Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Back to Work I Go

Today I started a new job. It's a short-term, part-time job helping out at a small sporting goods store. I'm creating a customer database for them. The job should take just a few weeks to complete. This week I'm only working a couple of days, but next week I should be able to work close to full-time hours. Doesn't matter either way, I'm not paid by the hour, I'm paid based on how much work I accomplish.. and I can type pretty fast!

It's boring work, and not easy on the eyes staring at a computer screen all day.. but it's work and we could use the money for back to school!

They've mentioned once or twice that this could turn into a permanent thing.. probably extremely part-time though. Hey, I'll take it! I don't really want a whole ton of hours or a whole ton of pressure.. but something I can do here and there to bring in some cash.

We'll see how things go.

Friday, July 19, 2013

This is Amazing!

I wanted to share this video because I think it is absolutely amazing!

This guy is Kevin Olusola. He is a member of the acapella group Pentatonix.  They won season 3 of a show called The Sing Off on NBC. The group itself is amazing and you really should look them up on Youtube and see some of the stuff they've done, it's incredible! They do covers of mostly hip hop type stuff.. but it's all acapella.. you'll be blown away, I promise!

Well this guy, Kevin, he does the beats for the group. But he's more than that. He's also a cellist (plays the cello) and beatboxes while he plays. He calls it Celloboxing.
This particular song (Heart Attack by Demi Lovato) sounds so classy with the violins and cello and piano and all.. but then he adds the beats to it.. it still sounds classy, and it's incredible he can do both at the same time!! Crazy! Right?

See for yourself:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Free Happy Dog Box

Happy Dog Box is a monthly subscription to a box delivered to your home full of treats, toys, and goodies for your pet.

When you sign up, your first box is free.. you just pay the $4.99 shipping and handling. You will need a credit card to do this.

Once you enter your information, you're automatically subscribed for a monthly box.. but you can cancel at any time.

For more info, follow this link: https://www.happydogbox.com/welcome

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Free Dog Food Sample!

I wanted to share this link where you can sign up for a free sample of Purina Dog Food! http://www.startsampling.com/sm/dogchow102853/captureAddress.iphtml?item=102853&source=&p=

I just ordered mine! :)

Also.. if you're in need of flea medication, there's a coupon to receive 2 free tubes of Advantage II when you buy a 6 pack, or 1 free tube if you buy a 4 pack.. must be purchased through a participating veterinarian.
Here's the link:

Remus made a friend!

Over the weekend we brought Remus to the pet store. It was busy that day, which turned out to be a good thing. We know the importance of socializing a dog while they're young.. so we've been doing our best to get Remus out as much as possible. He does great with people, he LOVES meeting new people.. if someone walks by him and doesn't stop to say hi he'll try to follow them! When they do stop to say hi he gets so excited! He might jump a little, and nip a little.. and he also rolls over for belly rubs! Yeah.. we'll work on the jumping at some point.. but right now I think the socialization is the most important part. He knows sit, so we'll just work on getting him to sit when he meets new people.
Anyway.. we were having a problem introducing him to new dogs. We haven't come across many. He might have met a couple.. but wasn't able to get too close.
Finally on Saturday he met a dog just about the right size for him, who was also a little playful. The other owner came right up and let his dog play with Remus for a good 10 minutes or so, it was so nice to see! I'm so glad Remus finally got a chance to socialize with another dog!
My son took this video of the 2 dogs playing together. I don't remember what breed of dog the other one is.. it's a mix of a couple things I hadn't heard of before. The guy says it in the video towards the end. I do know she's about 2 years old.. so that's as big as she's going to get.. but of course Remus is still only about a quarter of the size he's going to get!!
Remus also got to meet a full size black lab at the pet store, named Murphy. When Remus stood on his hind legs he was just able to reach Murphy's face! It was so cute to see the 2 standing next to each other, I wish I'd gotten a picture!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Remus Update

Sorry for the poor quality picture.. my camera stinks! My digital cameras have died, all I'm left with is the cellphone and it's not that great..

Remus is about 10 weeks old now. Still a hyper, crazy puppy.. not too bad since he sleeps most of the time anyway. When he's awake he can be a bit of a pain.. he likes getting into stuff. But we just make sure to redirect his energy.. like taking him for a walk or something, and after a short while he's pooped and ready for another long nap! Makes life pretty simple.

I'm not really working on any sort of training with him. His attention span is too short, and he's more interested in playing than learning commands. I did teach him sit.. and that's about all he knows right now. So instead of working on actual training sessions, I'm just working on teaching proper behaviors like what is appropriate to chew on, and where the appropriate place to go potty is. We're also working on walking on a leash. For now, that's about all we can handle! But he's doing pretty well in these departments.. well, not the leash walking, but that will come in time.. as soon as he's big enough to fit into the Gentle Leader I have for him.

We may get him into an Obedience Training class.  This is definitely a priority on my list.. but affording it is the only set back.

We're putting a lot of focus right now on socializing him. The training classes would help in this department once I can afford them. In the meantime we're just trying to expose him to as much as we possibly can. Anytime we go anywhere, he comes with us if he's able. Of course we don't take him grocery shopping or anything.. but if we're going to the park, he comes. If we go to the pet store, he comes. He's already met a ton of new people, and he absolutely loves meeting people!

On Saturday we brought him to PetSmart to get some flea prevention meds for him, and we were approached by an employee asking if we had any questions. She introduced herself as one of the trainers there. After petting Remus for a few minutes she told us we were doing a great job socializing him! He shows nothing but excitement when he meets new people.. he'll even roll over for belly rubs! Who can resist?

The only trouble we're having is socializing him with other dogs! We brought him to the pet store hoping he'd have a chance to meet another dog.. but he did not. The only other dog in the store didn't seem too friendly.
So Sunday we went to the canal for a walk. Normally there are plenty of other dog walkers on the canal. Not Sunday though. The only other dog we saw the whole time was on the opposite side of the canal.
We'll keep trying of course.. and with any luck we'll get him into those training classes, that will help a lot!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Not much to say..

I've had absolutely nothing to talk about for at least a week. Life is kind of boring right now. That's not a bad thing! I'll taking boring over drama any day!

We've been getting a lot of rainy weather. Not always a lot of rain.. but the kind of weather where if you go out to do something you're guaranteed it's going to start raining right at that moment. So we've pretty much been stuck at home.
Which is okay, because we're down to 1 car now. My van started to die and we had to junk it.

I don't like feeling like this though.. I feel guilty, like we should be out doing things and enjoying summer break.. but I really can't come up with a single thing to do! I'm too broke to do much.. and anything I can afford requires being outdoors.

I don't want to complain.. I actually like rainy weather and grey skies! Sunshine gives me headaches! But I am starting to get a touch of cabin fever and just want to be able to go somewhere aside from the grocery store!

Oh well.. the rain can't last forever.. right?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What else is new?

I've been pretty focused on doggy stuff lately, as can be expected.

So how about a post that has nothing to do with dog stuff?

The kids are all finishing school this week. Javy's last exam was yesterday so he's done now. I imagine he failed a couple classes. He wasn't doing too well most of the year. He most definitely failed science, last I knew his grade in that class was in the 50's. Math was iffy.. and what's sad is he was repeating math anyway.. so he may be repeating it again unless he did well on the exam. English (they call it ELA these days) was up and down all year. He failed ELA in 9th grade, but was able to take both 9th and 10th grade ELA this year.. but a lot of it will depend on the final exams. Social Studies is the only one I know for certain he probably passed. He'd been doing so well all year, he really enjoyed the subject.

Today will be Mathieu's last day. My baby is going to be a Kindergartener now! (Wipes away a tear).

The other 3 have half days all this week, and their last day will be Thursday. I have no doubt they all passed with flying colors, of course. In the fall Aydan will be entering 2nd grade, and the twins will enter 6th. My how time flies!

