Monday, January 20, 2014

A little DIY

While I may not have the best self-control when it come to buying stuff for my dogs, at least I have the smarts to not pay twenty bucks for doggy door bells.  ;)  

This is the third set I've made with the same bells I bought over four years ago and some freebie ribbon that was part of the packaging to some new wash clothes I just bought.  

Five minutes + $0.

You can make them as simple as you want (knots all the way!), do as I did using some knots and sewing at the ends, or make it all fancy-like and sew EVERYTHING.

Or, you can go buy a premade set.  Don't worry.  I won't judge.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A more pleasant post! Tricks!

Well, thanks for checking back after I went off the deep end a bit! Hey, it happens to everyone, right?! Right.

I did another impromptu recording session with the dogs today.  Once again, unedited--my apologies.  The truth is, I am just to busy to bother right now.  Maybe one day, I'll look into it and realize how easy it is, but that remains to be seen.

Without further ado, here is Champ doing his "pauvre chien" (poor dog), shame, and chin cues.  During the first transition from shame to chin, he thought we were headed towards his prayers cue--my bad.  I need to clear some things up for him.  Later (if you can stick it out!), he does make the transitions much better.

That's it for today!  I have other tricks already recorded that I will post soon!

Have a great Friday or three day weekend!  (As of tomorrow, I will no longer have three day weekends....  I know, poor me.)

-Champ's Mom

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Better days ahead?! Let's hope.

Rant #1.
I'm taking a course in NPOs.  Mind you, this is law school.  So, Prof, why the hell are we wasting two weeks on the effin' history of charity?  Seriously.  If we are practicing as consultants for NPOs, no one is going to give a crap whether we know the historical development and differences between charity and philanthropy.  What they are going to want to know is that we can get what they need done.  Of course, to do so, we have to know how to do it, which is why we're taking this course.  Now the question remains: why are we not learning what we need to know.

Nothing against history, really--I like it, but when we are paying this much $$$, I'd rather learn how to be lawyers....

Reading assignment one of three for tonight is 35 pages long [on history].  Naturally, the best way I found to handle the assignment was to procrastinate and post a rant here.... Whoops.  

Rant #2.
I "strongly dislike" one of my neighbors.  I better stop there because it is a long story....

Rant #3.
If you're volunteering at an animal shelter, congratulations, you've got a good heart.  Now, use your primate brain, and read up on any number of the training/behavior sheets so conveniently located in the volunteer room or sign up with any number of the volunteer training classes so that you can not make such a huge ass of yourself.  I don't want to listen to you give your dog two dozen corrections in the span of three minutes!  Is it too much to ask for you to tell the poor thing what you would like him to do?!

Clearly "you" ^ is not directed at anyone reading this....  ;)  At least I hope not!

Yours always,
Champ's [bitchy] Mom

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Not So Grand Reveal...

...of my first Youtube video. :)  Warning: this was an impromptu recording, and I did absolutely no editing or preparation.

Self-critic's notes:
Yes, I need new slipcovers.
Yes, those are some lovely leggings.  (My dad hates my leggings.  He's probably just jealous that he can't wear them.)
And yes, that Thundershirt is more than a little bit big on her.

Okay, more seriously....
Yes, my timing is off more times than I'd like to have seen.
My aim is way off.  I need to practice this more!
Fabulous Sheila (oh, you don't know who she is?  Well, just know this: you want to know her, trust me.) suggested rather than tossing in the direction of the pull to drop them at my heels.  I like that suggestion more than the original method!
Several times I tossed (more like threw), stepped away, and thus created more tension before she had the chance to respond.
Bad treat choice.  Cheerios blended in too much to the rug which slowed down our session and they bounced a lot.

But all in all?   I'm glad I didn't say "ummm" more!

Well, that's it!  Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Nature's Variety Instinct Grain Free Biscuit Treats with Duck Meal and Sweet Potato

I'm trying to get back into regular posting!  Thank goodness the Tasty Tuesday blog hop makes it easy!

