Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets.

Round Up

Billie as a puppy

Billie as a puppy

I told you a few weeks ago that Taylor was starting to have some weakness in his rear legs and that I thought he needed more than just his usual glucosamine-chondroitin-MSM tablets.  So, I ordered something for him called Dog Gone Pain.  He’s only been taking it for a few days but I am very happy with it.  He is acting feisty again plus he’s been trotting around the house.  He’s even been playing with the other dogs.  Taylor will be 13 in a couple of weeks and I think his new medicine is really helping him.

All of the dogs continue their clicker training.  It’s really funny.  If I just give them treats now without using the clicker they look kind of disappointed.  LOL  They want the clicker! It must give them some feeling of accomplishment.

I was looking around on eBay the other day to buy some extra clickers and maybe a new bait bag (I’m using my old fanny pack right now) and I discovered something interesting.  People are selling things on eBay at a marked up price.  I don’t even like eBay anymore.  You used to be able to go there and find good deals but now it seems that the people who sell there have their own stores and they’re just trying to sell their merchandise.  For instance, with the little clickers, people were selling them for several dollars each.  I googled the brand and I found the same thing selling for $1.29 cents at Pet Edge.  It was the same way with the training pouch I liked.  People on eBay were selling them for $15 but they were $9.99 at Pet Edge.  So they’re buying them cheap and selling them high on eBay.  If you want a good price, go somewhere besides eBay, or at least look other places, too.

Don’t rule out your local pet supply stores either.  I was buying dog food yesterday and I checked out what they had.  They didn’t have a large selection but for the things they did have their prices weren’t bad.  Of course, that’s the Tractor Supply Co. store.  I don’t have a PetSmart or other pet store near me since I live out in the country.  I think the Tractor Supply Co. store is just as dangerous as a pet store.  I am not as tempted to buy pet things but I always seem to buy some shirts or look at horse magazines when I go there each week.  It’s a struggle not to buy a Breyer horse.  I used to collect them when I was growing up and I still love them.

Billie in the field

Billie in the field

It will soon be time to breed Billie.  Just a few more weeks.  I’m very excited.  She’s four years old and this will be her first litter if all goes well.  She’s a beautiful girl but she has a very unusual personality.  If you know anything about astrology Billie is a Gemini.  She does things her own way.  She is “quirky.”  Sometimes she is very loving and wants to be petted but other times she just wants to be alone.  She will go off and lie in the sun in the backyard all by herself.  She doesn’t care what the other dogs do. Sometimes you can’t even tempt her with food.  She does what she wants to do.  She’s always been this way since she was a puppy.

I guess I’m giving this round up about everything because this is my last post here.  The GreytInspirations store will be closing soon and this is the end of the blog.  I want to thank Joanne for allowing me to have fun with these posts.  I love writing about my dogs and finding stories that might interest dog lovers.

So, good luck to Joanne and her family, both human and animal.  And thanks to all of you who have been reading.  I appreciate the time you’ve taken to stop by and read.  Many thanks and hugs to your pets.

Carlotta Cooper

July 31, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dog Friendliest Cities

Knoxville's Mardi Growl Parade.

Knoxville's Mardi Growl Parade.

Knoxville, Tennessee has announced that it wants to be the most dog-friendly city in the country.  That’s a very ambitious goal!  But they seem to be off to a good start.

Here’s the story:

The city of Knoxville, Knox County, the University of Tennessee, the Knoxville Chamber, the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corp., Young-Williams Animal Center and PetSafe have joined the push, nicknamed the “Pet Friendliest” effort.

“Ultimately, being the most pet-friendly community in America can offer great benefits to our citizens, and it can also have a significant positive impact on local tourism,” said Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale in a press release on Wednesday.

Added Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam: “People love their pets, and we are very supportive of this initiative that increases the number of pet-friendly activities and locations in our community.”

The Pet Friendliest effort will focus on three areas:

Major expansion of pet activities and events

Pet-focused tourism

More pet-friendly park acres and businesses

The coalition seeks to create a community-based culture that harbors pet-friendliness as an established part of daily life.

To gauge its progress or to get involved, visit the coalition’s new Web site –

So far, successful efforts of the Pet Friendly Community Committee include the February Mardi Growl Parade, hosted by the city and Young-Williams; the establishment of two community dog parks and planning for at least five more; and the identification of almost 3,000 pet-friendly hotel rooms in the community.

