Long Time No See!

Wow, it’s been a year since my last entry! I hope everyone is doing well in their respective corner of the globe.

We’ve been doing well, lots of things have changed and lots of things have remained the same, but to recap, we’ll focus on health, behavior, friendship and new endeavors.

Health

Jimmy went through three major health concerns: (1) elbow of his left foreleg, (2) digestive issues, and (3) minor stroke (YIKES).

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Elbow: Jimmy started with a limp, especially when he would get up from rest. I remember it was on his Gotcha Day in February we were at the park and he ran through some construction netting, got his legs tangled and slammed his face and shoulders to the ground. His chin was bleeding and for a few seconds, he was pretty stunned. Anyhow, after this incident his limp became more and more visible. Instead of limping once in a while it became a few more days in a week until it became every day. We shortened his walks and rested. We took him to the vet but our vet could not pinpoint any obvious injury. He did not show any signs of pain during the check-up and walked normally. Then in March while playing with his friend, Sandra, he gave out a loud and painful cry. Eventually, he would give out a third cry that landed him at Blue Pearl Animal Hospital for an x-ray. The x-ray did not reveal too much and so we were sent home with Rimadyl and more rest. His body responded well to Rimadyl and rest, and for a while, it seemed like he was back to normal, but alas the limp came back and it was back to the hospital this time to see a specialist at VERG. Once again the specialist could not give us any diagnosis and he suggested two things: (1) strict rest and Rimadyl or (2) make him use his legs until he came to the office in obvious pain and limping! We opted for strict rest and Rimadyl <– more on this later. That was in May and by July he was all better. We still don’t really quite know what was wrong. It could be a number of reasons, it could be that we made him walk too much during his puppy period (long walks, running, jogging and long extended plays at the park was probably not the best idea for a young developing puppy, read here). It could also have been him tripping over the construction netting, and it could also be his play with Sandra but we can’t really pinpoint since his limping started before all of those events.

Digestive Issues: Okay so before all the limping Jimmy went to the park regularly, ran off leash regularly and got his nose in a lot of trash (including wax paper, various food, and POOP –> dog poop, cat poop, even human poop) regularly as well! Unfortunately, he started to develop a few things: vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. At first, it was here and there and then it became a regular thing. Let me tell you, his diarrhea was not the regular type of diarrhea, it was the mucus-vomit-sometimes-bloody kind of diarrhea and often times it would shoot out like the exorcist girl did with her vomit (sorry for the description!). His urine sample came back with some concerns, the vet said the number of white blood cells was high so his body was fighting an infection (I was suspecting he was developing something like IBD.) Now, some of you might go straight back to the vet and probably be put on antibiotics, etc. And that’s absolutely fine! I’m not suggesting anyone do what I did. What did I do? Because all of this also coincided with his limping his access to the park off leash was cut off, which meant less trash eating, which meant giving his digestive system a break from all the garbage. We also started him on CBD oil and colloidal silver and I have to say it has done an amazing job (I also use colloidal silver as a toner and it has been magical)! He’s no longer nauseous, his stomach does not gurgle, no more scary diarrhea. He still manages to eat garbage but his system is so much stronger than before.

Minor Stroke: So his limp went away (but he’s still on Rimadyl), his stomach issues subsided, he’s back to the park, we’ve moved to a new apartment and we bought two new Polypropylene rugs. Things were looking good, then mid-July a few days after getting adjusted to our rug we noticed something odd. He wasn’t catching treats anymore, and he was turning to his right more and more like as if he were doing a spin trick. Then a major scare he wasn’t seeing from his left side. We took him to our vet to get his vision tested, everything clear. We took him to the ophthalmologist at VERG and his eyes were healthy but the specialist feared the issue was neurological and we had better schedule an appointment with a neurologist. We were so scared! So four day straight of vet visits. We met with Dr. Crook a neurologist at Blue Pearl in Manhattan. The possible diagnosis was scary: (1) brain tumor, (2) meningitis, or (3) stroke. Luckily, it was just a minor stroke. The specialist said he should recover in 7 to 8 weeks time. It was such an alarming moment for us because he’s so young. He’s since recovered, he can now catch his treats and his left side vision and use of his left hindlegs seem to be back to normal.

