Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions For Me & The Dogs

This is NOT my dog. My dogs would never go for this!!
It’s New Year’s Eve!

I’d like to take a few minutes to reflect on the past year.
What went well?

·       I was the show steward for our Club shows in Orlando last January. I didn’t mess it up and I learned a lot!
·         We had new members join the German Shepherd Dog Club including Breeder, her husband and sister -- all of whom I absolutely adore.
·         I started blogging!! Regular followers or not, this has been an incredible way to focus my thoughts and document the doggie part of my life.
·         After 9 months of flying solo at work, I finally got a new partner.
·         I’ve read a lot of good dog-related books (and several not-so-good ones too). Thanks!
·         Roxy and I participated in Dogtoberfest. We had fun and helped raise money for homeless animals.
·         Jedi!
What wasn't so good?
·         I’m still fat. Diet and exercise are tough and my willpower is weak.
·         We lost Logan. My heart still aches over it.
·         My organizational skills are about as good as my diet and exercise skills.
·         I suck at puppy-proofing.
·         Apparently I'm not that great at housebreaking either.
So now it’s time to make those New Year’s Resolutions. Every year I half-heartedly say “I want to lose weight, save money, and declutter the house.” I'll do really well until Valentine’s Day, and then completely peter out by Easter. (In my defense, I did save for two years to get Jedi, so I’m not a total screw-up!) I’ve been told that my goal setting isn’t S.M.A.R.T. enough (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound), so let’s try again. I’m going to make the same three personal goals this year, trying to be more specific.
My goals for 2013:
1.      I will lose 35 pounds over the next 12 months. (It’s not nearly all I need to lose, but I need to start somewhere. Besides, the goal needs to be realistic and attainable, remember? Three pounds a month sounds doable.)
2.      I will save $500 -- to use on something frivolous next December. (That’s roughly $10/week. If I cut back on buying lunch during the week I might be able to fulfill #1 and #2 simultaneously!)
3.      I will reorganize the computer room and dining room, having both usable and presentable by my birthday. (This is harder than it sounds. Remember, I don’t live alone.)
 This year I would also like to add some dog-specific goals as well.
My goals for Roxy & Jedi in 2013:
1.      Jedi (and possibly Roxy) will earn Canine Good Citizen by Christmas 2013.
2.      Jedi and I will enter an AKC Conformation show. (P.S. This one scares me to death.)
3.      I will teach Jedi one silly trick or a game each month for the next year. (Why? Because it’s fun!)
4.      I will take Roxy for a car ride three times a week – even if we’re not going anywhere – just because she loves it so much.
I'm posting these goals publicly, hoping that it will make me accountable and keep me on track. I'll share my progress here and on Facebook. I'm also giving you, my faithful reader(s?) permission to gently nag. Suggestions on how to do all this are also welcome!
OK, enough reflecting and planning. I’m off to ring in the New Year with friends and family. Unfortunately, the dogs are staying home. See you in 2013. -- K

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Training Updates

According to all I've read, our socialization window is quickly closing. Soon Jedi will no longer accept things so freely. I'm trying to introduce him to as many different people and situations as possible before the "fear phase" kicks in. Today we broke out the ramp. We originally got it when Pepper became too old (and fat) to jump in and out of the SUV. Logan was also starting to slow down, so we thought a ramp would make everything better. WRONG. At first Pepper and Logan refused to attempt it. And even with super yummy treats it was more trouble than it was worth. Roxy was only 2 at the time. When she saw there were treats involved, she ran up and down the ramp with enthusiasm. She was also the only one who could easily jump into the SUV! We tried a few more times but eventually just stowed the ramp in the garage, relogated to lifting the dogs in and out of the vehicle. We've held on to the ramp for years. (It was expensive!) Hubby found it the other day and suggested we show it to the puppy. Jedi wasn't too sure about it, but when I pulled out some leftover turkey he gave it a try. He is really food motivated. I wonder, is this a puppy thing he'll grow out of, or will he always have a strong food drive? I learned with Pepper that a strong food drive makes training easier, but everything else a little harder. We couldn't leave anything out with Pepper around. She dug in the trash, chewed out pockets, emptied purses, raided Easter baskets and ripped opened Christmas presents without hesitation whenever she thought there was something edible inside.
Speaking of food, I've started making Jedi work for his midday meals. He wasn't eating much at noon anyway, so I thought we'd make it fun -- or at least funny! His dry food is put inside a Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble (I know, dumb name). It's an egg-shaped ball about the size of a small cantaloupe. There are holes at the top and bottom and Jedi must roll the ball around to get his lunch. I also pack Kongs with kibble and cream cheese and freeze them for an entertaining snack. I tried using peanut butter in the Kongs but Jedi didn't like it. I told him that dogs are suppose to love peanut butter; he didn't believe me.