Not bad.  I visit Knoxville several times a year.  I have friends who live there and I usually take my dogs to some dog shows there.  The only major complaint I have about the city is that they do have a pet limit inside the city limits and there has been talk of trying to institute a similar pet limit in county areas.  There has been some talk of trying to label anyone with four cats and/or dogs as a “kennel” which would require licensing and inspection.  LOL  Really!  Where do they get these ideas?  I know lots of people who have a couple of cats and a couple of dogs.  That doesn’t make them a kennel!  I have five dogs and I don’t have a kennel.  My dogs are all housepets.

When you think about it, the whole idea of pet limits is very misguided.  You have people upset all the time because we have to euthanize 3-4 million cats and dogs per year.  And yet there are lots of people who have the room, even in cities, to adopt or foster more than three or four pets.  However, they’re unable to do so because so many cities have put pet limits in place.  This cuts down on the number of people who can take in adoptable animals.  If people want to adopt and they have the room and resources, why are they being prevented?  Pet limits are just a bad idea, especially when so many local governments and rescues and shelters say they want to reduce the numbers of animals euthanized every year.

Especially right now, when more pets are being turned in to shelters by owners who can’t afford to keep them, wouldn’t it be nice if pet limits were waived so more people could adopt more animals?  With the animals coming from shelters they would still be spayed and neutered so there would be no fear of them reproducing.  But it could cut down on the number who were put to sleep.  More animals could be fostered for people who were having temporary financial problems.

But, like many common sense ideas, it probably won’t happen.

Here’s the current list of dog-friendliest cities:’s 2009 Top 10 U.S. Cities to Visit With Your Dog compiles this list for people who want to take their dogs with them on vacation. The rankings take into account the quality of dog-friendly accommodations, transportation, beaches, parks, attractions, stores, dining and things to do with your dog.

1. San Francisco – Luxurious hotels. Plenty of pet-friendly patio dining. Many off-leash beaches and areas. Ride the cable car, walk the Golden Gate.

2. Austin – Dine in outdoor cafes. Visit the Zilker Botanical Gardens. See the Congress Street Bats. Many off-leash parks.

3. Boston – Tour Boston harbor by boat. Walk the Freedom Trail and explore many National Historical Sites. Your leashed dog is welcome on the subway.

4. Northern Virginia – Enjoy a yappy hour or dine in dog-friendly Alexandria. Take the Canine Cruise. Visit outdoor monuments and nearby Washington.

5. Portland (OR)– Enjoy off-leash areas and the famous Rose Gardens. Visit the Saturday Outdoor Market. Have a drink at the Lucky Lab.

6. Charleston (SC) – Take a ghost tour or walking tour. See the grounds of the Magnolia and Boone Hall Plantations. Visit the beach.

7. Chicago – Visit Navy Pier. Ride the Canine Cruise. See Buckingham Fountain, take a walk in Oak Park. Many dog-friendly patio restaurants.

8. San Diego – Visit fabulous dog beaches. Shop at dog-friendly Otay Ranch with its dog park. Dine outdoors and hike many parks.

9. New York – Stay in a fine hotel. Take a walking tour of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. Shop at Time Warner Center. See the Balto Statue and Central Park.

10. Ann Arbor – Visit Nichols Arboretum, rent a dog-friendly canoe. Visit nearby gardens and farms. Visit many local parks.

Honorable Mentions: Dallas, Madison/Wisconsin Dells, Minneapolis, Salt Lake, Seattle

See here for’s Top 10 Resort Areas to visit with a Dog in the U.S.

July 29, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Extreme Sheep LED Art

One of my favorite dog videos!  For people who think herding sheep is obsolete.  LOL

July 28, 2009 Posted by | dogs, General, Pets | , , | Leave a comment

Service dogs and “disarming”

There are two very interesting dog items in the news this morning.  First, new U.S. Senator Al Franken (yes, the former Saturday Night Live comedian) has introduced a bill that would provide service dogs to veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.  There’s been an experimental Veterans Administration program with dogs helping vets with PTSD and depression and now Sen. Franken would like to take the program live so it can help all Iraq and Afghanistan vets who need dogs.

Research with the VA is showing that specially trained dogs can help psychologically wounded veterans.