Aydan's 7th birthday is this coming Saturday. We don't have any major plans.. we never do anymore. We'll just get him a cake and a couple presents. Aunt Doris got him a bike from a garage sale, so we'll see her this weekend.

My van is dying so we're trying to sell it to get a couple hundred bucks out of it so we can catch up on bills. We'll be down to just 1 car, the Jeep. It doesn't fit us all.. but it's rare we all go anywhere together anymore.. Javy tends to just stay home and walk or bike to places nearby that he wants to go. Tyler isn't overly interested in going places with us anymore either. They grow up too fast!

Hubby's been more stressed than usual because of the situation at work. He has yet another new manager and the guy is a jerk. Hubby's been at this job 9 years now, knows what he's doing, is one of the best in the company.. and he just hates getting new managers that step in and mess everything up on him. He's been trying really hard to find a new job, but it's just not working.

As for me.. I'm loving being a stay at home mom, and the lack of stress from having to work. Although the lack of money is really stressful and we're having trouble cutting back. I've mentioned a few times that perhaps I should find another job.. but I really don't want to, and hubby doesn't want me to either. I'm just doing what I can online to help out. Swagbucks has been a huge help! By meeting the daily Swagbucks goal I've been able to earn about $40 a month in Amazon gift cards, and I use that towards stuff we need and want for the dog. On Bubblews I've been making around $25 a week, and that's been going into our bank accounts to help with bills and such. As of yesterday I set a new goal, to save up enough to get the puppy into obedience training. Sure we're doing great on our own and probably don't really NEED the class, but obedience training classes are for more than just training. I primarily want to get into it for the socialization. I most definitely want Remus socialized with other dogs and people.. so that's my current goal!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Keep your dog entertained..

One of the primary causes of bad dog behavior is boredom! If your dog is bored, he's going to find his own way to entertain himself. This may mean getting into things you don't want him to, like the garbage can. Or chewing things you don't want him to, like your shoes. Or digging holes in the yard if he's left outside a lot.

You might think your dog has enough toys to keep him entertained for hours, but in a lot of ways dogs are similar to children. They get tired of playing with the same toys over and over again, and need something new to break up the monotony of their day.

This does not necessarily mean you need to constantly buy new toys for your pup.
One of the first things you can do is limit the dog's access to his toys. You want to make sure he does always have a few toys to chew on and play with.. but he doesn't need to have ALL of his toys all the time. Keep most of them picked up, only leaving a few out. Then, rotate which toys he gets. That way he is less likely to get bored of his toys.

Also, you want to make sure he's got the right kind of toys.

Interactive toys are a great way to keep your dog busy and entertained for long periods of time. These types of toys may dispense food or treats, which get your dog's attention, and he has to work hard at trying to figure out how to get the treats out. After working on it for awhile, he'll probably be pretty tired as this is mentally stimulating and challenging for the dog which uses up a good amount of his energy.

Some great interactive toys that are sure to keep your dog busy for awhile are:

A Kong. These are a favorite among dogs. You can fill them with all sorts of great stuff, and the dog works on emptying it. Here's a great site with some information on how to use a Kong toy as well as some recipes: http://canineconcepts.co.uk/en/blog/30-how-to-use-a-kong-toy Of course you don't have to do anything so fancy. I tend to stuff ours with canned dog food and that's good enough for my pup. You can also fill it with kibble and chicken broth then freeze it overnight.

Treat Dispensing Balls are also wonderful interactive toys. These really challenge your dog mentally has he tries to figure out how to get the treats out.

Tug-A-Jug is another type of treat dispensing toy that makes your dog try to figure out how to get the treats or food out of it. Not only is it fun to play with, it is stimulating and should help keep your pooch out of trouble!

Here is a Treat Dispensing Toy that actually has multiple uses. It's a chew toy, a treat dispenser, and you can also smear food on the outside of the toy as well to keep your dog interested. The grooves on the outside of the toy allow you to smear canned food, peanut butter, or Kong spray into the grooves to make it more appealing for your dog. He'll stay busy cleaning out the grooves as well as finding the treats inside the toy.

If your dog is super smart, there are also Puzzle Toys that will mentally challenge him. These toys make a dog figure out a puzzle or move a sliding piece in order to find the treat.

There are literally hundreds of different toys on the market meant to stimulate your dog mentally. To avoid boredom you should keep a few different kinds on hand for your pup. Just remember that these are added calories, so you may want to use these toys to replace regular feedings, or at least cut down on regular feedings.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dog Training Tips

I'm creating some posts on Bubblews with tips for training your dog or puppy.

Let me start out by saying, nothing replaces an actual obedience training class! These are so helpful to attend, not only to get professional help and advice, but also to help socialize your dog which I can tell you from experience is of the utmost importance! If your dog is not socialized with other people and animals from the start, you could end up with problems on your hands later down the road!

That being said, here are the links to the posts I've thus far created with tips for training your dog  yourself:

Using a Clicker

Training Session Tips

The First Command You Should Teach Your Dog

Train your dog to "stay"

Stop Biting, Mouthing, Nipping

Solving Dog Behavior Problems

More to come soon :)

Sites (that are not my own) that I get a lot of my tips from:

The Dog Trainer

tab289 on Youtube

Saturday, June 15, 2013


This is Remus. An 8 week old black lab. We got him last night. I named him. He's named after a character in the Harry Potter series, Remus Lupin, a one time professor at Hogwarts who is also a werewolf. Sure there were other names that were somewhat fitting, such as Sirius.. as in Sirius Black, Harry Potter's Godfather who also happens to turn into a black dog.. but I like the name Remus.

Remus is a little ball of energy.. and because he's so small, it's adorable to watch! He mouths, but it doesn't hurt. Thanks to my experience with Turbo, I know enough to try to nip the mouthing in the bud before he gets bigger and it gets out of control!

I've also already begun working on training him. It's not going to be easy. I've never had a puppy before. The most experience I've ever had was with Turbo and he'd already learned a bit.. not much, but at least he was pretty easy to begin training, and he already knew how to walk on a leash. Remus has never been introduced to a leash yet.. he just doesn't know what to do with it.

Thankfully hubby has had a few puppies in his life, so he knows how to at least get them walking on a leash and such. The training will be up to me.

I began today. Remus didn't seem interested in the training treats I have, so I tried some cheese, and that worked a lot better. I began teaching him how to sit using the clicker. He sat a couple times.. so we're off on the right foot.
It's just so different because he's so energetic and is only calm when he's sleeping, and he has such a short attention span I can't really get him to focus on training. I didn't have that problem with Turbo.. he loved training as long as he was able to learn the new trick quickly. If he didn't pick it up quickly he'd get frustrated and I'd have to revert to tricks he knew well or else he'd get out of hand.

So, Remus is going to be a whole new adventure for me.. but an adventure that I think will be successful, fun, and rewarding since I've got a brand new baby puppy to mold into the perfect family dog!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Giving up Turbo

It was a very difficult decision to make, but we have decided keeping Turbo in our house is not the best option for everyone involved. The kids can't interact with the dog without being used as chew toys.. and some of my kids are still very small and would be hurt easily. Since we brought Turbo home and noticed these problems, I've had to be very diligent about keeping the kids and dog separated which really isn't fair to any of them. The kids wanted a dog to play with.. and the dog just wanted to play with a person.
We also noticed the dog had some aggression issues. He went after hubby a number of times. We just couldn't chance him going after one of the kids.

I tried everything I could to keep Turbo.. but at the end of the day I have to think about what's best for my family.. and Turbo just isn't the right dog for us.

With any luck we'll find a dog that fits better with our family.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Update on Turbo..