Today I am reviewing Nature's Variety Instinct Grain Free Biscuit Treats with Duck Meal and Sweet Potato.

This is what the biscuits look like close up.  You know, typical biscuit shape, brown, dry.

Here is the ingredient list (from the Nature's Variety site):
Duck Meal, Tapioca, Garbanzo Bean Flour, Sweet Potatoes, Pork Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Pumpkinseeds, Natural Vegetable Flavor, Dried Egg Whites, Montmorillonite Clay, Cinnamon, Guar Gum, Inulin, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product 

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min): 25.0%
Crude Fat (min): 10.0%
Crude Fiber (max): 5.0%
Moisture (max): 10.0%
*Bacillus coagulans (min): 150,000 CFU/g

25 kCal per biscuit

Formulation: Pretty solid ingredients in my book!   +1
Dog Taste test: As far as biscuits go, the dogs do seem to really like them. +1
People Handling test: Easiest to feed them whole, but that's not quite my style.  And breaking them up was a pain in the ass.  We're talking about putting some muscle into a two-handed twist.  Sound extreme?  It is. -1 The plus side is that they definitely aren't going to crumble or make a mess! +1 My dogs crunched them down just fine, of course.... +0
Odor test: I think these have a nice balance--smell good to the dogs but only leave a faint residual odor on my hands.  (Confession: I don't always wash my hands after handling dry dog treats if the smell isn't strong.  I have a tendency to wash my hands too frequently already and thus already have dry, cracked hands; if I were to wash after every time I gave my dogs treats, my hands would be a bloody mess.) +1
Versatility: Random treating, food toys. +2 Not suitable for training. -1  so +1
Miscellaneous: +0

Total points: 4 pts
Summary: We like them!
Buy Again:  Probably!

What is this point system?  Well, other than clearly subjective, it is how I'm going to evaluate treats in our reviews. ;)   LOL, yes, that was circular.  It will make more sense (or less sense) as I do more reviews.

Thanks for stopping by on Tasty Tuesday!  Happy eating!
Champ's Mom

Monday, January 6, 2014

Positively Happy to Join the Positive Pet Training Blog Hop!


Today is the first ever blog hop for Positive Pet Training Blog Hop hosted by Dachshund Nola, Cascadian Nomads, and Tenacious Little Terrier!  I was so excited for this when I read about it on Thursday--so excited, in fact, that I decided to write my post that night because I knew I wouldn't have time for it afterwards.  On Friday, I had to pack up from my lovely-but-last-ever three week long winter break, and then early Saturday morning, I loaded up the crew and headed back to the Dog House with my parents!  We did a few projects around my place, since I seem to be incapable of getting anything done on my own....  They left yesterday after we enjoyed yet another fabulous brunch at our favorite spot.

Since I--(interrupting to quote my dad at the moment, to my mom, "[Morgan] wants some eggs cooked right now, honey."  Mom just grabbed the pan....)--am writing on short notice, there aren't any fun videos today.  Oh wait, there have never been fun videos here!  Boo.  But, BUT, there will be some soon!  I got a new cell and tablet for my birthday that are a step up from the cell camera I used to have.

For now, I just want to say again how excited I am for this new blog hop!  Positive reinforcement ("PR") focused training is fun, effective, and efficient!  I can't say that enough!  Anyone unfamiliar with my training path can check out the page called Training and Behavior, on which I shared my story, as well as some great links!

What I didn't write about on the training page, though, was the very first book I read about marker training:

If you haven't read it, go grab it, now!  Trust me, you want to.  It's an oldie but a goodie.  Fun & easy to read and applicable to more than "just dogs."  (I hate that phrase!  I swear, I am going to punch my older brother the next time he tells me that.)

The second book I read was pretty much the above book but summed down into an even more approachable how-to book!

I could go on and on, but I think you can see from my book list over to the right that one book just led to another.  Now, admittedly, I haven't finished them all (sad face), but I'm workin' on it!