The dogs’ companionship, Franken said, provides invaluable health benefits — both physical and emotional — to veterans suffering from debilitating injuries and psychological disorders.

The service dogs will help “reduce the suicide rate among veterans, decrease the number of hospitalizations and lower the cost of medications and human care,” he said.

That sounds wonderful!  However, the program would only provide service dogs to new vets.  It would not provide dogs to older vets — vets who experienced PTSD or depression from previous conflicts.

The Daily Kos blog would like to have the legislation expanded to provide a service dog to any veteran who needs one:

So I ask you to support this great idea, but help veterans of all eras in having Senator Franken’s noble proposal expanded to include all veterans alive who are wounded in the spirit.  If this seems to be a good idea to you, please support Senator Franken but let him know that there are more US combat veterans than just from the two most recent wars that could use his help.

Senator Al Franken

Democrat – Minnesota



DC Phone: 202-224-5641


Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times How had the 35-pound bouncing ball of fluff become a public menace? Krieger says it wasn't apathy on her part. She enrolled Cotton in puppy classes and basic training at the neighborhood PetSmart. She bought a library of self-help books and videos. Nothing worked.

Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times How had the 35-pound bouncing ball of fluff become a public menace? Krieger says it wasn't apathy on her part. She enrolled Cotton in puppy classes and basic training at the neighborhood PetSmart. She bought a library of self-help books and videos. Nothing worked.

There’s another interesting story today in the L.A. Times:  “When “Dog Whisperer” Can’t Help” by Diane R. Krieger.  Ms. Krieger describes her dog Cotton, an American Eskimo dog, who had a serious problem with biting.  The Kriegers had tried everything — classes, muzzles, even appearing on Cesar Millan’s television program and working with private trainers.  Cotton was still a biter and a dangerous dog who would try to bite anyone who came on their property.  The Kriegers were at the point where they were considering having Cotton put to sleep.  That’s when Ms. Krieger heard about a procedure — a controversial procedure — called “disarming.”

Here’s the description:

One day while channel surfing, I happened upon an Animal Planet special counting down the world’s top 10 “extreme biters.” The domesticated dog came in at No. 4. (Hippos and Komodo dragons took the No. 3 and No. 2 spots, with the cookie-cutter shark the undisputed champion.) There, to my delight, was Dr. David Nielsen, a veterinary dentist based in Manhattan Beach, talking about a miracle fix: “canine disarming.”

Instead of extracting the four canines, Nielsen cuts away 4 millimeters of tooth using a CO2 laser. He acid-etches the live pulp within, fashions a bell-shaped cavity that he packs with two kinds of human-grade composite, and light-cures the top for a smooth, flat finish. He also blunts the extra set of pointy incisors.

Disarming isn’t a new idea, but Nielsen’s technique is one he pioneered, though he shares credit with his now-departed pet whippet. The small greyhound had “played Frisbee so much and chewed so hard trying to get out of cages” that he’d busted off all four canines right above the 4-millimeter level, Nielsen says. One day the whippet cornered a technician in Nielsen’s office and flew at her face. Instead of tearing flesh, he merely pinched her cheek. The blunted canines blocked even the incisors from their shearing action.

A metaphorical light bulb came on above Nielsen’s head.Now he figures he has disarmed some 300 animals in the last dozen years, not all of them dogs. A short while ago, he treated a kitty whose love bites had turned a little too intense. He’s also used the procedure, for various reasons, on wolves and a tiger.

Nielsen may be something of a maverick. Dr. Gail Golab, head of the American Veterinary Medical Assn., says that disarming dogs was once fairly common, but that it fell out of favor several years ago as behavioral modification techniques improved. The association is opposed to either tooth removal or disarming, primarily on the grounds that neither addresses the underlying cause of aggression and may lull owners into a false confidence that the animal can no longer inflict injury.

The American Veterinary Dental College agrees that disarming is controversial, but in a position statement adopted in 2005 it endorsed the procedure in “selected cases.”

In June, I signed Cotton up. It would cost a pretty penny: $1,600. But it’s easy to see why. Nielsen uses state-of-the-art human dental and surgical techniques. Cotton would be sedated before full intubation under general anesthesia. He would receive an IV drip of fluid potassium, and technicians would hook him up to a battery of machines monitoring his oxygen level, heart rate and blood pressure. The doctor would consult digital X-rays taken just before the procedure and track his progress with more X-rays along the way. Cotton would get deep scaling before the procedure and a foamy fluoride treatment after. And he would go home with enough antibiotics and pain relievers to last a week. Once he recovered from the surgery, there would be no lasting side effects: Cotton would be able to eat, chew and play normally.

