I can admit a failure…

Remember the online dog training course I posted about? I was going to try it with Cali, see if maybe I could teach an old dog new tricks. Well, I failed. Not because the program was bad, or Cali was a problem. I was the problem.

I couldn’t seem to be consistent. I’d work with her a couple of times one day, and then get busy and not try again for a few days. I’m not totally giving up. I do think a refresher would be a good thing for Cali. I have some training treats by my desk and anytime I think of it, I ask her to come, sit, stay, watch me, down, etc. I’m also working on recall when I put her outside. It’s better than nothing, but it also made me realize that the biggest problem with dog training is most likely the human and not the dog.

It’s so much easier to be consistent with a new puppy. You are excited to have them, you are still learning the routines of dealing with the puppy, and we all know house breaking is pretty mandatory training.

For now, Cali is super happy chilling on our new patio couch and continuing her old, lazy routines, but I do want to keep trying to be a little more consistent with training reminders for her.

Just a reminder that with the Fourth of July holiday coming up to please be careful with your pets. Fireworks, cook outs, parties, can all be upsetting to pets. Keep an eye on them, make sure they don’t overheat, and make sure they are safely contained during fireworks time. Happy Independence Day!

All Around the World

 

May has been a super busy month around here. I’ve traveled to the other side of the country, and hit several different countries as well. Traveling always reminds me how small the world really is, and how similar people are. We all want the same things, happiness, comfort, and peace. We all love our families (and pets!)

I was away from my pets quite a bit in May. Thankfully I have great pet sitters for everyone, so even though I get very nervous leaving them, they are all happy and content. Everyone needs extra attention now that we are back home, especially the cats!

Hector gave me a scare this trip. I got a text from my sitter that she had tried to fly and landed badly. She was favoring one foot, and the sitter wasn’t sure what to do. I told him to leave her in her cage and keep an eye on her. I’d seen this happen before and she was fine after a short time and thankfully the same thing happened this time, but I was very happy to get home a couple of days later to check on her.  

Cali loves to play dress up!

Going through my full mailbox when I got home, I found an email about a free 30 day perfect pet class. It’s by Zak George, a trainer I had watched before. I dug into it a little bit and it does seem to be totally free. It is affiliated with Pupford so there is some advertising to wade through, but it hasn’t been bad so far. Cali is 9 years old, definitely to a puppy, but she does have some annoying habits. I thought it might be fun to give it a try and share my results here. My goals would be simply to get Cali listening better. For example, she knows to come when call, but sometimes just ignores me, not a safe habit. She also barks, a lot, and if I could lessen that, it would make her a much nicer resident. If nothing else, a month of training will be a good refresher for both of us.

 

Sh*t Show – or My Pooper Scooper Review!

 

 

No one enjoys dealing with poop. It’s just part of life, and dog owners know it’s just something you have to deal with.

I’ve tried to teach Cali to poop in the woods, but apparently that’s just for bears, and she’s not into it. She likes a nice patch of grass, usually right in a path where we want to walk around in our yard.

So I scoop the poop, because poop happens.  I’ve been using a connected scooper thing that I guess I should have taken a picture of, because I’m not finding pictures online. My old one was pretty beat up and dirty so I thought I’d spare everyone the pictures. It was just two wooden handles attached to a rake and a flat scoop. You separate the handles, use the rake to push the poop unto the flat part, then you can hold it closed with one hand and bring it to wherever you need to dump it.

I just bought this scooper set  to try something a little different. I thought having two pieces might be a nice change, and I really like it. Instead of fighting to make sure the pieces line up properly to scoop like I used to have to do with the old one, now I just put down the little scoop part and use the rake to push the poop into the scoop and carry it off to be dumped.

Cali is little, so she doesn’t make giant poops. I’m not sure this little set would work all that well for a Great Dane, but for a little Morkie it works great. I can even pick up a couple of piles at once with it.

The surface is non-stick or lovely slick coating that rinses clean very easily. The rake part clips to the scoop part so they are easy to store together. Another bonus is that the scoop part has a flat bottom, so it sits nicely near the wall.

The unit went together easily. Each part was well marked and they just screw together. I saw some reviews that people said the parts kept coming unscrewed, but I’ve used mine about a dozen times now, and haven’t had any problems.

I can’t say that this new scooper has made me enjoy cleaning up the yard, but on a nice Spring day when the sun is out, it definitely isn’t the worst chore.

Kitties and Cali

#With the colder weather, Logan and Puck have been snuggling more. Usually, Puck finds himself a cozy spot, and Logan works her way in. Bean is a solo guy, I don’t really find him snuggling with the other cats or Cali.