Jedi and I had our first Puppy Kindergarten class together Friday night. His brother and sister were there, both just as lanky as Jedi. There were a dozen beautiful puppies there, including a 5 month old leonberger who was already the size of Roxy! We worked on attention exercises and collar grabs and loose leash walking. Jedi did great. Now if only he can explain it to Roxy . . . -- K

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ears and Legs

Jedi is growing daily. We took him to the vet for his 12-week check-up. He's already 28 pounds. He has put on 10 pounds in 4 weeks! Right now he's a jumble of legs and ears. The right ear stands up more often than not these days, so I finally got a picture. How cute is this?! -- K

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jedi's First Christmas

The German shepherd ornament looks like Logan
We made it through Christmas without any major incidents. I'm impressed. Jedi didn't try to climb on or pull down the tree like I had feared. whew. This year we put up the 4-foot Christmas tree (I have three trees -- don't ask) and barricaded it with an old shelf to protect the electrical cords. We also left the fragile and most precious ornaments in the storage box this year, just in case.

I've been collecting Christmas ornaments for over 30 years and each one has a story. It can take hours to decorate the tree because we reminisce about each ornament as it's unwrapped. Yeah, it's a corny tradition, but the boys and I love it. This year Son #2's girlfriend gave me an ornament in honor of Jedi joining our family. (See, she gets it. That's why I adore her.) The ornament is a snowflake, but when you look closely you see it's made of Yoda heads! I thought it was so interesting -- and thoughtful -- that I had to share.

Jedi is VERY food motivated.
The dogs got presents this year too -- mostly from other people, so I guess my goofy dog sickness is contagious! There were several squeaky toys and tugging ropes under the tree. My cousin sent a couple of really cool leashes in Star Wars and Batman themes (are we that transparent?! Yes -- but we're fun!) I worked Christmas day and was bored stiff. I guess the rest of the City had better things to do than let dogs run amok. The only store open Christmas day was Walgreen's. I popped in to get a Coke and look around. They had a dog puzzle toy on sale for $4.99. It's a round wooden box with a lip. Under the lip are flat, sliding wooden disks that cover holes in the box where you hide treats. The dog is suppose to figure out how to move the disks to uncover the treats. I've seen similar toys online for $30-40. The verdict on this one: It was too easy. Jedi and Roxy figured it out right away. The treats were gone in 30 seconds and then they were no longer interested in the toy. Another waste of money. sigh. At least it's not a creepy Sponge Bob balloon. That thing floated around for days before somebody finally popped it! Bummer toy aside, it was a good day. I hope you  -- and your dogs -- had a Merry Christmas as well. -- K

P.S. Holiday festivities can wear a dog out and I have pictures to prove it!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Puppyhood Goes Fast

It’s been a while since my last post and many things have happened. For one, my pupturnity leave is over and I had to return to work last week. I miss my puppy something fierce during the day. Occasionally Hubby sends me updates, and that helps. Fortunately we have a busy household and there is usually somebody home with the dogs, even if it's not me. Jedi has never been in the crate for more than 2-3 hours at a time. I was worried Sunday because everybody was working and there was nobody at home. Luckily Jedi was able to spend half a day at work with me. He charmed the police officers with tricks and good behavior (he saved the “Devil Dog” routine for home -– good boy!) He also got to patrol the beach with me in the animal control truck. He was not impressed and promptly threw up.
Gucci -- NOT puppy friendly
Jedi is growing quickly. I would bet he's pushing 30 pounds. I’ll get an official weight from the vet this week at his 12 week check-up. He can now reach Roxy’s raised water bowl and jumps on the couch with no effort. (Yes, we let dogs on the couch). Jedi’s face and legs are noticeably longer, making him look gangly and disproportional. His fluffy puppy coat is being replaced with the shiny, coarser hair of an adult German shepherd. His ears are trying to stand up, but never when I have the camera handy. It’s usually the right ear, but the other day both were up, leaning on each other like a pair of drunken club girls at closing time. And last Friday I caught him lifting his leg while peeing. Again, I didn’t have the camera. On a not so cute note, Jedi has discovered the joys of digging and raiding the bathroom trash can. He thinks that used Kleenex and panty liners are buried treasures. Jedi also met Gucci face-to-face for the first time. I don’t know exactly what happened between the two of them, but apparently that 10 pound cat kicked his ass. Jedi came running down the hall screaming like a banshee. Curiously, there wasn’t a mark on him.
Jedi's first hole
We also signed up for puppy kindergarten classes out at K9 Obedience Club. Our first meeting was the day before I returned to work. It was people-only and there was a lot of information given out over the course of three hours. It made my head spin. Our first class with dogs is this Friday and I am very excited. Jedi sister, Pinky, and brother, Dozer (orange), will be there too. It’ll be fun to see everybody again. I haven’t been as diligent with Jedi’s training as I would have liked. Hopefully this will get us back on track.
It’s Christmas Eve and I have a lot to do (I’m working today, tomorrow and Wednesday – ugh) so I’ll catch up later. Merry Christmas to you all, -- K

