Wednesday, December 31, 2014

No Resolutions!

It's New Years Eve. This is the time of year when people make resolutions in hopes of being a better person in the following year. I do it every year, and I fail miserably. It's not that I want to, it's just that life gets in the way and all my good intentions are pushed aside. You're welcome to check out my delusions of grandeur for 2013 and 2014, but let me give you the Reader's Digest version: weigh less, save more and be more consistent with dog training. And yet here I sit -- again -- overweight, broke, with a pair of dogs that still can't walk nicely on a leash. *sigh* So this year I'm ditching the resolutions. Instead, I'm taking a page from some of my favorite bloggers and recapping the most popular Kelley's Dog Blog posts of 2014. Did you see any of these?

  • Apparently people are amused by my crazy job because It's True! and Freaks on the Beach were shared a lot. Luckily there is a never ending supply of weird work stories. In fact, just last week I found a note on my office door that said "Pig tied to a trailer, 900 block of Flower Street." Of course there wasn't and address, nor was there a pig when I drove down the street. I knocked on several doors before I found Kuzma.

  • My most popular posts, however, are of Jedi and Roxy having fun. Jedi Plays Spin the Bottle had the most views and shares this year. A friend of mine actually built the toy from a video I found on Facebook. 

Beat the Heat Fun wasn't far behind in popularity. This post came about on a hot Florida day when I said to Hubby "Hey, let's fill the dogs' pool with ice and see what happens." I still laugh when I look at the pictures.

  • And much to Jedi's dismay, others like seeing him dressed up in funny hats as much as I do, so there will probably be more like A Special Greeting From Jedi in 2015.

  • Probably my most heartfelt post this year was 25 Years, 47 Dead, and 1 Personal Miracle where I shared how one random decision spared my family from the tragedy of the USS Iowa explosion. Thanks to everybody who forwarded that post. I hope that somehow it reaches the Ziegler family. God bless them, wherever they are. 


So, that was 2014. Thanks for sharing it with me. I hope you'll stick around because I plan on having even more fun in 2015, and I'd love to have you join me. See you next year! -- K

Monday, December 29, 2014

Awww....Made Me Cry!

Do you want to make an animal control officer cry like a baby? Send an email like this:
Hi Kelley,

In 2007 I adopted a poodle-mix from your shelter. You had listed him on Petfinder under the name Kelso. I didn't get to meet you when I picked him up, but you kindly spoke with me about the dog on the phone in advance.

You might remember because I was "crazy" enough to drive 4 hours from Jupiter to come get him. He is THE BEST dog ever!!! You definitely make a difference. I have wanted to thank you ever since.

With much gratitude,
[name withheld]
This came to the email address attached to my blog (not my official work email) the day after Christmas. I tear up every time I read it. And look, she sent a picture too!

His new name is Jackson. Look how cute he turned out to be!

It's kind of sad funny, because I'm always ready to deal with nasty people. They may piss me off but I never cry. In fact, sometimes I find going toe to toe with those kind of people a bit exhilarating. Stupid people don't make me cry either. They may be frustrating, but I tell myself that "You can't fix stupid" and move on. But things like this always throw me for a loop. Kind people make me cry every time. What is wrong with me?! Despite the tears, this was a wonderful Christmas present and I wanted to share it.

OK, enough of me! It's Monday, so start your week with a smile. Click around to see things that'll make you say "awww." -- K

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Playing Catch-Up

Playing Ketchup!
(Stop groaning, you know how I feel about puns.)
Wow. It's been nearly two weeks since my last post. With all the holiday hoopla I haven't had time to write. I promise a real post soon, but here are a few highlights of what we've been doing:

I've been going contest crazy! Jodi over at Kol's Notes is hosting the Advent Calendar for Dog Lovers again this year. It's 24 days with 24 great giveaways. It's always fun to see the great stuff she's found. I especially like the Safe Snacking Dog Bowl, Dog T-shirts (the GSD one is gorgeous), the customized leather Ruha Collars and the puzzle toys this year. These contests close on January 1st, so go now if you want to take a chance on some fun stuff.