Behavior

Jimmy continues to be anxious and fearful. His major problem is with Sudden Environmental Contrast or Sudden Environmental Change (SEC). He continues to do a “woof woof” or a “whooo whooo” if he sees people or inanimate objects presenting themselves in a strange manner a.k.a jaywalking, wearing frumpy clothing, walking in an unusual manner, weird looking objects, etc but these situations are sudden, hence, SEC. For example, over the summer we had a chance to take Sandra and Jimmy to the beach and while we were walking along the water we chanced upon a dead horseshoe crab. Jimmy was so alert and suspicious of the creature, barking and going back and forth, creating a dramatic scene while Sandra was confused as to what the commotion was about. She walked and stepped on the horseshoe crab as if it didn’t even exist!

Jimmy continues to be defensive with other unneutered males especially with young unneutered males and since we live in a neuter/spay culture it’s rare to find one around so when one does pop up (SEC) he is unable to cope so his leash reactivity can be explosive. However, if we are able to slow down and allow him to sniff and take in information he is able to walk past one calmly so long as the other male isn’t intensely eyeballing him the entire way or is also experiencing his own reactivity.

I find it most stressful for him if we take a new avenue or street. He goes over his threshold immediately and starts to become hyper-vigilant of his environment. For example, this morning on our walk the second we ventured onto a new path his discomfort becomes immediately visible, ears back, eyes wide, looking behind him at every sound. I try to keep the pace as slow as possible so that he is able to take in as much as possible, then a block away from a familiar street you could see he begins to ease up and as soon as we step foot on the familiar street it is as if the veil of uncertainty had lifted he became immediately comfortable; body loose, tail wagging and wiggly, and walking happily forward.

However, despite all his setbacks with his anxiety when he is at the park during off-leash hours and when he is able to get over the initial hump of uncertainty he is able to make new dog friends (so long as it’s not an unneutered male, not yet at least), and he plays and communicates very well with them and it’s so lovely too when he does.

Friendship: I love seeing Jimmy make friends and run around. We’ve had a few scuffles here and there but what is life without a few disagreements. He’s made some new and has lost a few old ones. This year we lost Nella and Brutus to unexpected health issues. However, new friends that came into our life are Luna, Norman, Leila, Daisy, and Lucy. He continues to be best friends with Sandra they frequently visit us at home and will look forward to her sleeping over tomorrow for 12 days while her mama is away. It’s going to be a riot!

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The interactions between these two have taught me so many things about the way dogs communicate during play. Sandra is definitely very rambunctious but they understand each other well, otherwise, they wouldn’t be friends, right? I mean they started with a muzzle, then no muzzle but with a lot of management, and now a lot more freedom to make choices of their own during their play sessions. There are still moments where we have to manage a little more, for example, playing at the beach is a little more arousing than playing in the house. The most important thing I’ve learned though is to trust their ability to communicate with each other. We’ve learned to see that roughhousing and a lot of growling and bitey-faces does not necessarily mean that their relationship is falling apart. Regardless, they are still young and I can’t wait to see them both grow up together.

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New Endeavors: We continue to work with Jimmy. He’s learned so many tricks and has been working hard with his anxiety and fear. For the coming new year, we look forward to introducing Grisha Stewart’s B.A.T 2.0 into our training routine. I have the very basic and foundation down, but it has been a major challenge to set up a real B.A.T setup, however, I would really like to push myself to do this with Jimmy. Has anyone out there found a training center that has been amazing at using B.A.T.? Won’t you share with us?

Another exciting endeavor is our vegan dog treat company. That’s right! We’ve teamed up with Sandra’s mom and we’ve launched our very own training treats. Our brand is Stone Pups Inc, thus far, we have two flavors on the market, Carob Things and Herbalicious Things. Carob Things is our dessert line and Herbalicious Things is our savory line. So before you wag your finger at us for pushing our own beliefs onto our dogs, Sandra and Jimmy are both raw-fed dogs so we are in no way advocating that owners should have their dogs be on the vegan diet, however, we do want to advocate for reducing the use of animal products in the treat-making industry.

KickStarter

It has been an exciting adventure, we are still in the developmental stage so lots of things going on. As of right now, we are only available for purchase in New York but would hope to raise enough money to open our online store. If you would like to be part of our growth and development please consider going to our Kickstarter page to support our adventure so that we can make available delicious training treats to your pups! So far our biggest challenge would be promoting ourselves. We’ve donated to two events recently, both events were fundraising type of events to benefit dog shelters in Brooklyn. The other promotional efforts have been sending stores our samples, but with so many different brands already out there we will have to work extra hard to make ourselves known. I feel like this business venture would require another blog of its own! It has been quite a challenge and something to definitely look forward to as 2018 comes to an end.