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Baths and Balloons

Good news: Roxy has really warmed up to Jedi and they play constantly now. Bad news: Jedi's coat had gotten a bit crusty from all the spit Roxy leaves behind during playtime. I know, eeew! I couldn't stand it anymore, so yesterday was Jedi's first bath. I filled the tub with warm water, broke out the puppy shampoo and pulled a stack fluffy towels from the linen closet. Hubby grabbed the camera. Let's just say that Jedi was not impressed with the "bath experience." He whined and wiggled and looked totally pathetic the entire time. When all was done, Jedi gave a good shake and we rubbed him down best we could. It was kind of chilly (it is December, after all) so I broke out the hair dryer. Jedi didn't like that at all! Show dogs are bathed and groomed all the time. Yikes! I hope we get better at this!

Later I saw the picture Hubby took of me and Jedi before his bath. My little puppy looks so big! Hubby says he's growing, but I don't see it. For giggles we went to the vet's office to have him weighed. 22.5 pounds! Jedi has put on four and a half pounds in two weeks. Wow. He's going to be a big boy! Anyone wanna take bets on how big he'll get?

On a different note, I try to introduce Jedi to something new every day. I've seen lots of dogs freak out over balloons so I thought I'd add balloons to the "weird stuff" list. While at Winn Dixie this afternoon I bought the most disturbing Sponge Bob Square Pants balloon I could find, freaky face and everything (see picture). I brought it home and Jedi couldn't have cared less. Hubby even batted it around Jedi's head while he was eating. No reaction whatsoever. This guy is fearless. My first thought was: what a waste of $4!! Unfortunately, now I've got this creepy yellow smile floating around my living room. -- K

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fun Dog Toy

I just found the cutest dog toy for Jedi today -- at Lowe's of all places. It's a Holiday Hide-a-Squirrel puzzle toy. It comes with a hollow, semi-rigid plush stump and three squeaky squirrels that fit inside. The dog is suppose to figure out how to get the squirrels out. OK, it's cuter than it sounds. Trust me. Apparently the manufacturer, Kyjen, makes all kinds of puzzle toys for dogs. Why haven't I heard of them before? I love puzzle toys! I wonder if the dogs will like them too. I'll keep you posted. -- K

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Silly Puppy

I caught Jedi actually sleeping in this position earlier this evening. I thought it was so funny that I took a picture. Even funnier was that he had his favorite toy -- the cheap, Dollar Store stuffed hamburger -- next to him. Not 20 minutes before he was in Devil Dog mode, running around the house pouncing and chewing on everything in sight. Then, just when we couldn't take it anymore, he passed out right there on the floor. Puppies can be so exhausting!

One of the funniest things to watch is Jedi with his stuffed gator. If you set the gator upright (like in the picture) Jedi will stop in his tracks, run across the room and attack the gator with extreme prejudice. He'll grab the gator's snout and give it a good shaking, growling the entire time. I guess my puppy is a Gator Hater too. What a good boy. Go 'Noles!! -- K

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Puppy's Progress

It's been a while since my last post. Sorry. My excuse: the dogs!! Jedi takes up most of my time. He has graciously pointed out all of our puppy-proofing shortcomings. (There are many.) He also lets us know when the carpet needs vacuuming and the trash needs to be emptied. He is so considerate! My office IS NOT puppy friendly, so I only check e-mail when he is sleeping. I should be sleeping when he's sleeping -- as he still doesn't sleep through the night -- but I am a Facebook and Pogo junkie. I need to log on regularly to get my fix.