For all the technology, Nielsen says the most profound effect of canine disarming is psychological. “You can see it in their eyes almost the moment they wake up from the anesthesia,” he says. “It’s like they’re wondering, ‘who took away my knives?’ ” An epiphany that humbles and subdues them for all time. The Bumble from “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” comes to mind. Remember how sweet the ferocious yeti becomes after Hermey, the misfit elf-turned-dentist, does his handiwork?

Cotton was successfully “disarmed.”  Now when he tries to bite things he only succeeds in barely scratching them.  But, as you can see, this is a controversial — and expensive — procedure.  Disarming is only used in very selective cases.  It’s always best to try to address the reasons why a dog is biting and to try to train the dog to quit the biting.  But, when faced with either putting the dog to sleep or finding another solution, disarming can offer an owner a way to save the dog.

July 27, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When guarding is bad

Pearl when she's not barking.

Pearl when she's not barking.

I apologize for being a little behind schedule this week.  I’ve had a cold all week long and I’ve been scrambling to try to get things done when they’re supposed to be done.  I had to take a day or two off to just stay in bed because nothing I wrote was making much sense.  Clients generally take a dim view when you give them articles with bad punctuation and grammar.

We missed our clicker training class yesterday but I was feeling a little better this afternoon.  I hauled myself and Blue and Pearl to our training class today.  I still let the trainer do most of the work but at least we were there.  Unfortunately, I had not been careful to make sure that Blue and Pearl were hungry before we went to class.  In fact, I had left a big bag of frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts out accidentally overnight and, when I realized what I had done this morning (the aroma!), I gave the chicken to the dogs.  So the dogs shared about four pounds of chicken breasts just 3-4 hours before class.  I think Beau got the biggest share of the chicken breasts — he can be a real piggy!  Blue is a little more selective about what he eats.  Billie and Pearl probably ate one breast each.  Taylor only showed up at the end even though I called him.  But it was enough to make Blue and Pearl less interested than usual in treats during class this afternoon.  Blue wasn’t even very interested in peanut butter when we practiced getting him to come when called.

We did get some good trotting from him when the trainer and I took him outside and the trainer started him off in the grass on the little hill.  Desterie and I had thought that Blue was starting to trot there because it was higher ground.  The trainer thinks it’s because the grass is higher and Blue has to lift his legs higher.  I don’t know what the reason is but he definitely trots when he is coming off the little hill with the high grass, but he still paces on the flat ground.

Blue and Pearl are both learning to sit, too.  That’s coming along.  We also worked on a few behavior issues.  Oh, my, yes.  Even my dogs have behavior issues.  Pearl is a horrible barker.  Every time we ignore her to work with Blue she starts barking.  We’re trying to teach her to be quiet using clicker training.  We ignore her when she’s barking.  Then, when she is quiet she gets clicks and treats.  LOL  It’s not really fair.  Blue has to work for his treats and all Pearl has to do to get her treats is be quiet.

Blue is also having an issue with the other dog in the class.  The other person and dog who come at the same time we do are a woman with a Lab mix puppy.  Friendly, outgoing puppy.  Well, the puppy likes to walk right up to Blue and get in his face and he’s not used to that.  He doesn’t know the puppy.  I think part of him would like to play but he’s also got this status thing going on.  Then, if I’m next to him, he also acts like he is guarding me.  If the puppy comes near me Blue puts himself in front of me like he’s defending me and he doesn’t want the puppy to get close.  So, Blue needs to learn how he should react to the puppy and he needs to learn that he can’t guard me.

Lots of dogs exhibit guarding behavior, whether it’s about people or toys or their food.  When they do this the solution is to generally remove the thing that they’re guarding to let them know that it’s not okay.  If your dog is guarding his food bowl you can remove the bowl and feed your dog from your hand for a few days to remind him that the food comes from you.  If your dog is guarding toys you can remove them and offer your dog something else to stop the guarding behavior.  You can teach many dogs to trade toys with you — offer them something of higher value than the toy they are guarding.  And, if he’s guarding me (as the trainer reminded me), I can get up and leave the room to let him know that it’s inappropriate.  Because Blue does guard me at home, too.  When some of the other dogs try to come to me to be petted he will sometimes put himself between us so I can’t pet them.  Even if Blue follows me when I leave the room I’ve let him know that this is unacceptable behavior.