I've discovered a bunch of new blogs through the Pet Blogger's Gift Exchange. Pet bloggers were randomly paired up “to share compliments, encouragement, and linky love with each other” through their blogs. I was introduced to Let's Go Dog. I read it from back to front and thoroughly enjoyed it. Seriously, check it out! And I'm not just saying that because Leah said some beautiful things about us here. (Don't tell her it made me cry, OK?) A big thanks to Pamela at Something Wagging This Way Comes for hosting such a great hop.

Jedi's mother, Zasha, had another litter on December 1st. Breeder has been very generous in letting me "help out." Truth is, if I have a choice between blogging and feeding, socializing and playing with ten adorable German shepherd puppies, I'll choose this:

Jedi and I completed our Leash Manners class. He still pulls. It was helpful having an objective, knowledgeable person tell me what we're doing wrong. Apparently we're doing a lot wrong. Fortunately, the instructor had a lot of helpful tips on how to do things right. The biggest problem, however, is that we just don't get out and practice enough. (That seems to be a running theme in my life.) I hope to walk more after the first of the year. That would make both Jedi and my doctor very happy.

And finally, I've been reading! I finished Rescue Me, Maybe. I enjoyed it. It starts off pretty sad but gets better. Currently I'm in the middle of three other books -- I seldom read one at a time -- and look forward to sharing them with you later.

So, that's the condensed version of the last couple weeks. I'll have more soon. Hopefully it won't be so helter-skelter. But no promises, because it is me we're talking about and . . . well . . . -- K

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Zack and Zoe

Several days ago I shared Let's Go Dog, the blog I was so lucky to get in the Pet Blogger's Gift Exchange. Today on this (almost) Wordless Wednesday I'd like to show you some of the beautiful photos you'll find on the blog.

Handsome Zack at Hurricane Ridge

Zack is ready for his next adventure

Gorgeous Zoe explores Lake Crescent's East Beach

Zoe at Sequim Bay State Park

Want to see more gorgeous pictures of Zack, Zoe and the Olympic Northwest? Grab a cup of coffee and head on over to Let's Go Dog.

This is a blog hop! Click on the icons below to see what others are sharing today. -- K

Monday, December 15, 2014

Santa Photo, Take Two

Last week I told you about our less-than-ideal trip to see Santa. I'm sure the dogs earned a spot on the naughty list for their behavior. Luckily for Jedi, he had a chance to redeem himself yesterday. We went to Yappy Hour at the Jacksonville Landing and had a great time. There was a live band, give-aways, local vendors, several rescue groups and LOTS of dogs. The weather was perfect and the restaurants along the river were all dog friendly. To top it all off, we finally got a decent picture. Look:

Jedi was still leery of Santa, so I had to get in the picture. Other than that, his behavior was everything I could ask for. I think Jedi got himself off the naughty list!

Start your week with a smile. Click around and see other things that make you say "awww." -- K

Friday, December 12, 2014

Let's Go Dog!

It’s Christmas time and everybody is out looking for that “perfect gift.” Want to know what a blogger wants more than anything? Readers! We sit in front of our monitors and pour our hearts out in hopes that someone – anyone – will notice. A comment or two can make our entire day. Pamela over at Something Wagging This Way Comes (one of my favorite pet blogs) came up with a great idea: The Pet Blogger’s Gift Exchange. Pet bloggers were randomly paired up “to share compliments, encouragement, and linky love with each other” through their blogs. This year I was given Let's Go Dog and I'm not ashamed to say I'm loving the hell out of this blog! Leah is a Worst-Case-Scenario, Worry Wart, borderline Control Freak (hey, it takes one to know one!) who wants to travel more with her beautiful dogs, Zack and Zoe. Instead of being paralyzed by fear, she asks "What's the worst that can happen?" and goes from there by:
  1. Identifying the problem
  2. Planning a course of action
  3. Preparing and/or practicing
Leah shares the process and what she learns along the way. I can't tell you how exciting this is for a Worst-Case-Scenario, Worry Wart, borderline Control Freak like me.

Zoe on the left, Zack on the right
This is a new blog and I had never seen it before. The first post was published only eight months ago, but I wouldn't have guessed that. The clean, clear, properly punctuated and grammatically correct posts (Grammar Nazis notice these things!) scream experienced, professional blogger. Let's Go Dog is well laid out and very informative. It's free of the page clutter seen on the blogs of so many newbie bloggers. Each topic is well thought out with links to even more wonderful information for info junkies like me. I strongly urge you to grab a cup of coffee, give the dogs a Kong and plan to get lost in the Let's Go Dog blog. May I suggest:

First, take a moment to read the About Us page. Leah shares a little about herself before telling Zack and Zoe's adoption stories. Zack's puppy pictures will melt your heart.