Roxy gets along with Jedi most of the time. It's really cute to watch them play. However, Roxy tends to be territorial in the house and has been more aggressive than I would like, so we don't allow them together unsupervised. She bit Jedi pretty hard the other day. In just a few months he'll be bigger and stronger than she is. I wonder if that'll change her attitude.

We went to Howell Park today and my friend took some really nice pictures of the dogs. I especially like the picture above of the two of them together. Obviously my friend is much better at doggie photography than I am.

Jedi's training is coming along nicely. He knows his name and sits very well. We're working on "down" and "stand." He's also picking up "outside" and "house" from our frequent potty breaks. ;Jedi hasn't pooped inside since we brought him home 10 days ago. Peeing is a bit more difficult. He tries to tell us he needs to go, but there seems to only be 5-10 seconds between the whine and the squat. We're getting better at predicting his needs, and hope that his bladder control will catch up soon. Until then, we are stocking up on Nature's Miracle and paper towels.

We're taking short car rides daily to get Jedi acclimated to the car. Our family travels around town a lot, and I want him to think the car is no big deal. We're also trying to expose him to other strange things -- different people, umbrellas, skateboards, uneven surfaces, the sound of traffic, etc. -- during this short socialization window. So far he's taken everything in stride. The only thing that has really startled him was a Coke can on the floor. He barked at it and stalked it for several minutes. Once he realized the can wasn't a threat he pounced on it and showed it who was boss. Puppies are more entertaining than cable television!

Oh, I think Jedi is waking up!! Gotta go. -- K

P.S. I want to share a fun picture Hubby took of Jedi and Master Yoda (our only Christmas decoration this year). Yeah, I think we're a little nutty -- fun, but nutty.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Just say "AWWW"

Taking pictures of a wiggly puppy is HARD. I've probably taken a hundred in the past two days. Unfortunately 97 of them are horrible!! However, I was able to get this one earlier and just had to share. -- K

Puppy Shower

Last week I began my 3-week vacation. I told everybody I was taking "pupturnity leave" and promised to bring the puppy by work while I was off. My friends took it one step further and threw a "puppy shower" complete with a bone shaped cake and Star Wars decorations -- seriously! I am so touched and at a loss for words (that doesn't happen often). Jedi met another dozen people and came home with an obscene amount of toys. What a day! Thankfully Hubby took pictures because who would believe it otherwise? Thanks again to all my wonderful friends. -- K

The guest of honor -- what a good boy!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jedi's First 24 Hours

Jedi is getting use to his new home
We brought Jedi home last night. He missed his brothers and sister, so it was a fitful night for us all. He and I both slept in the living room -- him in his crate, me on the couch. Neither of us slept for more than a couple hours at a time. UGH.

I'm very pleased to report that Jedi's potty training is coming along nicely. We've only had one small accident so far, and honestly that was Hubby's fault for not watching him. My smart puppy is also quickly learning that sitting nicely (the doggie version of saying please) is the way to get things around here. It's really hard to ignore him when he jumps up or tries to climb in my lap. He's so damn cute! However, it's best that he learn polite behavior now, at 18 pounds, rather than later when he's bigger. I can't imagine how big he'll be 6 months from now. Probably bigger than Roxy!

Jedi woke up early this morning in a better mood and decided to check out every toy we had. I had intended to only give him one or two at a time, but he discovered that he could climb into the basket and pull them out all by himself. I was laughing so hard watching him that I didn't have the heart stop it. Hubby found the camcorder and got some video of Jedi "killing" his toys. I'll try to post it later. I hope you'll be able to hear the ferocity he was showing to that stuffed hamburger.

We went to the vet this morning. The receptionist was tickled that the puppy was named Jedi and wanted to post his picture on their Facebook page. I couldn't help but laugh when she pulled out her R2-D2 iPhone to snap the photo. BTW, the vet said that Jedi was perfectly healthy and absolutely beautiful. But I already knew that!

Jedi DID NOT like riding in the car  -- or sitting in the vet's office -- and had no problem letting everybody know how he felt. He whined and howled the entire time. I was sure the vet tech was going to ask us to go outside because he was annoying everybody. There's a reason God makes puppies so damn cute . . .