I can’t tell you how helpful good training classes are.  Classes where you can discuss behavior and not just learn obedience commands are wonderful.  If you have classes like these in your area I highly recommend them.  You and your dog can learn a lot.

If you’d like to read some good articles about dog training this site has some that I like.

July 25, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , | Leave a comment

Taco Bell dog dies; spaying and neutering

Here’s a sad bit of news today.  Gidget, the talking Chihuahua from the Taco Bell commercials a few years ago, has died at the age of 15.  People Magazine reports that Gidget had a stroke Tuesday.  Her “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” ad campaign was very popular with viewers, although it apparently didn’t sell enough tacos.

Gidget replaced the original Taco Bell Chihuahua, Dinky, soon after the commercials began.

Taco Bell dumped the Chihuahua in the ads in 2000 but she remains popularly associated with the restaurant chain.

“It was all about the Chihuahua and you can’t have that. It’s got to be all about the brand,” Taco Bell president Emil Brolick told the Detroit Free Press in 2006.

According to People, the mostly retired actor lived out her days sunbathing and accompanying her trainer to photo shoots. “Gidget always knew where the camera was,” her trainer, Sue Chipperton, told People.

We’re very sorry to hear that Gidget has passed on.

Yesterday I was working on some dog articles and one of the topics I was asked to write about was whether or not spaying or neutering your dog would make him fat.  There is some common wisdom, based on a lot of people’s experiences with their spayed and neutered dogs, that says that spaying and neutering does tend to make them gain weight.  I started searching the Internet to see if I could find a definitive, veterinary-based answer to this question.  It was more than a little frustrating.  I found dozens of sites that practically yelled at me (in writing) for daring to ask such a question.  How dare I suggest that there could be any drawbacks to spaying or neutering a pet!  Well-meaning spay-neuter advocates screamed that of course no dog could gain weight when you spayed or neutered them!  But, there was no proof for their answers.  I kept looking.

Finally, I came across the site for the American College of Theriogenologists.  These are the veterinarians that specialize in reproductive matters.  They probably know more about the pros and cons of spaying and neutering than anyone else.  And I found this statement listed among one of the advantages of keeping your pet intact:

“There is a decreased incidence of obesity in intact male and female dogs and cats, which may be due at least partly to increased metabolic rate.”

So, that means that, yes, if you spay or neuter your pet that she or he is likely to gain weight.  This may be due to a decreased metabolic rate.  This does seem to agree with what many pet owners notice about their pets after they have been spayed or neutered.

When you have your pet spayed or neutered you are stopping the production of sexual hormones in their body.  It’s not surprising that this will have an effect on their bodies.

I am very sorry to rain on anyone’s parade about the joys of spaying and neutering, but this is just a veterinary fact.  It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have your pet spayed or neutered.  In fact, for most pet owners spaying and neutering is a good choice.  If you don’t intend to breed your dog then, for most people, spaying and neutering makes sense.

Spaying and neutering is always a personal decision that an owner should make in consultation with their vet.  Each dog is different.  Spaying and neutering can prevent some kinds of cancer later in life.  However, intact dogs also have a lower incidence of other kinds of cancer.  They also have a lower incidence of autoimmune disorders and fewer problems with hip dysplasia.

Before you make decisions about spaying or neutering your dog you should consider your dog’s age, his breed, the possible health problems in the breed, the health problems in his parents and other relatives, your lifestyle and other factors that spaying and neutering could affect.

Spaying and neutering is never an automatic decision.  Take the most responsible approach to spaying and neutering and consider all of its possible health affects.

July 23, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , | Leave a comment

Greyt Inspirations - 50% Off Sale

Greyt Inspirations - 50% Off Sale

July 21, 2009 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

Dog learns to read?

Willow follows the directions on a sign held up by her trainer.

Willow follows the directions on a sign held up by her trainer.

I told you that Blue and Pearl have been going to training classes.  I’ve always been in awe of the things that people can teach their dogs to do.  I know that dogs are incredibly smart.  But when I saw the following story today I really had to shake my head.  I found it hard to believe.  I’m still not sure how the dog has learned to do these things.

