Archive for the ‘Dog Training’ Category

I really need to write an entry about managing my spoons per day, because at the moment I’m having trouble leaving myself enough to even get through until 4:00 p.m. during the school week.

I know that I need to recenter myself, refocus, and remember to simplify. I need to use the tools at my disposal.

I need to remind myself of how to do those things and what those tools are.

Before I can even write that blog… I need to take a big breath. In through the nose to the count of five, with the eyes closed. Pause. Out through the mouth until all of the air is gone. Pause. Breathe in through the nose to the count of five. Pause. Breathe out through the mouth until all of the air is gone. When you do this breathing exercise, think of nothing except the breathing. Focus and direct all efforts on your breathing. Do this five times without rushing the process. Keep your eyes closed, and don’t allow outside distractions, such as children or spouses but most especially your phone to interrupt.

This exercise takes as long as it takes. Do it twice if you need, but this exercise will force your brain, body, and anxiety to relax. Bringing in oxygen and forcing out thoughts does wonders.


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Are you a Cat Person or a Dog Person?

I get all sorts of answers with this question offline, and usually stories to go with it. Hence the poll! I’d love to see your stories along with your answers.

There doesn’t seem to be a true middle ground anywhere for a lot of people. Most people care about their answers, and people who care about the answer are SO! EMPHATIC! AND! PASSIONATE! That’s great, I love passionate. I’m passionate about my animal companions. I love them, so I should be passionate about them and I like to see that same emotion in others.

My answer is complicated. I’ve had hamsters 🐹, and I like hamsters but they’re fragile. I’ve had fish 🐟🐠🐡, but fish don’t cuddle and I always end up killing them in spite of my best efforts.

I’ve always loved cats and took the plunge nine years ago. As a child, I was somewhat allergic but my dad was Seriously Allergic. No cats in the house. I still knew I needed cats in my life. I’m most emphatically a Cat Person. I’ve always taken pride in being a Cat Person. I’ll have cats for the rest of my life. I need them. 🐱

Now that our family has a dog, and I was a willing participant in adding Leo to the family, my answer to “are you a cat person or dog person” is more complicated. I thought that having a dog would teach me that;🐶

  1. I was also a Dog Person
  2. I’d learn some innate truths about dogs that would help ease my anxiety about Other People’s Dogs
  3.  I’d learn to love all dogs equally
  4. Training would get easier as time went by

So far, nope, nope, nope, and nope.

I’m not a Dog Person. I don’t love every dog. That’s what would make me a Dog Person. I haven’t learned any innate truth about dogs except that they can assholes just as much as any cat can, except it’s kind of funny when cats are assholes. I will always have anxiety about Other People’s Dogs. I love MY dog, and dogs that I’m relatively close to who are well behaved. 😉 Training is going well, but it’s often slow going and it’s not getting easier. I know he’s essentially a toddler verging on adolescent, and he’s teething, but holy HELL that boy ate the Bible this morning. And he did it because I didn’t give him the attention he wanted when he wanted it because I needed coffee that I never did get to make.

No, as a matter of fact, Leo has NOT learned the benefits of coffee ☕ yet. He knows it smells delicious and he always tries to steal it from me, but he doesn’t understand that my coffee saves his little life every morning. He’s willful with a huge personality and a ton of intelligence, but he hasn’t figured out the coffee thing. The cats figured that out right away, almost as quickly as my children did.

I’m a Cat Person who loves her own dog. There’s no doubt I love him. He’s silly, bright, energetic, happy, healthy, but he’s becoming a teenager at 12 1/2 weeks old.

Now, I enjoy silly puppy videos as much as the next person. I enjoy seeing friends and family share their photos and stories of their dogs. I enjoy learning about my dog’s breed, and a couple of other breeds I’m interested in. I’m developing an interest in learning about the history of dog ownership and training in America. But I’m not at a point yet where I can say that I’m a Dog Person.

My cats are definitely not Dog Cats, but they’re handling him a bit better now. It’s the barking that gets to them. They like to watch him and they’re learning everything they can about him. They’re just waiting for him to grow large enough so that he can’t fit through the dog gate that has a cat door in the bottom.

Here’s the maniac… errr… Leo.

Who did this moments earlier…

Which okay, fine, it’s NAS but still. It’s a Bible. 😋



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I don’t get paid to write this blog. I’m not good enough. So take me at my word when I say, as a very hyper-critical caramel-in-coffee-but-I-love-it coffee drinker that this is THEBEST salted caramel… nay, caramel creamer for your coffee. 

I say this, admittedly, as someone who already enjoys Natural Bliss. It’s the only one besides pure organic cream that I can drink in my coffee without contributing to pain issues and migraines.

I was skeptical about the flavor before buying because so many caramel creamers leave a weird aftertaste. No worries. I’m not buying any other caramel creamer brands now.
COFFEE-MATE Natural Bliss Salted Caramel Creamer 

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LEO, 9 weeks old, we think

“Leo” Leonardo Thor

Yes. It’s true. I caved. ::sigh::

The biggest campaigner to add a dog to our family was my eldest, the Dear Girl of 15. The other two girls would pipe in occasionally, but not as excitedly. I think that they were content either way. I played along by researching which dogs would be good for families and older children. I checked local rescues occasionally to see who was available to adopt.