We're trying to introduce Jedi to 100 different people in the next 30 days. Dr. Ian Dunbar stresses the importance of a puppy's early socialization with people. It's crucial that he meet men, women and children of all races, sizes and ages so that strangers won't freak him out later in life. Jedi has met almost a dozen people so far. (Thank you friends and neighbors!) Is it weird that I was excited that Jeff was wearing a hat? Probably. But I let him play with the world's cutest puppy so he didn't care.

Gotta go, nap time is over. I'll post more later. -- K

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Introducing . . .

Zente's Jedi Mind Trick

Born October 3, 2012
at 1 1/3 pounds

Joined our family November 28, 2012
at 18 pounds

Many thanks to his wonderful breeder for all the work -- and love -- she and her husband have put into this litter. Thanks to my loving husband for encouraging me to follow my life-long dream of dog showing (and not complaining too much about the $$). Thanks to my mother for always being there to hear my obsessing over minute details. And thank you to all my friends and family following this silly dog blog. Stay tuned, it's going to be fun! Love you all, -- K

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's a Boy!

I've spent two of the last three days at Breeder's house playing with puppies. (What a life, hunh?) Anyway, I have great news. Choices have been made and Mr. Blue will be joining our family on Wednesday after his 2nd set of shots. I couldn't be happier. He is the most beautiful puppy -- ever!!! Stay posted for a name and lots of pictures. Life is about to get really interesting around here. -- K

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Feeling Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving and I have many things to be thankful for including a loving family, good friends, a strong faith, decent health, full-time employment, and the many freedoms guaranteed under our Constitution. I am also thankful for the wonderful dogs that have shared my life. On this day of reflection I ask myself, was I as good to them as they were to me? Probably not. I've tried -- and I truly believe that they've all had good doggie lives -- but if I can do better, I will. I received another shipment from yesterday (I know, I need help) and this was in one of the books. I found it very thought-provoking and had to share. I copied this verbatim from The Dog Tricks and Training Workbook by Kyra Sundance. It is so well said that it deserves repeating. 
 You Owe This to Your Dog 
Our dogs play a significant role in our lives, whether as working dogs or companions. We've taken them into our household and are responsible for fulfilling their basic and higher needs. For all the joy and companionship they give us, we owe our dogs the following:
  • Adequate food and medical care
  • A life that is beyond mere survival
  • Grooming, ear and teeth cleaning, nail trimming, skin and coat conditioning
  • Exercise -- not only the option for exercise, but also the encouragement
  • Twenty minutes each day of your undivided attention
  • Three enrichment activities per day (a walk, a game of fetch, a training session, a car ride)
  • Exposure to the world beyond your backyard
  • Socialization with people and dogs outside of your family
  • The right to give and receive unconditional love
  • Training, so your dog does not become a prisoner of his own misbehavior
  • Fresh air and green grass
  • Respect for your dog's needs and wants
  • Responsible breeding, or none at all
  • Time and space all his own
  • The freedom to be foolish and silly, and to make you laugh
  • The right to earn your trust and to be trusted in return
  • Forgiveness
  • The right to die with dignity
  • The honor of being remembered well

So who wants to be a better dog owner now? Yeah, me too. I'd like to close with pictures of the dogs that I am so thankful for. -- K





Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The OTHER Puppy Pictures

So I was asked  -- several times -- why I only took three pictures of the puppies on my last visit. Truth is, I took over 20, but I only posted three. Taking pictures of puppies is hard. Those little buggers are fast and won't stay still for more than a few seconds. I got a lot of butt shots as puppies would run out of the frame. I took a picture of the wall when one of the puppies grabbed the dangling lens cap and jerked the camera up just as I pushed the button. And one of the pups actually photo bombed his brother! Thankfully everything's digital and with a little creative cropping I was able to find a few decent shots. (How did people ever do this with film?!) Just for giggles, I'll share a few of the bad pictures below -- no cropping! Hopefully I'll get better at taking puppy pictures as time goes on. I wonder if there's a book on about this . . . -- K

Photo bombed!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Waiting for Puppy

I want one soooo bad!!
 I spent another Saturday night with the puppies. TOTALLY AWESOME!! Good news: I can bring one home as early as next weekend. Bad news: Breeder's sister picks before me -- and she can't make up her mind. GRRR. I tried really hard not to fall in love with a particular puppy last night, just in case he ends up being the one that sister wants. That being said, I think I've narrowed it down to two. Now we just wait. I'm trying to be patient but what I really want to do is drive to the Southside and say "COME ON AND PICK ALREADY SIS!!" I hope to have happy news soon. I'll keep you posted. -- K


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sensitivity Test

So I finished reading A Dog's Purpose and I guess I'm not going to send Breeder a nasty e-mail. However, I think a Kleenex warning would have been nice! Or maybe a sensitivity test should have been given beforehand. For example, watch the commercial below. If it makes you cry, do not read this book -- and for God's sake stay away from Marley and Me!


