See that wall of green stuff ahead of me? Those are blackberry bushes! Even though they are a bit of a nuisance plant, we love eating their berries! I went to the park tonight to help Mom pick some, and then she took me on a quick walk on the wooded trails as a reward for me being so patient and good!
This morning, she and I went to our city's Saturday Market again. We were there during the peak hours, so we encountered lots of dogs, kids, and adults. Mom let several adults say hi to me, which I was thrilled about. And I heard several people compliment and comment on me... but I'm trying not to let it go to my head. It takes a lot of focus for me to get through the crowds at Mom's side and out of others' way. Plus we work on waiting and sitting while people go by. For a break, every once in awhile, she takes me to the edge of the market so that I can be a "boy dog" and smell around and pee on some bushes.
There was one little incident that bothered Mom a bit--and me, too, I'll admit. There was a dog there that worried me when it pulled on his leash towards me rather quickly, so I got in my old reactive mode and barked two or three barks at him. Mom got me moving right along, and I wasn't really phased; however, she was worried about me regressing with our training. Since I snapped out of it quickly (with the help of scrambled eggs), we made another lap around the market to finish off the morning with some positive experiences around other dogs. We were successful. I walked by several other dogs, including a couple approaches, and we stood by (quietly!) while some little Bostons were barking at a Newfie. I even played a little LAT with the same dog I barked at earlier.
I guess I wasn't as brave about that dog as we thought I could be. Mom says she's going to focus on reactivity work again for awhile. Sounds good to me! I love going out and about with Mom, and I know I have to behave well to do that!
After we got home, we played for a little bit, and then Mom loaded up Sophie into the car. She left me and Elsie at home! (Can you believe that?) They drove to Corvallis to return some things. The first store they went to was Peak Sports, where Sophie got lots of attention from a really nice lady and her husband. Then they walked through the Farmers Market, where Soph got a couple more compliments. Finally, they went to Animal Crackers Pet Supply for another return, where she got even more compliments and pets from employees and customers (see the pattern?).
Mom and Soph brought back lots of free food samples from the pet store because it just happened to be a "meet the vendors" day! The Orijen rep even named Sophie's breed correctly! Woof! And Mom got to surprise the Nature's Variety rep by telling him how old she is after he asked if she was a pup. (No sir! My bio-mom is almost 11!) Anyways, Soph told me she was a super good girl and enjoyed her afternoon with Mom.
Yes, that's my nose. And yes, those DogWell Jerky Bars are yummy!
When they got home, we played a little more in the yard and are now taking a break inside. It's too hot to stay out long! Later this evening, Elsie gets to go to the park to help Mom pick blackberries.
Here's Elsie this afternoon getting a head start on the berry picking! We love blackberries!
When I lay my chin on a cushion, please remove any/all objects on chosen cushion in a timely manner. I need my rest. And no. Please don't bother with patting another cushion. The decision has been made.
Because Champ has had a severe neck injury and has an elongated soft palate, the only thing I use his collar for is to attach ID tags.
Because Champ always seems to have behaviors we are working on improving/eliminating, I need to be able to get a hold of him easily and/or have him drag a line at times.
Hence, our use of harnesses.
I just haven't found the right one. I'm not that picky, I swear!
+No pressure on the neck.
+Design & materials that minimize rubbing/chafing.
+Padded or lined straps.
+Loop or handle over the back.
-No-pull design. (We use a separate harness for walking.)
What he has used for a day harness and still use occasionally:
+Step in harnesses: Straps too narrow/pressure not dispersed enough for my preference; Champ chewed on them (we've gone through multiple) when wearing.
+Padded Pulling/Carting harness: bulky; girth clip rubbed. (Did love how versatile and well padded it was)
+Easy Rider car harness: Would have stuck with this if the metal strap guides were shaped differently; as they are, they dig into the back when there is any pulling pressure from a leash.