We've had Turbo about a month and a half now. The dog sure seems to have a lot of problems which I am guessing came from a severe lack of socialization as a puppy. It's really unfortunate that we don't know his history at all. The shelter told us they found him as a stray. We think it's possible his previous owners had abused him slightly. Over all he's a friendly dog.. but he's got his problems.

We haven't made a whole lot of headway in solving any of his problems. I've been working on training him basic commands, and he picks them up really quickly.. but the training sessions have not changed his over all behavior. Basically he'll only do what he's told when he's in an active training session. I can get him to sit, stay, lie down, leave it, shake, and come on command.. if he wants to. We've also taught him to take treats nicely instead of biting our hands when he goes for the treat.. this works maybe half the time. Sometimes he gets really excited. We've recently started teaching him to take toys nicely.. this is a work in progress.

If we'd gotten any other dog who learns as quickly as Turbo, we'd probably have a perfect dog by now..
Turbo still has a major biting problem! Once he gets excited, you can't even walk through the room with him around. He'll go for your feet and bite and shake! This has been our biggest problem with him since the start. We know he's playing, he doesn't do it to be mean.. but it still hurts like heck and scares the kids!
All the research I've done says to turn around and ignore him when he does this and he'll get the hint that in order to get your attention he can't bite.

Well that's not working! I think it actually makes things worse.

I've noticed he mostly does this to the people in the house he doesn't get attention from.. mainly my oldest son who is rarely ever home.. and when he is home he locks himself in his room. The dog only sees him passing through from time to time.. and the dog gets really excited when he sees him.

Outside is another problem. He does great on walks, but if we put him on his tie out, we can't go within his reach or he'll try to play rough with us. This actually drives him crazy. He starts getting really worked up. We'll stand nearby and toss toys for him to fetch, or we'll play tug.. but after a few minutes he just wants a person to play with. He'll stand there and bark, whine, jump, and try to reach us... but we can't go near him or we'll get hurt.

We are racking our brains trying to come up with ways to teach him to play nice..

We've gotten to a point where we are seriously debating getting a 2nd dog just to give Turbo someone he can play with the way he wants..

We don't have dog parks nearby.. the only one there is has a lot of aggressive dogs that visit there regularly so that's out of the question.We tried a playdate and that didn't work out so well.. but Turbo doesn't have any actual dog aggression.. he's okay with dogs walking past him while out on a walk and such.. he just doesn't know what to do when another dog is face to face with him.. again, lack of socialization as a puppy!

Turbo did get fixed about a week ago.. we are hoping this helps his activity level.. it should take about a month for him to work all the testosterone out of his system and really see a difference.. if there will be a difference. So we're hoping and praying he calms down a little and becomes easier to handle.

For now I'm just doing everything I can to train him, wear out his energy levels, and keep the kids safe from his over-excited play!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New York City

On May 30th the twins went on a school field trip to New York City. They left at 5am. They were supposed to return home around 10pm.. but they didn't actually get home until 1am! It was a Thursday night, so needless to say they did not go to school the next day.

I bought them each a disposable camera to take with them. I did not go, although it would have been nice to.. though I think the 100 or so kids would end up driving me crazy! LOL

Tyler took some pics of the dog that morning.. then a bunch of pics of the bus, the traffic along the way, and I think he got 1 pic of the NY skyline. I won't be sharing his pics :)

Tristan got a bunch of nice shots!!

Here's a few she got of Time Square.. they were on their way to a museum called Moma.

 Central Park, where they had lunch!

 On a ferry ride..
 That miserable kid at the bottom of this pic is Tyler..

 The skyline from the bus.
 Yankee Stadium!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The threat of stillness..

The other day I mentioned a situation where Turbo had met another dog, and his body was very stiff. I knew this was a sign that he was uncomfortable and it could lead to danger.

Today I wanted to share an article I came across that explains why a stiff dog is dangerous: https://wildewmn.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/the-threat-of-stillness/

This is important information and I encourage everyone to read it. As a dog owner, it's my responsibility to keep everyone safe. So it's important that I know how my dog may react to a situation. By knowing that stiffness is not a good sign, I can get my dog away from situations when he becomes stiff so that he doesn't hurt anyone else. Also, if he comes in contact with another dog who is stiff, I can get him away from that dog before he gets hurt. It's also good to know even if you don't own dogs so that you can keep yourself and your children safe from a dangerous situation.

Turbo Unleashed

Yesterday morning I let Turbo off-leash for awhile..

I drove to a section of the Erie Canal nearby.. this part of the canal doesn't get much foot traffic at all. If you're lucky you'll see 1 person jogging along or something. In fact, we were lucky enough not to see anyone during our walk, which is exactly what I was hoping for this time!

Once we got on the trail, I just let go of Turbo's leash and let him drag it along.

I brought some cheese.. a special treat for Turbo as mostly he just gets typical doggy treats..
At first, whenever he'd get a few feet away from me I'd recall him and give him the cheese.. just to let him know that he'd get cheese whenever he came back to me. Then I used it less and less, and only when he got more than a few yards away.

Mostly he was great. We walked a mile down the trail. On the way down the only time I had to recall him was when he'd stop to sniff something and I got too far ahead of him.

At one point I saw 3 bunnies along the side of the trail. Turbo didn't see them right away because he was busy sniffing. I made a few loud noises to try to scare them off before Turbo saw them, but they didn't budge. As we got closer they did start finally hopping away, and Turbo saw one. He didn't immediately chase after it.. he just paused and stood still for a minute. As soon as I saw that he saw the bunny, I recalled him and he immediately came back to me. That was my proudest moment of the day!

The way back was trickier. He didn't stop to sniff much.. he'd already sniffed it all.. so he did a lot of running and would get ahead of me pretty quickly. It also got a little tougher to recall him. He'd stop and look at me, but he'd hesitate, and once or twice he'd choose not to come back and would keep on going instead. We were walking for almost a full hour.. so he was probably just getting bored of the recall game and the cheese and was more interested in running and playing. Maybe next time I'll bring 2 kind of treats.. like cheese and ham and switch it up so he knows he's getting something good but doesn't know which it will be.. that might keep him more interested.

Also on the way back he explored a lot more. He'd go into the woods a little bit.. just a couple of feet and sniff around. I'd recall him so he didn't go further.

I think he really loved it!

(also posted on Bubblews:  http://www.bubblews.com/news/614782-turbo-unleashed)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A wagging tail does not equal a happy dog!

We brought Turbo for a walk on the canal today. We've been trying to do this weekly as it is a popular place for walkers, bike riders, and runners.. and people often bring their dogs. I think this is a great first step towards socialization for Turbo, just getting used to being in proximity to strangers and dogs without the threat of them coming at him or giving him reason to feel uneasy. So far it's been going very well.

Today while we were there we met a very friendly small dog who wanted to come sniff Turbo. Turbo was definitely interested, but once the 2 dogs got nose to nose, Turbo didn't seem so sure anymore. His tail was wagging as if he were happy, but the rest of his body was very stiff as if he were stressed or uneasy.

My husband was holding the leash, so I told him to start walking again.

The owner of the little dog said "It's okay, tails are wagging, everything is fine!"

That is very untrue! You cannot always tell a dog's mood by it's tail.. especially since different dogs have different types of tails, some have no tails at all.. so you can't tell if it's a good wag or a bad wag.
Here is a website with some information about how to differentiate between tail wags: http://www.clickertraining.com/node/3542

The fact is, Turbo's body was stiff, and this was a better indicator of his mood than his wagging tail. Chances are, if we didn't start walking again, Turbo may have gotten so uncomfortable about the little dog being that close to him, that he might have snapped at the little dog.

Mr. Little Dog Owner is lucky that I know a bit more about doggy body language than him.. but he may not be so lucky the next time his tiny pooch meets an unsocialized dog!

Turbo has anxiety problems..

As I watch Turbo's behavior and do research on dog behaviors, I'm leaning more and more towards the idea that Turbo has anxiety.