Puck was happily enjoying his cozy spot until Logan moved in.

Eventually, he figured out that she wasn’t leaving, and he went back to napping.

My new Sundays food for Cali shipped, so I’m still waiting on that. Looking forward to seeing how she likes it and sharing my thoughts on it. They have been sending me emails, and I’m intrigued about it being a dehydrated food, and having a “jerky-like” texture. I think Cali might really enjoy that.  We’ll see!

 

Pets and wildlife

Cali isn’t much of a hunter!

Saw a Facebook post this weekend about a woman who was concerned her dog kept chasing and killing wildlife, chipmunks, bunnies, etc. Some people suggested muzzles. leashing, fencing, etc. I suggested a simple bell.  It gives the wildlife a bit of a warning so they have a fair chance to get away. I always encourage people with outdoor cats to make sure they have bells on their collars as well. Why not give the chipmunks a chance? 

If you are going to put a collar on your cat, indoor or outdoor, I highly recommend a break-a-way collar. I had a cat get stuck once, and it was scary. Thankfully, I was there to fix the problem right away.  My indoor cats don’t wear collars anymore. They are microchipped, so on the off chance they were to escape, they have that for ID, but my cats are all pretty afraid of the great outdoors, and we are careful to keep an eye on our doors.

Cali got a haircut this weekend, well I cut her hair. I love how she looks when her hair is longer, but with her itchy skin, it just isn’t good for her. Clipping her short allows me to keep a close eye on her skin, and also makes it easier for her weekly baths. I find oatmeal shampoo baths really help with her itchiness. I’ll see how the winter goes. I like letting her hair get a bit longer when it gets cold.

A Few Updates

A couple of quick updates here:


The dragon is doing great. She seems to love her new terrarium set up and is making it her job to try and eat all the insects that are supposed to be keeping her tank clean. I’m guessing I’m going to be needing to add more bugs before they have a chance to reproduce! I did add some mealworms to the tank. We’ll see how they survive. It’s awesome to see how active she is nibbling plants, checking things out, digging, climbing, etc.  I’m really happy for her.

Cali is not happy about her increased walk schedule and decreased treats, but she’s doing well.  The lump is definitely just fat, so not a problem, just something to keep an eye on. She is slowly getting weaned off of Apoquel and doing well so far. I plan to take her in for another shot of Cytopoint at the end of the month, and we’ll see how it goes from there.  Cali also had a bath and haircut last week, I miss her fuzz, but she seems happier to have some of that thick mess gone.

Hector is Hector. She is doing great. I was worried about her getting cold a couple of weeks ago when the house felt a little colder than normal. She usually hates having a cover on her cage, but with the cold, I wanted to insulate her a bit. She’s getting used to having her blankie on each night, and actually seems to like it.  I just put a small fleece over the top 1/4 of her cage. It gives her some insulation, but doesn’t block her view.  So far so good!

The kitties are all doing well.  Logan’s blood work all came back within normal ranges, so she is scheduled to have her teeth cleaned and the broken tooth removed on Thursday. Bean is very excited about all the outside animal activity as the weather is warming up a little.  He’s found a new spot to hang out and hunt.

The gliders are also doing well.  I was getting a little bit worried about my little guy, Miney. He has been smaller than the others since I got them, but I started to worry that he might be losing a bit of weight. I reached out to a glider expert through a FaceBook group to get some advice. She recommended “Glider Crack” which is a high protein temporary diet to help add weight to a sick or needy glider. The problem is that my other three boys definitely don’t need extra food! 

It has been a bit tricky getting him out alone, but I’ve been able to do it for the last few nights. I wait until it is close to the time I think they will wake up, about 9pm usually, and I disturb the pouch where they all sleep. I offer treats to the three other boys to encourage them to leave the pouch, and I make sure their food is all set up for them. Once I get the three big boys out of the way, I remove the pouch with Miney in it from the cage. I’ve been hand feeding him the special Glider Crack, and he loves it!

In case you were wondering what kind of deliciousness is in Glider Crack, it is canned chicken, avocado, scrambled egg, calcium supplement, and water, all blended together into a lovely green slime.

Miney seems to be doing well. Other than being a little thin, he seems totally fine and healthy. I’ve added more food bowls and separated things out more in the cage, so hopefully if he is getting chased from food, he will have a better chance to get at it now. I’ve hand fed him for the last 4 or 5 nights, so I plan to take a night off. I don’t want him to become totally dependent on hand feeding. I’ll offer him more Glider Crack tomorrow night, and obviously I’m keeping an eye on him.

I’m ready for Spring! How about everyone else?

