaks
I love this park, it has three sections:  Large Dog; Timid/Tiny Dog; and Small/Gentle Dog.  They are very careful of the lawn and they tend to close the park to prevent damage the lawn.  I would advise you to check their website prior to heading out.  My favorite feature is their pool area, which is surrounded by permeable pavers.  Permeable pavers allow water to soak through to the ground and prevent the area from becoming a muddy and unsafe.

Auburn Ravine Dog Park in Lincoln
This is simply the largest dog park I have ever seen; both the small and large dog areas are gigantic.  We parked in the rear and entered through a fun nature area.  The small dog area has a huge old oak tree in the center.  The best feature is the french drain at the water faucet.  It directs the water away and prevents a muddy mucky mess and it looks fantastic.

Bear Dog Park in Roseville
This is considered the best dog park in the region;  I think it is nice and has some great features.  The small and large dog areas are a substantial size.  There is a walking path with decomposed granite with a grassy area in the center.  There are a lot of shade features and this cool puppy play equipment area.  Both the sides of the park have the play equipment.  The park also features a dog shower where you can hose off your dog prior to taking him home.

C Bar C dog park in Citrus Heights
The large dog area is enormous they have a shady oak grove towards the rear and it is fabulous if you have a large dog.  The small dog area was added after a tragic accident and is rather small.  The coolest feature is the Hole in the Fence so you can toss out the used poop bags.  It struck my as a unique and totally cool.

William Hughes Dog Park in Roseville
I found this park by accident, it is a hidden gem.  While on the small side overall, both sides are a good size.
The best feature is a fenced off quarter for training.  This is simply awesome of you want to work on some off leash training.  This is also one of the only parks with a dog like sculpture on the outside.  I love the dog angel bench.

I'm starting to plan for 2012 Dog Park Tour and I would like you to recommend any cool parks that you have visited.  We like road trips so location is not a problem.