I just read a little snippet on my favorite dog training website: dogtrainer.quickanddirtytips.com/overexcited-friendly-around-dogs.aspx

Towards the bottom of this article the author discusses how an excited meet and greet with another dog may turn into growling and snapping.. which is exactly what happened to Turbo on his last meet and greet with another dog.

But I had been thinking, even before reading this article, that Turbo had anxiety.

He gets worked up so easily. Especially outside. When we notice him getting bored or hyper we take him out into the yard on a tie out and play with him.. but we began to see that the more we played with him, the worse he seemed to get. He got to a point one day while I was playing fetch with him that he no longer chased the ball but lunged after me.

Another problem we noticed.. if we're all sitting out there and someone goes inside, the dog gets anxious. He'll run over towards the house and bark at it and start pacing. He doesn't stop until the person comes back out.

Now that I've realized it could be caused from anxiety, we're looking for the situations that trigger the anxiety and find ways to lessen it. When the dog is outside, the kids are either inside, or sitting with the dog. He gets anxious if he can't reach them or if they're off playing somewhere. If they come out to sit with him, they just sit there and don't go back inside unless it looks like it won't bother him.

We don't play with him quite so much anymore.. mostly we just let him explore the yard on his own. We'll throw a ball now and then.. but he seems perfectly happy to just wander around the yard smelling stuff, rolling in the grass, and sometimes just lying down and relaxing.

He doesn't get quite so anxious inside the house.. but he has his moments. When the kids are outside playing and running around back and forth.. the dog gets worked up and throws himself into walls or windows to try to get to them.

Also there are times when he will go after someone who is walking around the house.. he'll grab their shoes or pant legs and starts shaking and won't let go. I really think this is caused by anxiety too.
When the house is calm and quiet.. the dog pretty much sleeps all the time. When it's not so quiet the dog is basically jumping out of his skin.. he's either finding things to destroy, or attacking our shoes and pant legs.

I called the vets.. actually both of the vets.. the one at the shelter who did his exam last week, and the vet I take my cats to who couldn't complete his exam..
The one at the shelter was no help at all. They just said they do not prescribe anti-anxiety meds. The other vet might prescribe meds if they were able to examine him.. but she gave me other ideas as well.. such as calming collars and such.
I did try a calming collar already but it didn't seem to make any sort of difference.. and the dog grew so quickly (he's gained 10 pounds in a month!) that it had gotten too tight and I had to take it off.
I am going to try another one though.. she recommended a specific brand so I will try it. I also went out and got some aromatherapy stuff yesterday.. lavender scented which is supposed to be calming.

He seems a tiny bit better. Nothing major of course.. but we're learning how to avoid overly stressful situations.. especially when he's outside.

I'm also working on teaching him a new command to settle him down. He knows lie down, but now I'm rolling him onto his side and teaching him "settle". As he masters this I want to be able to use it to keep him calm or settle him down when he starts to get worked up.

Also posted on Bubblews: http://www.bubblews.com/news/599819-i-think-turbo-has-anxiety-problems

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Play date didn't work out..

I was really hopeful about the play date I set up for Turbo on Saturday. I'd previously seen Turbo act interested in meeting other dogs.. and he just seemed playful. I thought he'd do fine.

But I guess he was a little intimidated by the other dog. She was a 1 year old German Shepard, and easily twice the size of Turbo. She was very energetic and playful too. Maybe it was her size that intimidated Turbo, or maybe it was her energy. I hoped the two would get along and play.. but that did not happen.

They first met through the fence, and at first it seemed like friendly barking.. but this soon turned into angry barking.

Both dogs were kept on leash, and the German Shepard came inside the fence, hoping they'd warm up to each other, but they didn't. When close, they would bark angrily and snap at each other. They'd calm down after a few minutes, so we tried again, but it was the same thing.. angry barking.

So, it didn't work out.

I do believe it is mostly due to Turbo's lack of socialization. The good news is he did calm down after a few minutes and he just sat down panting. He didn't continue to bark at the other dog even though the other dog wasn't backing off. The dogs were just a few feet away, but not being pressured to get close. He was fine with it all, until we tried to bring him close again. So I really don't think it's an aggressive problem.. I think he was simply overwhelmed or intimidated by her.

I'm going to keep trying. Perhaps not in that same way though.

Today I took him back to the canal for a walk where I knew there would be other dogs walking. He did great. When another dog passed by he seemed interested and would look at them and pause or try to go towards them to sniff. I kept him at my side.. the owners of the other dogs were not interested in stopping to meet us.. and that was fine. It's enough for now that they just walk past. I think we'll keep this up regularly.. and maybe down the road try another play date with a dog more Turbo's size.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Rawhide is not very safe for dogs..

I did know that giving your dog rawhide bones can present a choking hazard. If they bite off a large chunk they could choke on it. So you have to be very careful of what type of rawhide to give your dog.

However, I've just learned the rawhide presents more issues to dogs than just choking hazards. Pieces of rawhide that are not swallowed often cannot break down in the dog's digestive system. This is not necessarily fatal to the dog, and most dogs do not consume enough rawhide to make it fatal.. but it can still be problematic.

Here is a link with more information about rawhide and choosing the best kind for your dog: http://www.the-puppy-dog-place.com/rawhide-dog-chews.html

Unfortunately I am learning there aren't a whole lot of alternative options to rawhide, at least not without spending a fortune! Turbo isn't crazy about chewing on his toys most of the time. He does like rawhide treats, but if he doesn't have something new and interesting to chew, he'll find something.. and usually it's something I'd rather he not chew on!

So I've been buying him beef bone marrow every week. They look something like this..

I find these at my local grocery store, but you have to go to a store that has a butcher on site. Places like Walmart that have all their meat shipped to them won't carry this type of product. You can also try a regular butcher shop.. sometimes you'll find one that gives these away for free. At my store, I pay $2-$3 per package, and they'll come 2-3 to a package depending on the size.

When you buy them, the inside of the bone is filled with marrow, and the outside usually has some meat left on it.

Turbo loves these. He'll spend hours working on them. He starts by ripping the meat off the outside, then he works on trying to get the marrow out of the inside of it. This can take forever, because it's not really easy to get all that marrow out. After awhile he'll actually give up on it, then go back later to try to finish it. Sometimes he can't finish it and days later I'll find one that still has marrow in it. At that point I chuck it outside for local wildlife.

The best part is, the bones are really tough. Turbo has been deemed an aggressive chewer.. but even he can't break or splinter these bones.
So once all the meat and marrow is gone, Turbo is left with a pretty cool chew toy.

(read the post on Bubblews: http://www.bubblews.com/news/558345-turbo039s-favorite-treat)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Vet and Playdate!

Turbo went to the vet yesterday for a distemper shot. Hubby brought him, I was too scared. The last time I tried to bring Turbo to the vet, it didn't turn out so well. Turbo got too excited and was certainly scared, stressed, and nervous.. so he nipped a lot at the vet when they tried to examine him.. and even started growling. In the end they said they could not examine him as he was too worked up. This time we brought him to a different vet, the one at the shelter where he was adopted. We figured they would do a better job since they examined him before and gave him his first shots there. Well it did work out a lot better. Turbo was still stressed and scared, and he did start growling, but they muzzled him for safety, so everything was just fine! He got his shot, and now he scheduled to be neutered on June 7. Here is a video of Turbo on the way home from the vet. It was pouring down rain, and he had his head out the window trying to catch rain drops! He's so funny! Well, I managed to schedule a play date for him! Tomorrow afternoon we're meeting a 1 year old, female, spayed German Shepard. Turbo is such a hyper, energetic dog, and he hasn't yet learned the proper way to play with humans. I really don't know how well he was socialized as a baby.. all I know about him was he was found as a stray and was in a shelter for about a week until we brought him home. When he sees another dog he seems happy and friendly. His tail wags and he seems loose and wiggly, which is a good sign. If he were tense I'd be afraid of dog aggression. But I thought it would be good for him to have another dog to play with. Being that he's still a puppy, he desperately wants to play.. and he gets a little frustrated that we won't play with him the way he wants, poor guy. I feel bad for him. So I posted an ad looking for a playmate or play group.. and the owner of the German Shepard responded. She has a similar problem.. her dog is still energetic but doesn't have a playmate. We're meeting tomorrow afternoon and I can't wait! I'm so excited for Turbo!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

We went for a nature walk today..