I hope you all out there are doing well! Send us a comment or two and share some of your stories with us. Until next time, happy tails!

 

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Who Called My Name?

Jimmy turned 22 months almost a month ago. Where did the time go? He started out as a scrawny little fella and transformed into a 65 lb manly dog–but typical of me to say, he’ll always be a puppy to me! We’ve been through a lot and we will continue to grow together and maybe there are days where I wish our training would stop but there are more days where I am grateful that we are constantly learning and pushing ourselves to experiencing new things.  8AC7C3CF-C3AC-42E8-9722-DEA460F46DC2

One of our most interesting learning experiences has been recall training. It is not as simple as calling your dog’s name; for us it has involved so many layers of bonding and relationship building with Jimmy. While he was a puppy between 5-8 months we did very little recall training. Between 8-15 months we did more long-line work and really started to go full force with recall training from 15 months onward and believe it or not continues to this day. I’m not sure when it will ever end but I can tell you that it’s very important to practice, practice, practice!!!

For some lucky dog owners recall training just comes natural to their dog. We know one such lucky pair and I hate them … said with A LOT of LOVE hahahha. Really! The handler said he did it three times with his dog and that was it no treats needed!!!! Zippo, nada!! Grrrrr…… 🙄

For other NORMAL people [rolls eyes] I’m sure many of you going through recall training are fully aware of how difficult and frustrating it can be when your pup has selective hearing. For us recall training is CRUCIAL but to be honest ALL dogs should come when called PERIOD!!

Our journey started with the regular long-line work we would take him to the baseball field after hours and practiced for at least an hour with breaks of course. Our sessions were simple, let him explore and then call him. His name was sacred and we tried to always set him up for success. When we got our first trainer for private lessons, our trainer labeled us as “boring” because our voices were monotone and compared to his environment not as rewarding to come to 😂 It was true, we were very stoic and not very dynamic. So she said we should call his name in a high pitched and exciting manner with added dramatic body gesture as well as some “woo-hoos!” So if you identify as being boring, like us, please be sure to take a few notes. There were also a few other things that were added to the recalling exercises including:

  1. Restraining: papa would hold on to Jimmy while I called for him excitedly. Jimmy would be very excited and would try to break free from his papa. Then papa would release him and he would zoom to me for lots of praises and high-value treats.
  2. Hidden toy: I would hide a squeaky toy in my coat and call for him and once he comes to me I would whip out the toy and we would have a tug session.
  3. Hide-n-seek: I would hide behind something (i.e. tree, rock, bushes, etc.) call for him and he would try to run to find me.

As we practiced this in low distraction areas (an empty field), we also brought him to high distraction areas, like around his dog friends. Everyday was recall practice but it also didn’t mean that we were outside with the long line calling his name all the time. We did other things too that I think helped us a lot with recall. Here are a few activities that we did and that we continue to do with him:

  1. Offering us eyes without our request: when he turns around to look at us we treat him. I know this is more for focus, but treating him for looking in our direction or even walking in our direction without being called is tremendously helpful! I didn’t want him to feel that coming to me meant the end of fun.
  2. Tug-o-war: I saw this great video on teaching a dog how to play tug-o-war. I bought a tug toy like this one French Linen Dog Tug Toy and watched this video Tug Playing Tips One of the coolest ways to play with your dog and a great way to teach a retrieve without all the commands.IMG_4248.JPG
  3. Ditched the food bowl: As a great way to build our relationship, we stopped bowl feeding instead he earns his meals everyday. We use his feeding time as training time and I literally become the dispenser of the ultimate high-value treat (his raw food). If you are wondering what about the mess. It is not really messy; I mean I won’t be able to touch many things around us with my raw fingers 😛 but his food is semi-frozen and I cut them into bite-size morsels to keep them neat and simple during our training sessions.
  4. Into the woods: So at our park we have this wooded area with a small trail probably takes 10 minutes from finish to end. We started taking this trail first with our biothane tracking long-line (so snagging is at a minimal). We walked through the trail and practiced recall. When he would zoom in front of me or stay way behind me to sniff something I would call him. Because of all the trees and thick bushes I was really hidden most of the time which meant it was like a game of hide-n-seek each time I called him, which meant constantly reinforcing his recall with me each time we took the trail. I also used the woods time to play “find it games” with him. It involved a lot of other things too like learning to stay, learning to retrieve, and learning to remain calm. You can watch a 7-minute glimpse of our into the woods moments here. The video doesn’t show us doing any games, but just strolling through the woods. However, you can see how he checks in with me and really just hangs out with me and coming when called looks really easy too. He also graduated from the long-line so you can see that he is totally off leash.
  5. An emergency word: His emergency word is PIZZA. He LOVES pizza! We started in our apartment (low distraction) by giving him little bits of pizza, then we said the word pizza and gave him a piece. Then we walked away to another room and called out pizza. It was really easy because he just goes nuts for pizza. It took us literally a few minutes for him to get that when he heard PIZZA he would be getting some. Watch his emergency word in action here. You can see him bolting off across the field to an on-leash dog but zooms back to me when I use the magic word. Try it!