See what you think.

Woman teaches dog to read

New York animal trainer Lyssa Rosenberg has taught her terrier to obey simple written commands.

Willow plays dead when she sees the word ‘bang’, stretches a paw in the air when she sees ‘wave’ and gets up on her back feet to beg when she sees the words ‘sit up’.

“She’s an unbelievably quick learner,” said Ms Rosenberg, who has trained other dogs to appear in TV adverts and pose on photo shoots.

“She can do 250 different things and I used to joke that I would teach her how to pour me a martini. Then for a bet I told a friend I would teach her to read. He promised me a free trip to Mexico if I could do it.

“It took her just six weeks to recognise words and respond to them. And it isn’t just my handwriting she understands. My friend printed the words Willow learned off the computer and she reacted to them.

“Well I won the bet and Willow came with me to Mexico.”

Willow has her own pet passport and regularly flies transatlantic to visit Ms Rosenberg’s husband Gareth Howells, in Guildford, Surrey.

Willow was also the second witness at the couple’s wedding at New York City Hall in March – signing the marriage certificate with an inky paw print.

Ms Rosenberg even takes the 10lb English terrier mix on business trips because Willow is more than happy to share her carrying case with other animals.

“I once had to fly from California back to New York with a rabbit and two guinea pigs. Going through airport security was hilarious because first I pulled out the rabbit from the bag, followed by the guinea pigs and then the dog.”

Now, how on earth is little Willow able to see and recognize words and know what she’s supposed to do from a training standpoint?  Is this really what we would call “reading”?  I know that Koko the gorilla uses sign language to communicate and can read signs that appear on a computer screen.  That’s one way that she and her handlers communicate.  (Koko has a working vocabulary of over 1000 signs. Koko understands approximately 2,000 words of spoken English. She initiates the majority of conversations with her human companions and typically constructs statements averaging three to six words. Koko has a tested IQ of between 70 and 95 on a human scale, where 100 is considered “normal.”)

So, is Willow the terrier doing something similar to what Koko does?  Is she reading and understanding words as signs for what her owner wants her to do?  Or is there something else going on?  Would Willow be able to follow these commands if someone else showed her the words without her owner present?  Could her owner somehow be tipping her off to what she’s supposed to do, perhaps without even knowing it?

Rico knows over 200 words and seems to have learning abilities like a human toddler.

Rico knows over 200 words and seems to have learning abilities like a human toddler.

There’s no way to tell from this brief story but dogs probably can learn to read the signs for specific actions, if they haven’t learned to do so yet.  In many intelligence tests dogs have scored favorably with chimps and other primates.  In fact, in some tests dogs have been shown to have learning abilities very similar to those of human toddlers.

In 2004 a 9-year-old Border Collie named Rico caught the attention of the world with his remarkable language skills.

[Rico] apparently understands a vocabulary of 200 words—most of them in German—has led scientists to conclude that the remarkable dog has language-learning ability comparable, in some ways, to a human toddler. Their findings raise anew the question of whether language is strictly a human trait…

Like a young human child, Rico can quickly form rough hypotheses about the meaning of a new word after a single exposure by inferring that the new word is connected to an object he is seeing for the first time. That suggests to scientists that the ability to understand sounds is not necessarily related to the ability to speak, and that some aspects of speech comprehension evolved earlier than, and independent from, human speech.

Personally, I think Rico should get extra credit for learning things in German.

When you have dogs like Willow and Rico who seem to have such exceptional abilities it does make you wonder if all dogs are able to learn this way or if these are special cases.  Can your dogs and my dogs do these things?  I don’t know but perhaps we should be careful about the books we leave lying around for our dogs to find.

July 21, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Huge 50% Off Sale

July 17, 2009 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

More training and Responsible Dog Ownership Day

4Blue had his first clicker training class last night and it was very interesting!  The trainer had me start out with clicking and treating Blue for making eye contact with me.  Well, he had that down cold.  He watches me all the time.  So he was getting lots of clicks and little hot dog bits for looking at me when I said something like, “Blue, look at me!”