I have been wanting to get Turbo out to socialize with other people and dogs.. since I don't really know his history or how he is with other people or animals, I've been somewhat apprehensive. Plus, there aren't a lot of opportunities for that in my town. The closest dog park is 30 minutes away, and I've previously had a bad experience at that park so I won't go back (it's in a bad area anyway).

But today I had an idea. I live in a town where the Erie Canal used to pass through, and around here parts of the Erie Canal still exist, though it's not in use anymore. (If you're not familiar with the Erie Canal, read my post on Bubblews explaining it: http://www.bubblews.com/news/535068-the-erie-canal). These days most parts of the Erie Canal are used as walking trails, and there are actually a few Erie Canal parks. One particular one has a museum with some information on the history of the canal. They also have different trails to walk. There are the tow path trails along side the canal that the mules used to travel.. or this particular park also has some wooded trails that start and stop along the canal trail.

Dogs are still allowed at this park, as long as they're leashed, so we brought Turbo and went for a walk.
We walked the wooded trail for awhile, as it's less crowded, and gives Turbo more opportunities to sniff. We enjoyed this part of the walk as well. Three of the kids came along with us, and they enjoyed looking for wildlife, I told them they might spot a frog, turtle, or snake along the canal. Of course we also saw squirrels and chipmunks. They also enjoyed looking at these signs that told us what some of the plants were.

The wooded trail ended on the canal trail.. and we chose to continue along the canal trail for awhile longer. Here there were lots of other people walking, running, and bike riding, and some people were also walking their dogs.. this is what I was hoping for. I wanted to see how Turbo would react to the other people and the other dogs.
Most people just walked on past without so much as notice of us. Turbo seemed interested in most people, he wanted to go give them a sniff.. but we just kept walking and he did well with not being able to say hi to everyone he saw.

One particular lady was walking a small breed dog, and she'd let the dog off leash while walking, so he came over to give Turbo a sniff. Turbo was very excited and wanted to play with the small dog, but the small dog was older (8 years old) and only wanted to sniff.. so he decided to keep his distance from Turbo. Turbo got a little jumpy and barked at the little dog.. but his tail was wagging the whole time, so obviously he really just wanted to play.
We chatted with the owner of the small dog for a few minutes. This is how we learned the small dog was 8 years old. We also learned her dog had also been adopted from the same shelter as Turbo, though of course he'd been adopted years ago.

All in all, we were quite proud of Turbo's behavior. We've learned he is definitely a very friendly dog towards other people and dogs.. he is just hyper and wants to play with everyone.. as expected since he's still just a puppy! So we are happy with the results.
We think we'll probably visit this park regularly, hopefully on a weekly basis, to continue to socialize the dog.. not to mention it's great mental stimulation for him and great exercise for all of us!

Read my posts on Bubblews about today's walk:
We Went For A Nature Hike
Turbo's Walk


 Saturday was a rather busy day for us.
Hubby had the day off, so we started the day with some running around. We had a couple stops we wanted to make.. as we were leaving, we went past a little curio shop in our town and they had some of their items sitting out front. My eye caught a couple of bikes they had sitting there. I got out to see how much they wanted for the bikes. Aydan, my 6 year old who will be 7 next month, has been begging for a new bike. The only bike he's had to use was the one he got for his 3rd birthday, which is a 12". The training wheels have broken off, but he still used it to ride down the small hill in our yard, and ended up teaching himself how to ride it without the training wheels. So since the weather got nice out, he's been asking for a new bike. Well one of the bikes at the curio shop was the perfect size, and to my surprise they only wanted $5 for it! It's just a tiny bit beat up. It's got some rust on the wheels and chain, a couple of holes on the seat, and the plastic part of the handle bars is torn a bit. However, it works, and it was $5, so we bought it, and my son is so happy!
 So we finished our running around and did some yard work and played with the dog.. here's Turbo getting some belly rubs from hubby..

We had steak for dinner, which we bought at a butcher shop we'd gone to visit. After dinner we brought Turbo on a long walk up the road to the dead end. After the dead end is about a half mile of road that is closed off to vehicle traffic because of rock slides.. but people can still walk it. After the half mile it connects with the next town up. But when we got to this part we let Turbo off leash for a few minutes to sniff around. Then we walked back home.

We had a nice fire last night on our fire pit to burn off the yard waste from the trees and shrubs we're trimming or cutting down.

All in all it was a pretty good day.

Today doesn't look as nice. It's overcast and cloudy.. good chance of some rain showers at some point. I'm pretty exhausted from yesterday so I don't feel like doing a whole lot.. and of course we're broke so we can't think of a single thing to do. We'll probably end up having a lazy day..

Friday, May 17, 2013

Turbo Update..

Haven't given a Turbo update in a few days, so..

I think things have been going good.

He is one hyper, playful puppy.. and as such he can get himself into lots of mischief! He raids the trash cans about 100 times a day! I'm learning how to pick my battles.. some things just aren't important enough to worry about getting back from him. As long as it's not dangerous for him, or important to us.. I let it be! Otherwise, we work on "give".. I keep in mind not to try to tug on whatever he has, thus turning it into a game for him.
See.. I'm learning :)

I haven't been doing too much with the training lately, I'm not trying to teach him any new tricks. Mostly I just keep working on the ones he knows. He does them consistently in training without a problem, but when there are distractions, forget about it! So I figure instead of overwhelming him with new tricks, I'll just continue to work on the ones he knows so that even when there are distractions he'll know what I'm asking. It's not always easy because he gets a little hyper during training sessions, even though I start them when he's relaxed!

The jumping/biting thing has even gotten a little better. I'm noticing now he doesn't really go to bite us so much as our clothes. First few days it was whatever he could get his mouth on, but now he specifically goes for pant legs and shoes.. and will only go for hands if you're sitting there playing with him at his level, like if you sit on the floor or if he's on the sofa and starts getting playful.

Unfortunately this is going to be a hard habit to break because my children keep reinforcing this type of play, unknowingly of course, and I am talking to them about it!

I notice Turbo tends to "go after" my oldest son and my daughter the most. He'll sometimes go for the rest of us 2, but those are his primary targets.. because they're the most fun for him.. plus the rest of us pay him attention when he's being calm and good.. which I've told all the kids, the best way to stop behavior we don't like is to give him tons of attention for behaviors we do like, and less attention for those we don't!
These 2 kids aren't listening!
When the dog starts playing with one of them, they start squealing "MOM, he's got me! Ahh, Turbo no! Turbo down! Turbo let go! MOM!!!". Then they start jumping around. If he's got their shoe or pant leg they try lifting their foot as high in the air as they can get it..
So I come in and start trying to tell the child "Stand still, stay quiet, you're making it even more fun for him" but they're still screaming so I try yelling over them meanwhile telling another child to go get one of Turbo's toys to try to get his attention.. and the whole thing becomes chaotic...

Can you see why this would be fun for Turbo? His toy is now moving and making lots of noise and saying his name over and over.. although he doesn't understand the rest of it, and I come in and start talking excitedly..