It has been 11 months of this and I can attest that it REALLY is paying off!!! While it’s not 100% and we continue to strive for that 100% I can say it’s way better than 70%. But most importantly, I also noticed a few things that I just adore about our relationship. He comes to me on his own now while off leash. He looks for me, he checks in with me, and during play he would stop and come running to me–all without being called!!! You can watch those moments of him here and here. If you’re just starting out with recall and feel like it’s never going to happen, don’t lose heart keep at it and I promise you it is WORTH every moment!! Build that relationship with your dog and you’ll see how much it can really make both your lives a happier one and don’t let anyone get you down.

Believe us when we say, we also had our moments of ignorance. When Jimmy was young and had the happy-go-lucky attitude we felt recall was the least of our worries. Afterall, he was a happy puppy how can anyone resist him barreling towards them. I will always have the memory of him giving himself a mud bath and running here and there while we were in the background calling him and he could careless about us. Or that awful time he bolted down hill following his friends in pursuit of a squirrel, except he was side tracked and was not at all interested in the squirrel. Instead he was interested in the little Chihuahua down hill. When this Chihuahua mom saw this white pitbull dog running at full speed down the hill her natural reaction was to pick up her little dog, which of course was a natural reaction for Jimmy to jump up at them which of course caused a lot of screaming and yelling which of course was terrible for all parties!! Luckily, a few people nearby recognized Jimmy and was able to grab his leash and keep him calm while we came running down after him apologizing.

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It could have been worse but because of how scary it could have been that moment was a HUGE wake up call for us to get his recall straight!!! People can really misinterpret a large breed’s intentions particularly one with an already terrible public reputation. Unfortunately, life isn’t fair and we must do all we can to protect him and advocate for him.

Regardless, whether your dog is a cute poodle or a cute little chihuahua or even if you’re just planning to get a dog I beg of you please READ READ READ all you can about dog behavior, about what it means to be a dog owner before you get that puppy!!! And if you already have a puppy please READ READ READ about your next steps to make your puppy a happy and balanced one!!! I hope this post has really helped you get motivated to recall training. Leave a comment and share your experiences with us! Happy training and good luck!!

Name Calling

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Jimmy in the woods

A few days ago I read an article by Karen London, PhD, “Dog Behavior: Beware of Simple Names for Complex Problems,” and the article really resonated with the experiences that we go through with Jimmy and I’m sure to other dog handlers with interesting quirks. We want to guide our dog to be their best selves, but sometimes things get complicated. I really appreciated the article for pointing out that we are too quick to “put a name on a problem.” Labeling a behavior might be an “intuitively obvious approach,” but it can have us “focusing our attention on pathology and turning the dog into an example of a specific behavior problem rather than what he or she actually is: a complex individual and a unique case.”

The stars must have been aligned because I came upon this article not too far from a recent event. Just a few days ago, I stumbled upon an Instagram account, nothing special, I scrolled through the photos and one photo caught my attention because I recognized the vet’s office. I clicked the photo and the dog in the photo was being treated for a bite wound caused by another dog. It turned out that I knew the story it involved dogs I’m familiar with. I did not agree with the description of the dog that delivered the bite wound so I gave my two cents: (1) The dog was NOT a pit mix but a Catahoula mix and (2) the dog was NOT big but tiny in frame, but unfortunately, the dog DID have a set of issues.