Carabiner for Dog Safety. This post had me screaming "OMG, why didn't I think of that?!" I take the dogs to Sonic regularly. The routine has always been grab collar with one hand and unhook leash with other. Using one hand, wrap leash around the table leg, thread the hook through the leash handle and rehook to the collar. Leah uses a carabiner and her dog is secured in half a second and is never unhooked from the leash. I feel like such an idiot.

DIY Dog Bottle Game -- Travel Version. Again, simple but genius! Complete with step by step instructions.

Hiking With Dogs and Snakes Part 1 and Part 2. I like to hike with my dog too, but am afraid we'll run into a snake. What if Jedi gets bit? What if I get bit? We've got all kinds of mean, creepy snakes here in Florida. Leah breaks it down, including links to fascinating videos and additional articles. Snakes are still creepy, but not so scary anymore.

Packing Lists Make Dog Trips Happen. I, too, am a list maker (I have an app for that!) and found myself agreeing with this entire post. For added fun, check out Leah's Dog Travel Checklists on Pinterest.

Leah also shares her experiences with canine medical issues including Zack's hip dysplasia and Zoe's epilepsy. Like all Leah's posts, these are full of information and ultimately take the scariness out the subject.

I am so thankful that the Pet Blogger's Gift Exchange introduced me to this blog. What a gift that was for me! I hope you take the time to see what I mean. You won't be disappointed. Promise. -- K

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Find the Odor Recap

What does this nose know?
We finished our last Find the Odor class on Monday. I can't believe it's already been six weeks. We've learned a lot, and made some great progress, but we are still months (and months!) away from even considering competing. But we're having a blast along the way. Jedi really enjoys it, and starts whining in the car 10 minutes before we get to the training site. Unfortunately he gets so excited that he works himself into a frenzy. Right now I'm trying to teach him to slow down and check everything (he ALWAYS misses the first box). I'm also learning that there's a lot to be done on my end of the leash. Things like:

  • Dog and handler are a team. Jedi is the nose, I'm the brains.
  • My job is maximize Jedi's ability, so I should do everything possible to set him up for success.
  • I need to teach Jedi that odor can be anywhere, therefore he needs to check all possibilities.
  • Let Jedi “lead the dance.”
  • Keep Jedi on task -- no peeing on the field! (It's an automatic DQ.)
  • Never ever show Jedi where the odor is. Instead, let him work it out for himself.
  • Reward enthusiastically, and always at the "find."
  • Stay engaged with Jedi after he has found the odor.
  • Continue to pet/praise/play with the dog while exiting the search area.

Air Currents:
  • Wind is important. Check the direction and make it work in Jedi's favor.
  • When searching outside, start as far downwind as possible, then zigzag back and forth at right-angles into the wind, looking for signs that Jedi has hit the scent cone.
  • Be aware of objects that can block, channel or redirect odor.
  • Things like air conditioners, windows, doors, sun beating down on one wall can all cause air currents. The hide may not be where the dog first catches the odor.

Search Strategies:
  • Speed is our enemy. Teach Jedi to slow down and check each container rather than blasting past the first one.
  • Give Jedi 10 seconds at the start line to focus and possibly pick up the odor before crossing the threshold.
  • If Jedi does not pick up the scent right away then start off in a methodical pattern.
  • Keep track of where Jedi has searched and where he has missed (this is easier with a methodical search pattern).
  • Make sure Jedi searches high and low, gets into corners and checks the very edges of an exterior search area.
  • In a trial, the odor won’t always be in or near an object. It could be stuck in the ground, so we must remember to search bare areas.
  • The odor can also be up to about 4 feet off the ground, so search high.
  • Exterior searches are usually best done on a long line so I don’t interfere with Jedi's search. Plus, he can cover more ground without me slowing him down.
  • In a large room Jedi may have a better chance of catching the odor and following it to source if allowed to search off-leash.
  • In a small room, a very fast dog may swirl the odor so much he can’t pinpoint the source, so Jedi may do better on a shorter leash because I can help him slow down and ensure he checks everything.