Just so you know, Turbo is not hurting them! I'm watching closely.. usually he just has a mouthful of pants, or shoelaces. Sometimes he tries to regrip (the more they move the more he does this) and he might get leg.. but he doesn't bite down hard when he gets leg or foot. It still hurts a little.. I know from experience.. but it doesn't tear the skin.. so the kids are never in danger.. I just have to point that out before anybody tries saying nasty things about me letting my dog gnaw on my kids! I don't allow this with the younger 2 at all.. but he doesn't go for them much anymore.. as I said, he goes for the oldest and my daughter because they're the most fun.. and I'm trying to train them how to properly handle it!

All in all I think things have definitely gotten better since the day we brought Turbo home. For awhile everyone was afraid to touch him because as soon as you made a move to pet him, he'd start snapping at your hands. I just mentioned to hubby this morning, I actually haven't seen him do that in awhile. I think he's learning that when we go at him with our hands, we're going to pet him and be nice.
Plus we're learning to understand his moods and when he'd be more open to just petting, and when he wants to play.
When he just wants to play, he will bite.. it's not hard though unless he gets too worked up and then sometimes he doesn't control his bite inhibition..

But we're all learning. A lot of it is us..
I'm having daily talks with the kids.. reminding them to give him attention when he's good, and stand still when he tries to play with them. We do play with him in a safe way, outside while he's on a 40 foot lead we'll play fetch or tug. The kids love to play with him this way. The twins love to take him for walks and have been taking him a daily long walk all the way down our road which is a mile long..

So, we're all adjusting, and Turbo is becoming a great addition to the family..

Now if only I could convince the cats not to try to kill him when they come around him.. that's another story :)

(also posted on Bubblews @ http://www.bubblews.com/news/524530-how-turbo-is-doing)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mission Success!

The other day I posted that I was on a mission to get a refund from Nasty Trainer Lady from our terrible training experience. (Read about that here: http://apiper0512.blogspot.com/2013/05/turbos-training-session.html

It has taken a lot of work, and I'm not exactly happy to say, I turned into a pest. Honestly though, the whole situation was aggravating. I guess her true skill in life is to aggravate!
She ignored most of my e-mails, and the few she responded to were always the same thing. She felt I got what I'd paid for because she gave me over an hour of "useful" information, and that is was my choice to end the session and not return for further training.
When I would respond and remind her that she basically abused my dog, I wouldn't hear back from her again.

Oh but I was very polite in these e-mails, as much as I didn't want to be! I was very careful not to threaten or become angry. I simply stated facts, and linked articles about how a true dog trainer should act (such as not putting their hands on your dog!).

Since Monday of this week I've sent her at least 1 e-mail a day, and sent off 1 complaint per day to some organization. I've sent complaints to the Better Business Bureau, a few local animal organizations and vets, and yesterday I sent a complaint to our local SPCA where I know she volunteers, as she mentioned this to me.

I believe it may have been the e-mail to the SPCA that changed things...

She called me yesterday, but as I have an aversion to phones, I could not answer it (I have severe anxiety problems).
So I e-mailed her after the phone call to explain that I cannot speak on the phone, but said that I really had nothing to talk about, I just wanted her to send my money back.

I got no response.

This morning I began my usual daily ritual. I e-mailed her asking if she'd sent my refund yet so that we could put this behind us. I shot off an e-mail to another animal organization with a complaint about my training session, and I began brainstorming tomorrow's plan.

Then I got her response: "It's in the mail"

I won.. the end!

Just hope I don't have trouble cashing the check!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Yucky Rainy Day..

I'm not looking forward to what the rest of today is going to bring!

A yucky rainy day means everyone is stuck in the house. The kids cannot go outside to run around. They'll be inside, bouncing off the walls, and being as loud as they can be!

The dog can also not go out for his daily walks or playing in the yard. He will also have a lot of pent up energy, and will be feeding off the kids all night.. so he too will be bouncing off the walls.

I'm enjoying the peace and quiet while it lasts right now. The kids are in school and the dog is asleep on the sofa..

But in a few hours all heck is going to break loose!

Maybe I'll get lucky and the rain will stop so the dog and kids can get outside after all!

Boy I hope so!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I'm on a mission!!

Money is tight.. a lot of people are in the same boat. Even a little bit can be hard to part with, especially when you don't like the outcome of what you've spent your money on!

If you go to a restaurant and get terrible food and service, you're probably going to complain and ask for a discount or to have the entire meal free. If you go to the car shop for an oil change and they've put the wrong kind of oil in, you'll probably complain and not pay for the service.

Well, I had a bad experience with a dog trainer. It was a single session that ended in shock after she tried to forcefully put a gentle leader on my dog. I'd warned her he'd had no training or handling because he'd just been rescued from a shelter. Not to mention, if you look it up, you're supposed to coax a dog into the gentle leader using treats! Not force it on them!

The only reason I wrote the check was because I was in shock. Afterwards I realized she didn't deserve to be paid for that session!
I e-mailed her the following Monday, 2 days after the training session, and asked for my money back.

She did not respond.

Thursday I posted on her Facebook page that was created for her business. Still no response.

Yesterday I used a different e-mail account to contact her, and this time she actually responded. Then I again requested the refund, and she refused. I replied with an explanation of why I felt I deserved a refund.

She's ignoring me again!

Well, I need to get my dog fixed. I have bills to pay. I have mouths to feed.

If the training session had gone fine, I'd still be using her because getting Turbo trained is very important to me.

But I did not get what I paid for, and I have more important things to spend my money on.

I am on a mission to get that money back!

I've written multiple reviews of her business on many different websites. Today I wrote into the Better Business Bureau.

When I'm not training Turbo, taking care of the kids, or earning some money on Bubblews, I'm thinking about where else I can write bad reviews of her business and how else to get my money back.

One thing people should know about me.. when I set my mind to something, I become extremely persistent!

I won't quit until I have my money!

Cesar Millan and Turbo Training..

I've been borrowing a lot of materials from the library to research different dog training techniques.
One of the books I borrowed and really like, and do recommend to others is The Dog Trainer's Complete Guide to a Happy, Well-Behaved Pet.

I also picked up Cesar Millan's  Be the Pack Leader: Use Cesar's Way to Transform Your Dog . . . and Your Life. I do not recommend this one!!

Although I did not agree with Cesar Millan's ideas, a few of them were helpful. I do agree with his idea of energy. Not necessarily the "I'm the boss" type of energy, but a calm energy when around your dogs. I've always heard it said that dogs can sense fear. I'm sure they can sense stress, anger, and chaotic energy also.. at least Turbo seems to. During the day when the kids are at school, Turbo is the calmest dog on the planet. He'll sleep all day on the sofa and literally needs to be dragged outside for potty breaks!
As soon as the kids are home he's a completely different dog! Bouncing off the walls and rather unstable at times. Even if he looks calm you can't go near him because he might bite, nip, jump on you..
He's feeding off everyone else's energy.

I also liked Cesar's idea about a pack walk. Not because it teaches the dog who is in charge.. but it does get the dog good exercise! I decided to try it over the weekend.

Turbo can sometimes be hard to handle on his leash, even with the Gentle Leader on. He still likes to pull away because he wants to go sniff something or chase something. Wearing the Gentle Leader, as soon as he pulls against it and feels that tension around his snout, he'll start to fight it and shake his head and try to rub it off.

If we put him in the grass where he's got things to sniff, he's a little easier to handle.. but he still tries to pull, and will stop when he wants to really investigate a smell.

Yes this is typical dog behavior.. but you don't really get anywhere when taking him for a walk.. so he's not getting the proper exercise he needs while walking.

Cesar made some very valid points about a dog needing to "migrate" or just walk in one direction at a decent pace for a long time.. like at least half an hour.