I wrote a set of issues because calling a dog aggressive can spiral to uncontrollable name calling and labeling of dog behavior that we simply do not understand. I’m definitely not an expert and there are a host of things that I wish I could understand particularly since Jimmy came into the picture. Jimmy has been called aggressive before. The scenario may sound familiar to some readers and if you’re not familiar it goes something like this:

Do you know so-and-so? She’s really nice?! Well her dog was attacked by a white pit bull puppy.

Meanwhile, I was like, wait a minute that’s my dog! And no he didn’t attack any dog! In fact, he was being bullied and stood up for himself, but his actions were interpreted as being aggressive. Why does this happen? Maybe because he’s a pit bull type dog and their behaviors tend to be exaggerated by other people. Whatever it may be we are all guilty of it even when we mean well. It happens!

Don't Look
I’m not scary, but scared.

What issues does Jimmy have? Maybe you are wondering. He has some reactivity issues, luckily, his case is not severe, but when he does have an outburst I do get asked, “Does your dog have dog aggression?” A very legitimate question for sure, very logical, but at the same time missing a lot of backstories. Is it because he is un-neutered? Is it because he’s a pit bull type dog? Is it because he is a “dominant” dog? Is it because I did not socialize him? Is it because he went through some kind of traumatic event (a broom did fall on him when he was either 9 or 10 weeks of age)…I don’t know, it’s not that simple. But read these two articles about aggression and dominance, maybe we are getting better at understanding what is “aggressive” and “dominant” behavior in dogs? There is a lot to think about before we can simply label a dog to be anything.

I remember it must have been around January of 2017 when Jimmy was 13 months old. We were walking Jimmy at night. We passed an Akita name Cody (un-neutered) Cody was pulling towards us a bit. Jimmy was tense but under threshold, then the next block a standard Schnauzer also male and un-neutered the same scenario, but still under threshold. We crossed to get to our block, a friend was coming out from her apartment and she approached us to say hello. As we were talking to her a neighbor of ours who also has an un-neutered pitbull male named Brutus approached us. They have met before but was never fully introduced at that moment it was Jimmy’s last straw he lashed out, lunging, snarling, growling, showing teeth, and redirected his frustration at his papa. The other handler and our friend didn’t understand what was happening because up until then, Jimmy has always been so friendly and there he was clearly going berserk.

What happened? At that moment, we could only come up with one conclusion; Jimmy was on his way to becoming an aggressive dog. But what we never thought about was that he was really going into his adolescent phase of life, the awkward phase where hormones raged and the world was scarier. In fact, it was scarier! We were exposing him to dogs that growled, snapped and lunged–was that a clever idea? Could you blame Jimmy for feeling anxious and nervous in a new setting? He is now 21 months and while he continues to be a nervous dog I am helping him make good decisions by teaching him how to cope when he is stressed (a.k.a sniff around). It has been working for us we can walk pass many dogs whether friendly or unfriendly without episodes so long as I am able to set him up for success. But we couldn’t have done it without a lot of reading, but here are a few of the readings that I have found really helpful:

  1. Fight! A Practical Guide to the Treatment of Dog dog Aggression
  2. Behavior Adjustment Training 2.0: New Practical techniques For Fear, Frustration, and Aggression
  3. Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know
  4. Decoding Your Dog

There are still moments where he does go over threshold and react, but those days are slowly dwindling–I hope. We still have a long way to go, I know it takes time, but I know we are moving slower because I need to step out of my comfort zone and expose him to new things in a safe way. I just need to get over the fear of public judgment! Hah! Maybe if he didn’t look like a pit bull I would be more comfortable, but alas, I can’t hide behind these excuses forever. However, I’m proud of our progress, thus far, for a 21-month old he is rather mature sure there are moments of immaturity but he is still young 😊!

Anyhow, the article really helped put things in perspective as a handler I should first consider his personality/temperament, his history, his training, his overall physical well-being along with my own projected energy as factors that may or may not have contributed to his current way of responding to the environment around him. I will not be bullied into feeling ashamed when he feels nervous and needs to express his feelings. I will remind myself that I am his advocate, I have to help guide him so that he feels safe. I will not let the comments or stares of others deter my goals to help him become a confident dog! Like Karen London wrote,

” If people understand that dogs are barking, growling or biting because they are desperate to increase the distance between themselves and whatever scares them—other dogs, people, trash cans, bicycles—and will only stop if we can help them overcome their fears, there are less judgment and more hope. Focusing on the behavior itself— what the dog does—and discussing the motivation behind it avoids problems that can arise with simply labeling the behavior.”