Then 11 days ago, I woke up that lazy Saturday morning and made my coffee. I opened up the computer to see which beaches were open as there were warnings about on the news regarding bacteria counts. As it happened I hadn’t used the computer in a couple of days, and the tabs were all open to different rescue sites. The first one was opened up to Connecticut’s Newington Humane Society. They didn’t have many dogs available but they did have a new 3-male litter of German Shepherd-mix puppies who were just that morning adoptable. The girls saw and told The Mister, and instead of going to the beach that day (which turned out rainy anyway) we went to see the puppies.

There were the three puppies, and two were already meeting with other families. While there, they were being adopted into those families. There were two female puppies, a bit older than the litter we were there to see, who were only just intakes and becoming adoptable immediately.

We were lucky. We got to meet with the third little boy in the litter I found on the site. They had named him Zeppelin. I knew already we would change his name. 😉 He was sweet, energetic, cuddly, and had a great personality. We talked about him as if we already had him in our home. That was it. We needed him.

He was, they said, eight weeks old and had just had his neutering surgery and micro-chipping surgery the day prior and would need to avoid very energetic exertions for a week or so. He was, they said, about ten pounds. TEN  POUNDS at eight weeks. He is, they said, a German Shepherd mix. He is beautiful.

I think I see some Labrador Retriever in him, particularly his coloring and shape. It’s really early to tell, though. He’s already exhibiting shepherding behavior. A Shepherd. I always said that if we rescued a dog, it wouldn’t be a German Shepherd. I had bad experiences with a neighbor’s GS when I was child. They let it run loose in the neighborhood, and he wasn’t a very nice or good dog. He was a biter, and mean. Hanzi. I hated Hanzi. I used to have to run away as fast as I could from him into the neighbor’s house or my  house. He scared the shit out of me. I hated him.

Anyway, we brought this darling puppy home knowing he’d be a handful. We named him that same day after much thought: Leonardo Thor. We call him Leo.

It’s been nearly two weeks and he’s definitely part of the family. We’re house-training him really well. We have a routine for him that he relies heavily on, and you could run a clock on him. He knows the routines. He’s learning to let us know when he needs to go outside. There’s a lot of Shepherding behavior… he likes to nip and tug on clothing to bring you where he needs you to go. That’s got to stop but it’s instinct.

We’re about to sign him up for puppy kindergarten classes. It’s required as part of the adoption contract. We’re crate training pretty successfully since obtaining the crate this past Friday. Yes, we went almost a week without a crate. The weekend was spent on getting him used to having it around. The serious crate training began Monday, and it’s working. He’s learned it’s his and it’s a nice place to rest. He needs to sleep in it. He eats in it. He sleeps next to it, near it, in the same room as it, but not IN IT.

We’re using a lot of distraction techniques and using the train of thought that all behavior is communication. It’s hard to think that way when he’s hyped up and thinks that nipping, biting, and climbing is fun play and showing love. We’re trying to use yelps and whimpers as a dog would to signal when something hurts.

He’s learned the words and meaning of:

  • Mommy
  • Daddy
  • Leo’s Crate
  • Sleep
  • Water
  • Eat
  • Treat
  • Outside
  • Home; Leo, Home
  • Heel; Leo Heel
  • No, plus the ASL sign for “no”
  • Yes, plus the ASL sign for “yes”
  • Good Dog
  • Good Leo, and the ASL sign for “good”
  • Down, Get Down
  • Sit, although we’re working on that one, he’s spotty with “sit”
  • Where Is It?
  • Leo, Come


He loves the grass. LOVES IT. Especially in the morning, when it’s cool and there’s still dew on it. He likes to stick his snout in the grass and inhale, even when he gets dirt in up his nose or ants. Sometimes he’s rewarded with a worm.

He loves cat poop way too much. On walks he actually looks for bird poop on the sidewalk. I think he looks for rocks to eat out of spite.

But those eyes. Oh, and his ears. And he loves his Mommy. He loves to play. He loves walks. He loves face kisses and meeting new friends. EVERYONE is his friend. The cats are his friends, but they’re still getting used to him. They won’t admit they like him yet. They’re at the curious stage except for the barking. It’s loud, and is presently making them nervous.

What’s funny in regard to the cats is that Leo likes to “chase” them because they run. That’s playing to him. When they’re sitting in front of him, he wants to play with them. So. Very. Badly. He lays down prostrate in front of them so that they don’t hiss, and he’s barking, play growling, and saying,

“Look! You’re the boss! But I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed you to play! I looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove you so much! Pleeeeeease!”

The barking startles them, so they hiss and get puffy, and if he gets too close he barks some more and they take back up. He then play nips and essentially, he tries to herd them into playing with him. They take off in a cloud of puffy cat tails and puffy body armor.

Clearly, Leo didn’t get the memo that you can’t herd cats. Not even the Myth Busters can herd cats. <—- Seriously.

I’m in love with this little boy, it’s true. He’s part of the family, and here to stay. He has, however, proven that I’m a cat person. Cats were far easier to housetrain. And quieter. Easier to play with. Easier all around. Easy to snuggle with. Portable. I’m slowly, slowly, slowly becoming a dog person. But that’s not entirely accurate.

I can clarify.

I’m a Leo person.

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