Next, we got to move on to trying to get him to trot again.  My significant other had gone with me to the class and he was very helpful.  I should say that he has a broken finger — from tubing down the river and trying to swing out over the river on a rope (don’t get me started) — so it was very good of him to offer to go with us.  He was moving Blue around and I was clicking when Blue actually trotted, which he did a few times.  Then Blue would get some hot dog treats.  I think Blue was starting to trot a little more by the time we finished.

I think it’s too early to say that Blue has associated the click with knowing that he’s doing something I want him to do, but he seems to be learning fast.

Pearl went with us, at the trainer’s request, but we really didn’t use her to help Blue, at least I don’t think so.  She was learning about clicking, too.  She learned about keeping her eyes on me and getting treats when I clicked.  She got some extra attention from the trainer when we were working with Blue.  I still don’t know how she’s supposed to help Blue learn to trot.

So, that’s where we are with our training.  I’ll keep you posted.  We have another class tonight.

In other doggy news, the AKC has announced that they’re getting ready for another Responsible Dog Ownership Day.  This is a great annual event — actually it’s a month-long celebration of dog ownership that goes on across the country.  Here’s what they have to say:


— Hundreds of Nationwide Events Listed on

New York, NY – Are you interested in learning training and grooming tips from the pros? Or considering adding a new family member? Be sure to mark “AKC® Responsible Dog Ownership Days” on your calendar. This month-long celebration includes hundreds of organizations around the country holding free events filled with fun and engaging activities for every current or future dog owner. AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day events are held throughout September and are listed on

“According to an AKC survey, 99% of dog owners have a dog because of the love and companionship they provide. Dogs have become increasingly important in our lives and the best way to return the love of your dog is to be a responsible owner,” said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days across the country are aimed at helping owners keep their canine companions happy and living harmoniously in their communities.”

Each AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day event is unique but many include obedience and agility demonstrations, meet the breeds, microchip clinics, breed rescue information, therapy dog/service dog demonstrations, health clinics, safety around dogs for kids, giveaways and other entertaining and educational activities. If you want to show your friends and family how well-mannered your dog can be, take the AKC Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Test. This 10-step test rewards well-mannered, obedient dogs – and is offered at many events.

Listings of all events can be found and searched by state at The site will be updated weekly to reflect new additions.  Over 200 local events have been entered to date, including:

·        9/12- Clearwater Kennel Club, Tampa Bay Kennel Club and Pasco Florida Kennel Club  –  AKC obedience & agility demos, parade of over 50 AKC breeds and rescue dogs, demonstrations from city police K-9 unit and 4H kids with their K-9s. AKC Canine Good Citizen® testing, canine massage, canine first aid and CPR, Paws for Patriots, guide dog and therapy/service dog instructors, and 40 vendors.

·        9/13-Tropical Toy Dog Fanciers of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI  –  Conformation handling class: learn how to show your dog! Meet the Breeds with some of AKC’s 161 dog breeds available with breed experts. AKC Canine Good Citizen® testing.

·        9/19-Rapid City Kennel Club, Rapid City, South Dakota  –  Demonstrations of agility, earthdog, obedience, rally, flyball, basic training and more. AKC-sanctioned B-OB match. AKC Canine Good Citizen® testing, microchip clinic, youth coloring contest, dog parade, and other fun games. Educational information regarding dog laws, grooming, health and nutrition, obedience class signup, pet first aid, spay/neuter, therapy and service dogs, AKC and 4H.

·        9/26-Suffolk County Kennel Club, Oyster Bay, NY  –  AKC education tables with breeder referral, canine health issues, getting started in AKC events junior showmanship and safety around dogs information. Learn how to find a responsible breeder and talk to experienced owners and trainers. All-breed dog show will be held with rally and obedience trials held by Suffolk Obedience Training Club. Food and vendors with dog-related products will also be available.

AKC will celebrate its own AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day in Raleigh, N.C. on Saturday, September 26. The event will feature many AKC-recognized breeds, agility and obedience demonstrations, AKC CGC® testing, and low-cost microchipping.

AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days are nationally sponsored by Invisible Fence® Brand, whose behavior-based containment system has successfully kept over 2 million dogs safely contained in both outdoor and indoor environments. Invisible Fence Brand will be highlighting their commitment to responsible dog ownership this September by working with event-hosting organizations across the country to provide resources and information for pet owners. Learn more about our sponsor at

Organizations interested in hosting an AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day event should contact the AKC at or visit .

July 17, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , | Leave a comment