Are you bawling? If so, stick to Marmaduke! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Video of Puppies

Today I got another newsletter from Breeder. The puppies are growing like weeds, all weighing between 8 and 10 pounds. They go to the vet next week to get their first shots -- then they'll be ready for visitors. I can't wait!! Until then, I'll just have to keep watching this video of the puppies' first experience with grass. TOO CUTE! -- K

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Preparing for Puppy (Humor)

I found this online on another website and thought I'd share. Maybe that wasn't such a good idea -- Hubby didn't laugh. I think it scared him a little. Hope you find it funnier than he did! -- K

How to Prepare For a Puppy

  • Pour cold apple juice on the carpet in several places and walk around barefoot in the dark.
  • Wear a sock to work that has had the toe shredded by a blender.
  • Immediately upon waking, stand outside in the dark saying, "Be a good puppy, go potty now, hurry up - come on, let's go!"
  • Cover all your best clothes with dog hair. NOTE: dark clothes must use white hair; light clothes must use dark hair.
  • Float some hair in your first cup of coffee in the morning.
  • Also put some hair in everything that you cook. Put hair in the pots and pans in your cupboards too.
  • Run out in the rain in your bare feet to close the gate.
  • Tip over a basket of clean laundry and scatter clothing all over the floor.
  • Leave your underwear on the living room floor. That's where the puppy will drag it anyway, especially when company is coming.
  • Jump out of your chair shortly before the end of your favorite TV program and run to the door shouting "No, No! Do that OUTSIDE!" Miss the end of the program.
  • Put chocolate pudding on the carpet in the morning; don't try to clean it up until you get home from work in the evening.
  • Gouge the leg of the dining room table several times with a screwdriver . . . it's going to get chewed on anyway.
  • Have a backhoe dig random giant holes in your yard, then go out in the early morning and step in a few. Try not to break anything. 

  • Take a warm and cuddly blanket out of the dryer and immediately wrap it around yourself. This is the feeling you will get when your puppy falls asleep on your lap.

-- Author Unknown

Friday, November 9, 2012

What I'm Reading Now

I'd like to preface this post by saying I don't just read dog books. I read lots of books. I like books. I enjoy murder mysteries, suspense, fiction-fantasy, sci-fi and the occasional autobiography. However, this is Kelley's Dog Blog, so we're only going to discuss dog-related books here. E-mail me if you want to discuss any non-dog books -- except romance or paranormal crap. I hate that. Anyway, I'm currently reading three different dog books and would love to discuss them with anybody who's interested! (By the way, I realize it's kind of weird to be reading several books at once. My excuses: I have a short attention span and has my credit card on file. And they keep sending me "suggested titles." And I'm weak . . . )

The first book I'm reading is One Nation Under Dog: America's Love Affair With Our Dogs. The subtitle is "Adventures in the New World of Prozac-Popping Puppies, Dog-Park Politics, and Organic Pet Food." What a mouth full! The book highlights the changes in America's attitudes towards their pets over the last few decades. It discusses everything from the $43 billion pet supply industry (yes, that was billion with a B -- I'm in the wrong business!) to the way dog-related laws are being changed around the country. The book is interesting, but I'm not sure if I'm enjoying it -- which is probably why it's taking me so long to finish it. A few months back HBO aired a documentary with the same name. I'm not sure if I liked that or not either. Truth is, sometimes animal people are weird, and I'm not entirely comfortable being one of "them." I know, TMI.

I'm also reading A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. This is a fictional story about a dog that keeps getting reincarnated in search of his true purpose. Breeder loved this book and really wanted me to read it. Currently I'm on the second incarnation and I am crying my eyes out. It's written from the dog's point of view and is very entertaining -- but definitely NOT recommended for anyone who is "a bit hormonal." I feel horrible now for yelling at Pepper all those years over her getting in the trash. And I swear, if the story doesn't get happier soon I'm going to send Breeder a nasty e-mail and a bill for the box of Kleenex!