So Sunday I put the Gentle Leader on Turbo and went to walk down our road.. about a mile down is a dead end, and that's where we were heading.
I took on an all business attitude. "I'm walking, you're coming with me!" I held his leash tight so that he couldn't sniff around.. his head was just stuck at my side.
It took a minute for him to get the idea. He fought a little at first, wanting to sniff because we normally let him.

But soon it was amazing! He didn't fight it.. he just walked there next to me. He seemed to love it! We both relaxed and just walked briskly.
Oh sure, once or twice he'd smell something he wanted to investigate and he'd fight a bit against the GL.. but I'd just keep walking, and pull (not tug!) on the leash until he fell back into step, which he did! Once we got to the end I gave him a few minutes to sniff, and then we headed back. It took a total of 30 minutes and it was a great walk!
So we did the same thing yesterday.
Turbo still gets some shorter walks during the day where he can sniff and do what he wants.. but at least once a day he's going to just go on a power walk and get some exercise!

The rest of what Cesar preaches.. well, that's totally different!
After the walk I started thinking "Maybe there's something to what Cesar is saying" since the walk worked out so well.
So we watched some of his Dog Whisperer shows on Netflix and saw him in action.

Then when Turbo got all rowdy, we tried some of them. No, they did not work. The dog got scared, which of course made him fight back. I can't exactly blame him!
That night hubby and I decided we would no longer try Cesar's way. It does not work on our dog. We'll go back to my rewards based system which seemed to be working just fine! But I will add in the walks.. all trainers agree exercise is the first step towards fixing behavior problems in a dog!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Turbo Training 5/11/13

This morning while surfing the web, I came across a video on how to teach a dog to go lay down in "their spot". I decided we'd try that. I can think of about a hundred times I'd want to use this command, but first he needs to know it!

You start by choosing his spot... I put a blanket down on the floor and for now that will be his spot until I can get him a pet bed or something.

Then you toss treats onto the spot, and as soon as he steps on the blanket or bed you click.

We did this a few times, then he stayed on the blanket sniffing for more treats. So I got him to lie down on it, and gave him a treat. Then I told him stay, and gave him a treat. Then I gave the release command. Then we started over by throwing treats onto the blanket.

Turbo is a really smart dog and picks up on new commands so quickly! Normally a command like this would take many training sessions.. first one just throwing the treats onto the spot, 2nd one trying to get him to stay on the spot...

Nope, Turbo got it fast! By the end of our session I just said "Go lay down" and he walked over to the blanket without me throwing a treat.. so then he got the treat.

So proud of my smart doggy! :)

After the training session we went for a walk with the gentle leader.. he's getting so much better with that! We walked down our dead end road.. probably about a quarter mile, and back. And he did great! He's not trying as hard to get the GL off, when he does I tell him no, then give him turkey when he stops and walks the way I want him to..

So when we got back I put him on his tie out and played fetch with him for awhile to let him run off some of his energy..

It's been a good training day so far :)

(also posted on Bubblews at:  http://www.bubblews.com/news/497204-turbo-training-51113)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Training Turbo 5/9/13

Today we worked on "give" some more, mostly while he was outside playing with a ball. He does nip a lot, so I started off by tossing the treat a few feet away so I could get the ball without being nipped, but I slowly worked on handing him the treat and taking the ball at the same time.

We also worked a little on impulse control. It was supposed to be a "leave it" session, where you're supposed to step on a treat and wait for him to be distracted, then give it to him. Well, he was so excited when he saw the treat, that I couldn't even set it down without him trying to scarf it up. So I made him do a sit/stay and then I set the treat a few feet away from him, made him hold his sit a few moments longer, then gave him the okay to get the treat.

One of the problems I'm seeing with Turbo is he gets extremely worked up over treats.. more so than I think is normal.. not that I really know what "dog normal" is.

Well, the Nasty Trainer Lady was the one who told me to give him set meal times and take his dish away after 30 minutes.. and if he hadn't finished the food, then he'd learn to eat it faster.
Personally, I'm the type who leaves food out all the time for my pets so it's always there if they're hungry.
Turbo is good about eating. He doesn't scarf the food down. He eats a few bites and walks away, and goes back for a few more bites.

So for the past week I actually have been keeping his food dish up when it wasn't a meal time, and he's getting the majority of his food as treats for training, or through his kong toys.

I mentioned my concern over the treat excitement to hubby, and he said maybe the dog is just that hungry! We didn't notice this type of behavior before we started picking up his dish, and although he's had a week, he still has not learned to eat all of his food within the half hour time frame.

So I'm going to go back to leaving his food out all day and see what happens.
I realize this could create problems such as not being motivated by treats to do his training, or gaining too much weight. But I just want to try it and see if he stops getting over-excited whenever he sees a treat. I'll adjust my methods if needed.. it's all a learning experience right now!

Gentle Leader training Day 3

It is getting to be super easy to get the Gentle Leader on Turbo now. Depending on his mood he might immediately let me put it on, or sometimes if he's sort of worked up he'll try to push it away and just take the treat, but eventually when he realizes he won't get the treat, he'll stuff his nose in the loop hole and let me put it on.

I have been taking him outside, although I said I wouldn't. Inside the house he doesn't do anything, even with it on. He'll just sit there staring at me, waiting for more turkey! So, I take him out.

Today I walked him around the yard a couple times while he wore the GL. He spends most of the time still trying to get it off by rubbing his paws on his face or rubbing his face on the ground.

The last time I got it on him we walked down the road a bit and back, and he did fairly well most of the time.. but I guess I was pushing it as when we got back to the house he was jumping in circles trying to pull the GL off himself.

I know we've still got a ways to go to get him to enjoy wearing the GL, but I am impressed at the progress he has made so far in just 3 days. I didn't expect to even have it on him yet, so I am happy!

Choosing a dog trainer..

After my awful experience last week, I wanted to share some tips with other dog owners out there who might be seeking obedience training for their dog.

Here is an extremely helpful article from the Humane Society.

As it suggests, you might want to sit in on a few sessions without your dog, just to see what sort of training goes on there.
The Nasty Trainer Lady I chose used many of the methods mentioned there that trainers shouldn't do, which included yelling at the dog, holding his snout shut when he was nipping, and pinning him down.
I should have done more research before choosing this trainer, but I was in such a hurry to straighten Turbo out and make him the perfect family dog, I didn't ask one single question before starting our training. That was my mistake!

Please don't make the same mistake I did!
Not all people who call themselves dog trainers are actually good at training dogs!! Do your research!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Gentle Leader Update..

Here's Turbo out for a walk wearing his gentle leader!
Didn't take nearly as long as I expected to get to this point!

Let me say though, he did not like it! He let me put it on him without a problem, and I managed to get him out for a walk, hoping to get him used to it. I should have just let him wear it around the house for a few minutes instead. He tried to get it off with his paws, but I got it just tight enough that he couldn't. So then he started rubbing his head on the ground, and eventually shaking his head. He really didn't like it.

We walked a little ways, him getting turkey treats every few steps! But finally I figured he'd had enough, so I took it off.

My mistake was getting too excited over our progress and taking it to the next step too soon. From now on whenever I put it on, he'll just wear it inside for as long as he can stand it. We'll try that a few times a day, until he gets to a point where he's not trying to take it off anymore.. then we'll start the walks with it!

Still, I'm happy with the progress we made in just 1 day! 

Training Turbo 5/8/13

I don't really get much training done later in the day with Turbo.. he gets too wound up with all the kids home, so mostly I spend my afternoons just supervising and preventing problems.. and only do any type of training when opportunities arise..

So far today Turbo and I have worked on a couple of things.

1st was getting him into his Gentle Leader, which I am happy to say has been more successful than I expected so soon!
Earlier I posted about our first small success with the GL..