+Julius K9 IDC Belt harness: plastic buckle rather bulky and right behind elbow; not very soft; not padded
+Comfortflex Sport harness: currently use the most, usually with the JK9 chest plate attachment; w/out the attachment, there seems to be too much pressure just above his breastbone; the attachment itself is not very comfortable seeming
Other harnesses we have tried:
-Tuff traditional halter
-EzyDog quick clip
-ASPCA car harness
Harnesses I am leaning towards:
Hurtta Padded Y-harness
Doggles V-Mesh harness
Fences for Fido is a non-profit organization in Oregon and Washington that helps get dogs off chains! Talk about life changing! If you watch some of the videos, don't be surprised if you need to grab a tissue!
START is a non-profit organization that transports dogs from high-kill shelters in California to cooperating shelters in the NW, where these amazing dogs will have a chance for a better life. Additionally, START helps fund community spay/neuter programs. (Prepared to see something heartbreaking? Watch the story about Indy.)
Their logo: "Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide." Need I say more? The documentary can be streamed online from Amazon, Netflix, and probably some others, or you can read the book. Be prepared to be inspired by some incredibly strong, determined women who've suffered more than I can even imagine.
I took a longer break from blogging than originally planned. Woops. Here's the recap:
7/3: My birthday! After Mom's final, we drove to Eastern Oregon (well, NE OR, really). When we got home, Elsie ran into the pasture for the first time (against the rules!) and got chased out by a very angry Dandy. Mom was super thankful she didn't get hurt. Naughty....
7/4: We played a little outside. It was hot so we hung out inside for a good part of the day. My great-grandpa came over for dinner because my great-grandma was still at the coast.
7/5: Mom left us early in the morning. Grandma and Grandpa got/had to dogsit us for the weekend while Mom went camping in SW Oregon. I wanted to go camping, but Mom said I needed to stay home (and be good). Mom made us a bunch of frozen yogurt/meat/fruit treats and Kongs to help entertain us when she was gone--yum!
7/6: I was pretty good for G&G, but they had to humor both me and Sophie by sleeping in separate rooms. I slept with Grandma on Mom's bed. Grandpa slept with Soph on his and Grandma's bed. We wouldn't settle down for the night any other way. Spoiled, I know.
7/7: Same deal. I tried to be good. Oh yeah, with Mom gone, I didn't have to get my ear medicines! That was awesome.
7/8: Mom returned! I was so happy. I gave her a million kisses.
7/9: We went to the vet clinic Mom used to work at to confirm that my HomeAgain microchip was indeed not working. (Two clinics, six scanners.) Spent the rest of the day doin' what I wanted.
7/10: We drove back to Western Oregon in the morning. Mom co-taught her first class without the main instructor present. She said it was fun. Her co-trainer is another law student/dog nerd.
7/11: We just hung out at home because Mom had to write her final paper for Contracts Drafting.
7/12: I had a recheck vet exam for my ears and another microchip injected. They took me to the back treatment room to do this, and this was only our second meeting! I did not want to leave Mom! But I survived. Mom could hear every word, so she knows I didn't whimper or yelp when they stuck me with the BIG needle.
Afterwards, we just hung out again because Mom had to finish her paper. She turned it in at the school, and then went to work with a project dog at the shelter.
And that brings us to today!
Mom and I went to the farmers' market this morning and had the most successful trip there yet! We practiced loose leash heeling, and I was so good at it! There were tons of kids, strollers, and dogs in the crowd, too. One man and his son even recognized my breed--I can count on one paw the number of times that's ever happened!
(Mom took this in a less busy part of the market.)
Horse news: Mom's horse Orion is doing some serious vertical head shaking. Paws, hooves, and fingers crossed over here that they can figure out and treat whatever's going on! At first they thought it was just flies and gnats, but it got progressively worse over the last couple weeks. The vet came out yesterday to sedate and look him over. Mom thinks he suspected ear mites cuz he just gave Grandpa some mineral oil for his ears. He was going to call WSU, though, and then come back out to fully anesthetize Orion on Wednesday--if there is no improvement--for more diagnostics.
Garden news: We finally have tomatoes starting! They're green, but hey, it's about time! So far, we've harvested 4 pepper, 2 zucchini, 3 yellow squash, 2 handfuls of green beans, and 3 strawberries.
And that's it! Tomorrow we're going to tackle some major yard work and Mom has to finish up another writing project.