The third book just came today from (Remember that whole "credit card on file" thing mentioned above?) I'm absolutely loving Raising a Champion: A Beginner's Guide to Showing Dogs. This book has lots of pictures -- and pictures are a good thing for visual learners like me! The book is also written in plain English for those of us who know little or nothing about "the fancy." There's even a glossary in the back to explain odd terms like "bandy-legged" and "cow-hocked." This book covers how dog shows work, how to stack and move a dog, necessary equipment, how to read a show catalog and fill out forms, how championship points are scored, and much, much more. It's a great all-around book and I look forward to absorbing it. However, I'll still need help with some breed-specific things. For example, page 19 states:
German Shepherd Dogs are posed differently from any other breed. Posing a German Shepherd isn't covered in this book.
All I can say is, thank goodness for the Internet. I found How to Stack a German Shepherd on and several videos on YouTube. I'm also hoping to find a mentor. Of course, I should probably get the puppy first . . . Think I'm a little excited? It'll be fun. Stick around and see. -- K

Thursday, November 8, 2012

From Pet Owner to Dog Show Junkie

Yes, another book review! At only 124 pages, Showing Kunga: From Pet Owner to Dog Show Junkie is short but very informative. I really enjoyed this book, probably because showing dogs has always been a dream of mine. The author, Alxe Noden, wanted a blue great Dane. Worried about puppy mills and backyard breeders, she started researching the Internet. Alxe figured that a breeder who also shows would be more concerned with a puppy's health and temperament. The author felt that by choosing one of these puppies perhaps she could avoid some of the health problems often associated with great Danes. Once she got her puppy, Alxe joined a local great Dane dog club to learn more about the breed and hang out with other dog people. Hey, that's why I joined my dog club!! Alxe starting showing her dog for fun and got hooked. The author does a nice job sharing the ups and downs of showing from a newbie's point of view. I really liked how she articulated her reasoning for using a breeder instead of a breed rescue. This reminded me of an article I read a couple months back called Responsible Dog Breeders Are Rare, But I Found One and So Can You. I really liked this article. I have noticed that in Society's push to promote the rescue and adoption of homeless animals (of which I am a BIG proponent) it seems that all deliberate dog breeders have been vilified -- regardless of their intentions. Responsible breeders have been lumped in with puppy mills. This is so sad . . . and so wrong! Another interesting article that discusses painting all breeders with the same broad brush is What I Learned at the Dog Show from Humane Watch. I stumbled upon this article when wrestling with my Puppy Pining last summer. I highly recommend both articles to everybody in the animal community.

I wish everyone could travel to the Northside and meet my breeder. They would immediately see the difference between her operation and that of a puppy mill or backyard breeder. Her puppies are not living in the small wires cage depicted in the HSUS commercials. Instead, the entire dining room has been transformed into a puppy nursery. The puppies are mentally stimulated with toys, simple mazes and various objects to climb in and on. At five weeks old they have already been introduced to the concepts of crate and potty training. Everything from daily weight gain to super dog training is monitored and recorded on color-coded charts. The puppies are loved on constantly and each ne gets at least a half-hour of individual cuddle time daily. Breeder and her husband dote on the puppies like stereotypical grandparents. They have cute little puppy stories like "We've nicknamed that one Magellan because he is always the first to explore new things." No, this is not a woman callously breeding puppies to make an easy profit. This is a woman who is carefully breeding the best German shepherd puppies possible, for health and temperament as well as beauty. Breeder put more time and thought into finding the right sire for my puppy than I did into selecting a father for my children. (Sorry boys! I'm glad it worked out.)

So I guess what I'm trying to say is:

Spay, Neuter, Adopt -- Good.
Puppy mills and indiscriminate breeding -- Bad.
Not all breeders are the same; it's wrong to imply otherwise.
* My breeder is awesome!!! *

Enough of my ranting. Let's look at more puppy pictures! -- K

Blue and Purple above, Yellow (I think) below. I love them all!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I'm in Love!

Orange is the biggest at nearly 8 lbs

Look that face!
It's after 1 AM. I have to work in the morning but I can't sleep. Why? Because I got to spend this evening with the puppies!! They licked my face and chewed on my fingers and had that new puppy smell. They are all absolutely perfect! I have no idea how I'll be able to pick one. Any suggestions? -- K
Blue and Yellow wrestling at my feet
Pinky and Blue playing with a toy. How cute is that?!