Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Walking smart in darkness

It's that time of the year when the mornings are dark as are the evenings. Our neighborhood has very few street lights and no sidewalks so we are very aware of poor visibility and sharing the road.
Since I am a natural geek I take precautions to attempt to be visible.
I wear a high visibility vest with reflective stripes. I have reflective bands around my ankles and I try to wear light colored clothing.
Bugsy being dark would be impossible to see for drivers so he has a reflective collar, a white mesh vest with reflective stripes and a red light that attaches to his collar.
I am still very aware that we are likely to be barely visible until the vehicle gets fairly close.

Please no matter what color fur your dog has take some precautions - safety before fashion.
There are many reflective collars available, the light I have is by RuffWear but others abound and get an inexpensive safety vest for yourself. I've seen the latter at Walmart, farm supply stores, and various other places.

I was reminded once again of how poor the visibility is when I drove home last night about 9pm and I didn't see a man walking two labs until I was nearly on them.

I love my cool dark walks but I do all that I can to make them safe - you should too!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Halloween and Dogs - play it safe

A few safety tips copied from an Honest Kitchen email:
Halloween Safety

As you prepare for Halloween this year, keep these safety tips in mind to help keep your animal companion out of harm's way.

1. Guard the Halloween candy — chocolate and certain sweeteners such as Xylitol can be fatal for pets so be sure to keep your Trick-or-Treat stash stored safely and out of reach. Remember that empty plastic and aluminum wrappers can be just as dangerous as the candies themselves.
2. If your pet does consume a large amount of chocolate or candy, make a call to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for guidance. If in doubt, take your pup or kitty to the vet in case medical intervention is required.
3. Don't take Fido Trick-or-Treating — Many pets can be frightened by unusual sights and sounds that come along with Trick-or-Treating, so keep them at home for their own safety. Nervous pets can feel very alarmed when kids in costume try to pet them, and this could result in a fear based bit in extreme cases.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

well that was clever

Yesterday Bugsy did his normal nuisance behavior at about 3pm desperate to get my attention.
When he does this and I have the time, I grab the clicker & some Charlie Bear treats and do a few minutes of training.

I had a hide-a-gingerbread toy (its a house with three small toys that go inside the house) and his intellibone toy. The latter is a center piece with five rings that go over the center and the dog must remove the rings.

He does both of these very quickly so to make it a bit more interesting I decided to toss the small gingerbread toys around the room after he removed them and told him to 'bring it'. 'Bring it' is a term we use in various situations but not in this context prior to yesterday.

By using the clicker I got him to bring me one of the gingerbread toys, for this he got a charlie bear treat. Then something amazing happened - amazing to me anyway - he collected the two remaining toys and brought them to me - not one at a time. For this he got a higher value treat (Zuke's)

We then moved on to the intellibone. First I had him remove the rings for which he received a treat, then I tossed the five rings around the room and told him to 'bring it'.

He brought me the first ring - earned a charlie bear
Then he brought me THREE rings! - earned a few charlie bear treats
Then he brought me the last ring and the center piece to earn the Zuke's treat.

I don't know enough about dogs to know if this is unusual behavior but it sure impressed me.

I did the intellibone with him a few more times and each time he at times brought a single ring and others brought 2-3 rings.

I admit I thought this was way cool

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Even Bugsy has some quiet moments

Most of the time I describe Bugsy (accurately) as insane. Anyone that meets him would say the same.
But my boy has a sweet side of him that he reserves for me and sometimes my husband.
Earlier this evening he huddled up close to me and nuzzled his head in my neck and worked himself under my arm. So gentle, so CALM and peaceful.
Wonderful moments.
He has an amazing scent about him - not very doggy, not of shampoo, just his scent. I can't really say what it smells like but it is a nice smell. A very nice smell. A smell you can only detect when he's up close.

I cherish these quiet still moments all the more because of his inability to be touched as a puppy. He was over a year old before I could pet him without him getting up and trying to initiate a game or mouthing me. It took even longer before he would lay still for my husband. Sometimes he even lets a friend snuggle him must to the surprise of all witnesses.

Thanks for the quiet sweet moments Bugsy I hope that we can enjoy them for a long time to come.