The number one rule from our instructor:


I know, duh. But it's harder than it sounds. You really have to be in tune with you dog and be able to read his clues despite the adrenaline (yours and his).

By the way, we've already signed up for the next class. Class doesn't start until January, so we're practicing at home in the interim. Seriously, we're having tremendous fun with this!

Jedi and I are joining Ruckus the Eskie and friends on this Thoughtless Thursday hoping you'll think about doing some Nose Work with your dog. -- K

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dear Santa

Hubby and I took the dogs to see Santa last week at the Ed Austin Dog Park Fundraiser. This is the very best picture we could get. Sorry. The dogs were overwhelmed. Roxy couldn't stay still and Jedi has to pee on everything. The hay tickled Jedi's butt and Santa's beard freaked Roxy out. Hubby and I had to get in the picture just to hold everybody still. Somebody was always looking the other way. My hair looked like crap and nobody said a word! Hubby really wanted to be somewhere else. The poor photographer took 50 pictures. Santa was a real trooper and smiled the entire time.

It's Wordless Wednesday! Click around and see what others are sharing today. -- K

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dog Walking 101

Wow. It's been a week since my last post. Things have been busy with me and Jedi. I'll try to bring you up to speed over the next few days.

First of all, Jedi and I signed up for another class: Leash Manners. This is a three week class that specifically addresses "issues with leash walking such as pulling and jumping, along with instruction on proper walking techniques." YES! We've got Sit, Down, Stay and pretty much everything else covered in a basic obedience class, but Heel kicks our butt!

Or first class was on Saturday. Jedi was very relaxed around the other dogs, totally ignoring anyone else's bad behavior. At one point Jedi was lying at my feet while the instructor was talking. When a lab ran up and barked at him, Jedi gave the lab a "Dude, what's your problem?" look without even getting up. (I can't tell you what a huge relief that was!) The lab owner pulled his dog away and Jedi looked up at me quizzically. I swear if he could talk he would said "Did you see that? How rude." BTW, Jedi was praised profusely for his good behavior.

But then we actually got up and started walking. UGH. Jedi likes to either pull -- HARD -- or put on the brakes to sniff something, totally ignoring me in the process. At one point the instructor took Jedi and walked him beautifully across the field. When she returned him she asked "You hate me right now, don't you?" No, but I was a little pissed at the dog!

So here's what we learned on week one:
  • Jedi is very tuned in to me, and has therefore has learned exactly what he can get away with
  • We both have bad habits that need to be changed
  • I need to just walk (head up, arm relaxed) and expect Jedi to follow along
  • I need to give clear, quick corrections versus a long, hard tug
  • I need to change things up (sudden turns, out of the blue sits) so Jedi has to keep guessing and pay attention to me
  • I need to talk to Jedi more, telling him what's going on
I really wish we had figured this out 50 pounds ago. Mind you, I'm not looking for a perfect heel right now. I just want a comfortable, loose-leash walk with Jedi at my side. I was spoiled with Logan. He was a dream on the leash. Obviously his previous owner was a better dog trainer than me.

How about you? Have you and your dog figured out the loose leash thing? Any tips? -- K

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jedi's Vintage Hoodie

When a girl who named her dog Jedi Mind Trick finds a XXXL dog hoodie with the exact same photo as her favorite T-shirt from 35(ish) years ago, you know she's going to buy it. Right? Well, Jedi wasn't as thrilled about it as I was, but here you go:

I didn't look nearly as cute in it as he does, by the way. I wore the shirt to death in the 70's. I can't believe I don't have a picture of it.

And is anybody else excited about the Star Wars VII - The Force Awakens teaser? Haven't seen it?

I'm stoked! But the movie doesn't come out until December 2015. It's going to be a looong year. -- K
P.S. It's Wordless Wednesday! (And, as usual, I failed on the whole "wordless" part . . . ) Hop around below and see who does it better.

Monday, December 1, 2014


I know this is Kelley's DOG Blog, but between you and me, I really like geese. There's a gaggle that hangs out next to the dog park. I'm required to patrol the dog park daily, and often find myself taking a gander at a goose along the way.
Start your week with a smile. Click around and see other things that make you say "awww." -- K