Well a little while ago I tried again. He was asleep again, so I thought it would be a good time, but as soon as I went into the kitchen for the turkey, he woke up and came to investigate. I figured at this point it would be hopeless since he was already starting to get worked up.. but he proved me wrong! I gave him a piece of turkey and put the GL on him with no problem.. then I fed him more turkey. I was so happy I was able to get it on him with very little trouble.. but he still didn't like having it on. He pawed at his nose again.. he doesn't like the nose loop part. It took him awhile to actually get it off. Again I was debating attempting a walk.. but after awhile he managed to get the nose loop off his nose again. I've got to make the nose loop just an itsy bit more snug!
So I took the GL off and still took him for a walk to celebrate his much bigger success!

We also worked on "give". We tried this a couple times. First, I gave him a bone, and tried to get him interested in it.. but he saw that I had treats so wanted no part of the bone.

Later I gave him a stuffed kong, and he was going to town, so we tried "give" again. Worked on that for a few minutes, then I let him finish off his kong in peace. All in all he did very well.

We still had a couple problems with him jumping on me and biting a bit. This is his way of playing, and he hasn't yet learned that we don't like it..
both times he did it I had to crate him to calm him down.. just for a few minutes. I'm really hoping these instances become fewer and fewer! At least when my oldest got home from school, Turbo didn't try to jump on him like he normally does.. he was pretty good.. so maybe he's slowly starting to learn.

All in all I'd say it's been a pretty good day so far.. but the kids aren't all home from school yet, so we'll see how the afternoon goes!

(also posted on Bubblews:  http://www.bubblews.com/news/484552-turbo-training-5813)

Gentle Leader Training, Day 2

With a bit of luck and really good timing, I was actually able to put the GL on Turbo today!

I chose a time when the dog was sleeping peacefully on the sofa. Of course he woke up when I went over to him, but he did not get up and didn't get excited. Just laid there. So, I put the gentle leader on him and fed him lots of turkey as a treat as well as lots of praise and pets. He didn't seem to care while he was lying there. I snapped this photo as quick as I could before he changed his mind. I waited to see what he'd do, and he did nothing. So, I hooked up his leash to the GL to see if he wanted to go for a walk.

As soon as he stood up, that's when he started trying to get the GL off. He pawed at his nose until he made the nose loop come off his nose (meaning I need to tighten it a bit more, but that was hard to determine while he was lying down!).

So, I took the GL off him, hooked the leash back to his normal collar, and brought him for a walk to reward his small success!

We'll keep trying.. but hooray for small successes!! :)

Also posted on Bubblews:  http://www.bubblews.com/news/483507-gentle-leader-training-day-2

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gentle Leader training, Day 1

I got my Amazon shipment in the mail today which consisted of a Tie Out Cable, a pooper scooper, a clicker, and a gentle leader.

Now if you read my previous post about Turbo's training session you'll know his previous experience with a gentle leader did not go so well. But I have a plan to make Turbo eventually LOVE his gentle leader (GL). I came up with this plan myself immediately after leaving Nasty Trainer Lady, and was surprised to find the pamphlet that came with the GL actually instructs to do exactly what I was planning.

For starters, Turbo is getting special treats! I'm using some turkey lunch meat instead of his usual regular doggy treats. And these special treats will only be used with the GL, so he's soon going to associate the GL with special treats!!

What I did today was take the GL out of the package, and just held it out for Turbo to sniff. Each time he sniffed it he got a small piece of turkey. After a few sniffs I opened up the snout portion and draped it on his snout and gave him a treat. He quickly shook it off.. but that's okay. We're just getting him warmed up to the idea. I don't expect to have it on him today.. I'm just introducing it to him and teaching him to love it!

We did this for probably about 5 minutes, until Turbo got overly worked up and decided he wanted to play. That's when the GL and the turkey were put away.

We'll try the same thing again later.. and keep doing this until he allows the GL to be put on him without a fuss. After that.. it will probably still take time before we walk him with the GL on. We're just going to take it slowly and work on it one step at a time!

Read the post on Bubblews:  http://www.bubblews.com/news/479344-using-a-gentle-leader-day-1

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday is not off to a good start..

Before my younger 2 even left for school this morning, I was already getting a phone call from the high school! My oldest will be spending the day in in-school suspension for disrespecting a substitute teacher on Friday. Argh! The Vice Principal told me they've been having behavior problems with my son for a couple weeks now.. and actually, so have I. He's got the worst attitude problem lately. Won't listen to anything, takes everything personally. Thinks the younger kids get away with more than he does.. which is not true! They just don't behave quite as badly as he does.

But this attitude of his is rubbing off. My 10 year old is now giving me attitude problems. He was playing in the creek over the weekend and when he came in his lips were blue. I mentioned this and asked if the creek was really cold. His response: "Well my lips wouldn't be blue if it weren't".

These kids aren't going to have much of a fun summer if they keep this up!

Also, early this morning, my husband broke on of my favorite candles! My lilac scented candle from Bath & Body Works. He knocked it off the table accidentally and it shattered!

Now the kids are at school and things seem to have calmed down.. but who knows what will happen when they get home!

I'm going to spend part of this afternoon working on dog training and see how that goes.

Here's hoping the worst of the day is over!!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Doggone Safe

I want to share this website I came across called doggonesafe.com. This site is dedicated to reducing the number of people bitten by dogs. They do this by educating us on why dogs bite and the types of behaviors to watch out for to tell if a dog is going to bite.
There is all sorts of valuable information on this site I really think everyone needs to know. Even if you don't own a dog, your still going to be around them. You may visit friends who have a dog, or see dogs on the street. It's important to keep yourself and your children safe, and the dog as well since it will likely be put down if it bites you.

So check out the site, click through some of the links, learn about the behaviors to watch for.. and be safe!


Friday, May 3, 2013

Turbo's training session..

The training session turned out horribly, but I don't blame Turbo!

We signed up for private lessons, so Turbo was able to run around and play while the trainer explained some basic training tips to me. A lot of it was stuff I've already learned on my own. I found a great blog with helpful tips about dog training: http://dogtrainer.quickanddirtytips.com/ and there is also a book I borrowed from the library and intend to buy now that I've read most of it: The Dog Trainer's Complete Guide to a Happy, Well-Behaved Pet

So, because of this book, I have learned a lot of tips already, and the trainer basically reiterated most of them. 

After about an hour of talking, she decided to finally get down to training. She pulled out a gentle leader and I got excited! I've just ordered one of these myself, so I was happy I was going to learn how to use it in a training session!

But the dog wasn't keen about having it put on. She got it on once, but he was able to get it off because it wasn't tight enough. She took it off, tightened it, and tried again. Turbo wanted no part of it. But she insisted.
She put the dog between her legs so he was pinned. She grabbed his head, pinning that as well. He started nipping at her, lightly at first.. but the more she fought with him, the more aggressive the dog got. She was holding his face to stop him from biting at her. Anytime he started to bite she'd yell "hey" at him really loud. 
So he started growling, and the growling got louder as she continued to fight. Obviously the dog was getting really angry! Anyone else probably would have backed off.. especially since this wasn't extremely important, and you don't want the dog to think training is going to be stressful or else he won't want to do it!

But she kept at it until the dog actually bit her and drew blood.. on her hand. It was a small bite, and she admitted it was her own fault for pushing him so far.

So now she gives up (only teaching the dog he'll get his way when he bites someone! Great.. thanks Miss Trainer Lady!) and tells me I should re-think keeping this dog since I have small children in my home!

Well.. the only times my dog has ever shown any sort of aggression has been when someone has been forcefully making him do something he doesn't want to do.. and not nicely either!
I'm sure I could do a better job with some praise and treats than she did with pinning him down and trying to hold his head!

So I'm taking over his training myself with the help of my trusty book!

The hard part is going to be getting the kids to stick with it because the dog needs consistency. I'll probably end up training them more than I train the dog!

Read the post on Bubblews:  http://www.bubblews.com/news/463875-training-did-not-go-very-well