I think what is also important is that handlers should consider building a better sense of community. We can’t all be trainers, behaviorists, veterinarians, experts, etc…but we can be understanding, patient, respectful and kind.

The Duke of Bay Ridge on the prowl
Here I come!

 

The Long Intro

The story of James Robert, Jimmy or Jim Bob started with our adopted Mongolian street dog named Pig. We lost her in January 2016 to canine lymphoma. I thought I was done with having a dog, but it turned out to be a quite different story. These two crawled

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into our hearts two months later. Jimmy on the left and his sister on the right. Unfortunately, she passed away a few days after this photo was taken to parvo. It was a sad event for all of us, particularly, to Jimmy as he was very attached to her. So the adventure began with the lone wolf, the Jim Bob– the Jimmy!

With the recent passing of our girl Pig to cancer, we were very keen on what a good dog diet would entail. We started Jimmy on Wellness CORE Grain-Free Puppy Formula Canned food, but his stool started to worry us. Our vet Dr. Briones at Healthy Pets in Bay Ridge, New York said Jimmy must have naturally built immunity to Parvo so we should not be too concerned, but naturally we were concerned. We ended the Wellness and started cooking his meals. We prepped meals that would last for 3-4 days and it consisted of:

  • sweet potato (boiled)
  • rice water
  • carrots (boiled)
  • cabbage (boiled)
  • chicken/pork/beef (boiled)
  • organ meats (boiled)
  • supplements

His stool returned to “normal,” and we continued this regiment along with spending a WHOLE LOT of money on Amazon!!! The amount of things we bought for him I guess were normal– like any doting parents would, but it also stemmed from a lack of experience. Looking back we found many things useful and/or a waste of money but fun–Hah!