So tip number one: Go grab a book!  Not sure whether it is PR focused?  All the ones on my list are, or if you want even more options, everything in Karen Pryor's (and probably most of Clean Run's) store is PR.  While there are some amazing trainers and behaviorists that hold doctorates and veterinary degrees (Patricia McConnell, Sophia Yin, Ian Dunbar to name a few!), a couple easy things to look for in your reading are the CPDT or KPA initials following an author's name.

No time to read?  Tip number two: jump onto Youtube!  I posted multiple comprehensive Youtube channels on my training page.  Trust me, you will find more than enough videos from those trainers to get you started!

Tip number three: Kikopup.  She has a Youtube how-to for pretty much everything from stopping jumping to teaching two dogs to hug each other.

I think that's it for today!

Here's Champ practicing impulse control with a "leave it" (taught by clicker training, of course) next to our newest book received in a Secret Santa gift exchange (more on that soon!):

(Yep, we are doing it!  Check back to see what we worked on this month!)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Crying for the silliest reasons....

Sometimes, I have to laugh at myself for crying at the silliest things....

Listening to the BatBoy news story on the car radio.  Tears?  Check.

Listening to the overseas-soldier messages integrated into "I'll be Home for Christmas" on the car radio.  Tears?  Check.

Singing along to to "I'll Stand by You" on the car radio.  Tears?  Check.  (I think I need to quit listening to the radio when I'm driving....)

Watching the Cheerios holiday commercials.  Tears?  Check.

Watching any commercial with babies in it.  Tears?  Check. Check. Check.  (Yes.  My hormones are outta control.)

Cheesy, happy, sweet endings on cheesy, happy, sweet holiday movies.  Tears.  Check.

Anyways, my point is: I cry.  A lot.  I also laugh until I cry.  (I rarely full out bawl, though, so at least I have that going for me.)  There are a lot of times when I just feel ridiculous for getting teared up.  I'm like, hey, pull yourself together, Woman!  We don't need to cry at every. single. little. thing.  (And yes, I do talk to myself in plural personal pronouns.  I live alone, OK?!  OK.)

Sometimes, sometimes, I have pretty good reasons for crying--like when I was watching the final handful of "Lost" epis.  No, seriously... when one of my favorite dogs at the shelter is euthanized (fortunately a rare occasion).  Or worse yet, we lose one our own animals--I'm a royal mess then.  Levi passed away in July 2011 and Jake in July 2012, and when I see their photos, think about them, or have dreams with them, you bet I still get teary eyed, if I don't have a mini-breakdown....

You might imagine, then, my reaction when I opened this gift, so thoughtfully given to me by my oldest cousin's wife:

It's a hand-stamped sterling silver necklace by Crow Steals Fire.  On the outer ring are all our current dogs, and on the inner ring are Levi and Jake.  Upon reading their names on it and realizing what this gift was, I was done for.  I mean, put "Levi" and "Jake" on anything to conjure up all the memories, good and bad, and you can pretty much guarantee I won't be able to just flat line on the emotional roller coaster I ride.  Plus, it reminded me of the gifter's result loss of her own dog, Bella.

There were tears.  Then I tried to laugh it out, which resulted in more tears.  As my cousin[in-law] hugged me, I apologizing for being "over-emotional," before ducking out of the room to wipe my tears before they destroyed my makeup.  I'm sure everyone thought I was escaping to go bawl in the kitchen!  (Okay, maybe I did let a sob/laugh out.  I mean, I can't keep it in all the time, clearly.)

Summary: sweetest gift ever.  I don't think I've ever cried about anything my parents have gotten me!  They get me amazing gifts, too, but this one went straight to the heart.

If you're reading this, thank you so much for the necklace!  I love it.

Lastly, I just had to share this photo of Champ hanging out last night with my dad on one of the "forbidden" leather sofas....

I hope you all had a great New Year's Eve & Day and will continue to have a happy and healthy 2014!