 

 

Product Warning – DreamBone

Happy New Year!

I saw this product all over Amazon before the holidays. Sounded good to me, no rawhide, made with chicken. I should have known better. It’s made in China, and for some reason so many pet treats that come out of China seem to lead to problems.

Over the weekend, a friend of a friend shared a story of their 8 month old puppy who had these treats and ended up needing surgery because they blocked the puppy’s intestinal tract. I searched around online and found many similar stories. This is NOT a safe product.

Cali has had a couple of these, and they didn’t seem to cause her any problems, but I just don’t see a reason to take chances. This bag is headed for my trashcan.

Just a reminder to be careful what you buy for your pets.

The Farmer’s Dog

Cali eagerly waiting for me to put her bowl down

A couple of weeks ago I got an offer to try The Farmer’s Dog food for free. As someone always interested in new pet products, I had to try it out. It meant signing up for a subscription to their food, but I could cancel right away.

I went to their website  and filled out a form about Cali, type of dog, size, any allergies or health issues, etc. It was a pretty simple process and only took about 5 minutes.

Six days later a cooler arrived. The cooler was packed with bags of food, a container to store open food packs, and an insulated bag! Really cute packaging!

Insulated bag

Since Cali is a little dog, one pack of food is sized for four meals. It’s easy to use. I just squeeze the food out of the middle of the pack, and cut along the middle. Then I can squeeze half the food out of one side and put it in her bowl.

Clearly the food smells delicious to Cali, as the first time I cut open a pack she started dancing around. There was no transition to this food for her, she just devoured it immediately. I have no doubt this is a high quality food. The ingredients look great. It seems that beef is their standard base. They also have turkey,  pork, and chicken options. I wish they had a seafood or fish option. Cali’s vet recommended a fish based food for her, and that has seemed to help with her dry skin and itchiness. Maybe being on the Farmer’s Dog for a long period would help her skin issues without the fish?

I would definitely consider feeding this food all the time, but it is expensive for me at about $20 per week, and Cali is a small dog. I would pay a bit more for fresh food, but I currently spend about $12 for a bag of high quality dry food, and about $22 for a case of canned food. The bag of dry food lasts me over a month, and the case of canned food lasts me at least two months. So I’m paying roughly $23 a month to feed Cali, and Farmer’s Dog would cost me over $70 per month. 

I do spend about $30 per month on allergy medication for Cali, so IF the Farmer’s Dog eliminated the need for her medication, then the price difference starts to make more sense, but it’s a gamble to risk taking her off of her medication that has been working well for years.

I saw on The Farmer’s Dog website that they have a recipe for homemade food, and they hope to be offering a vitamin supplement at some point that you could purchase and make your own fresh food. I’ll definitely be looking into that when it is available. For now, I’m using one bag of the fresh food at a time, and switching Cali between it and her regular food as a special meal until my trial packs run out. Love the idea, love the quality of this product, just can’t justify the cost to my pet budget right now. Has anyone else tried it?

 

The Holidays are Inching Closer

Who buys holiday gifts for their pets? Do you buy gifts for all your pets? I have to be honest, I haven’t found a whole lot that excites Wena, my bearded dragon, so unless she needs something for her tank, she usually just gets some extra Horn Worms, her favorite treat, for the holidays.

The cats and the dog always get something, and Hector the bird, LOVES presents! She gets so excited. She even unwraps her own presents. It’s definitely part of the fun for her.

I found a new-to-me website called A Bird Toy, that had some unique toys. I like that they sell parts, and you can create your own toys, and reuse/refill them. Don’t tell Hector, but she is about to get their “hulk bolt” for Christmas. It is a stainless steel bolt that attaches to the side of her cage, and I can refill it with wood blocks, beads, leather pieces, cardboard squares, etc. Hector is often afraid of new things, so I like the idea of the solid base that I can refill with different parts. I’m hoping she might be less nervous about the refills once she gets used to it. I’ll post a review after I’ve had a chance to use it with Hector.

The cats got a giant (taller than me!) cat tree for Christmas last year that they love. This year, they don’t really need anything big, so I’ll probably pick up some plastic springs, furry mice, and maybe a new cardboard scratcher. What are you getting your cats?

 

I haven’t really decided what Cali will get for Christmas yet. She has so many toys already! She isn’t a destructive chewer, so her toys last forever. Maybe it’s time for a new sweater. Cali loves her clothes! She was so excited to dress up for Halloween! We actually had trouble getting her dress off of her at the end of the night.

I’m hoping to find time to put together a Pet Wish List before the holidays. What kinds of things would like to see on it? What kind of pets are your shopping for?