Jimmy and his wee-wee pads
I don’t wanna!
  • Leash/Collars/Etc
    • Easy Walk Harness — caused chaffing around his armpits because of his lack of fur
    • Gentle Leader — caused chaffing around his muzzle because of his lack of fur
    • leather ring collar — this is an elegant collar and very sturdy. Jimmy is such a strong boy that I just can’t trust any other kind of collar but this.
    • Double-handle leash — Gotta Gotta have one!! Totally a great leash. I realized though that for shorter dogs (shorter than 23 inches) it’s kinda useless to have this leash.
    • LED collars — this was really cool for our night time walks! But we stopped using them because we hardly do night time walks anymore. He grew up to be quite the lazy pup!
    • 100 ft. Long-line Leash — I have to admit training recall with the longline was not entirely my favorite but it had to be done and this leash was helpful, but the handle was my least favorite.
    • Biothane long-leash — As our recall training progressed I switched to a biothane material for its sturdiness and waterproof quality. Plus it did not snag like nylon leashes would. We would train through wooded areas. He would run through the woods without getting snagged!!! It was also great to train him to do nose-work or tracking skills!
    • Soft muzzle — what was I thinking??!! He was just a puppy of course he is going to chew and teeth on things!!!
    • Kurgo harness — one of the best no-pull harness, eventually we practiced loose-leash walking and heel work and he no longer needs this harness but I still wear this on him for easy access. Sometimes he needs to be held like a piece of luggage 🙂
    • Baskerville Muzzle — all dogs should be muzzled train. Glad we found this! A little hard and needs to be modified to be comfortable can really cause chaffing and serious scratches especially for active dogs like Jimmy, but necessary to train them to be comfortable in a muzzle nonetheless!
    • Dogtra E-collar — we went through this phase where I thought Jimmy’s recall would never improve because he was un-neutered and too headstrong! I just didn’t like the fact that it left his neck with two holes too often so I stuck with patience instead. Jimmy is too stoic for this collar to be a humane way to train him. We would have gone through waayy too many sessions of him responding to the collar at a high frequency it didn’t seem right to start him that way even though the main goal is to get him to respond  at the lowest possible setting like a pager or vibrate. It would take some time to get Jimmy to that level we feared we would put his neck at risk of scarring and pain so we stopped. Now he is pretty reliable off leash while we continue to practice, practice, and practice our recall–even though we’re not quite there I still feel a lot more confident.
  • Beauty Products and Wear Essentials
    • Puppy Wipes — super helpful! Still use them currently for his ears
    • Puppy shampoo — loved this shampoo for its mildness
    • Sunblock — I think this product started our allergy phase of his life.
    • Coconut Shampoo — he started to develop allergies and we found this shampoo to be super gentle!! Now we just barely wash him with any shampoo or any product just water rinse everyday–he is a raw-fed dog and he no longer needs any kind of allergy medication! Do your research on diet if you have a dog prone to allergies.
    • Nail clipper — we thought we might need to trim his nails, but since he spends two-three hours running around every morning his nails are naturally  trimmed. But anyways we still use it to trim his dew claws. Glad we got him comfortable with being touched around his paws and nails. Trimming his dew claws are super easy-breezy!
    • Puppy jacket — he didn’t really get to wear this too much
    • Weatherbeeta coat — one of my all time favorite dog coats. It’s easy to keep clean and dry and so simple to wear for Jimmy.
  • Crate and Things
    • Dog Playpen — super helpful! We connected this to his crate during his potty training phase. He can exit/enter his crate at any time but was still in an enclosed area so we didn’t have to worry about mistakes. He was unable to go outside until 3-4 months because of his Parvo-related scare so the playpen was extra helpful in the potty training process.
    • Drying mats — super helpful! soft, comfy, too bad they were no match for his puppy teeth, hahah! We went through quite a few of them.
    • Webcam — super helpful! Cheap, simple, and gets the work done. Thank you dad for getting me one of these I downloaded MeShare and can monitor him while we’re away. We still use this cam!
    • Crate pad — this is still with us, we thought he might be one of those my-bed-exploded-type of dog but turns out he is okay with being left alone in his crate. It feels really sturdy and is easy to keep clean.
    • Car seat cover — love this so helpful for keeping the car as clean as possible, especially since we rent!
  • Miscellaneous 
    • Treat pouch — Every dogmama gotta have one of these treat bag or any kind of treat bag for that matter!
    • Oricsson Backpack— All dog moms/dads gotta have one of these. Super lightweight and awesome to have for all those awesome items we need to have at the off leash park!
    • DNA kit — this was really fun! We learned that he’s 50% American Staffordshire Terrier, 12.5% American Bulldog, 12.5% Chow Chow, 12.5% Bulldog and 12.5% Hound mix. If you have a mixed furbaby this might be a great way to get to know your dog a little more!
  • Toys — too many to add but here are a few dog toys!!
    • Linen Dog Tug Toy— one of the best things ever! I had no idea that teaching him to play tug could help with recall! At least for Jimmy toys were meant to be interactive never left alone since he is a heavy chewer and would only destroy the toys.
    • A variety of Kongs –of course we just listed the most common. We added treats of course but eventually Jimmy just wanted to eat the entire thing 😦
    • Ethical Plush Skineeez–we bought him several different ones. They were all very helpful in learning how to play tug and practice with the “bring it” command. Super helpful and fun!!!
  • Treats — a ton available!! We tried to stick to human-grade good quality dog treats. The issue is that he eventually became use to me handing them out which takes the value away from the treats he would rather have Pupperoni (am I dissing Pupperoni here? Just a lil’ bit) from a stranger than take a “fancy” treat from me!
    • Beef lungs — he enjoyed them immensely!
    • Stella & Chewy’s — Just gotta have these, but these days I bake my own treats for him. But Stella & Chewy’s were our go-to-treat-fest buys
    • Rocco & Roxie — these treats were also on his list of favorites, but I guess he outgrew them or something or maybe he just preferred the homemade ones 🙂
    • Primal Treats — again these were also among his favorites, but he just got tired of them
    • Fruitables — oh my GOD we went through a fruitable phase (just loved all their flavors) and it was fantastic hahaha too bad he is so over them.
    • Honest Kitchen Nice Mussels— He loved these we used them along with the beef lungs during Advanced Manners class at Doggieacademy.

And that is almost a wrap he is now 21 months. Since he became a raw-fed pup he is free of allergies or at least he is at a level that does not require him to be on medication. He has a host of environmental and indoor allergens but there are dogs that have it worse than he does. We are grateful and at the same time we are grateful that his body is responding so well on being raw-fed. That’s another post in of itself!!! Stay tune!!