DIY Pet Pillow

sweetdreamsI don’t know about your pups but our dog just started sleeping with us. He is all over the bed all night long. He goes from laying peaceful between us, to laying on my husbands head, then on my feet, then spread eagle across our legs…well you get the picture. My husband could sleep through a hurricane, but I am light sleeper so this decision to let him sleep with us has led to some sleepless nights for me. Therefore we (and by “we” I mean “I”) are going to try for a modification to this sleeping pattern. I have used one of my sweaters to make a pillow case to place on the floor next to our bed. It was a pretty rudimentary design for the “pillow case,” but it worked out well and he likes it. First, I started by using a sweater that I was ready for the rubbish pile. I wore it around the house for the afternoon just to get a little of my scent on it. Then I made the pillow case. The plan is to get him to sleep on it around then house then move it to the bedroom. He will do a “sit stay” pretty well, hence I don’t think it will be too troublesome to get him to sleep on the pillow. However, we shall see.

I have added a quick overview of how I did my pillow. I stitched mine by hand you may want to use a sewing machine in that case you would not stuff the pillow first, but last.

pillow final

P.S. For the pictures I just used safety pins to hold it together. You could potentially leave the pins if your dog is not much of digger. Mine likes to scratch at his pillows to fluff them and I chose not leave the pins fearing he might unhook one and poke himself.

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Any Advice About Taking a Dog to Death Valley?

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source:http://www.cartoonizemypet.com

Can you believe this is 2015? And oh my goodness, Valentine’s day is right around the corner. My husband and I are planning a trip to Death Valley. We enjoy being adventurous together, several years ago for our first Valentine’s day together we went to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. We had so much fun. We were living in the MidWest and we flew to Las Vegas and then rented a car to drive to the Grand Canyon. I had no idea that it snowed at the Grand Canyon. Obviously geography was not my forte. It was great to just be spontaneous and do whatever we wanted when the mood struck. However, this year is a little different, this year we have a dog and we are trying to decide if we should take our Naayae or leave him home. We will be camping and probably will not do any major hikes, just a little site seeing of some of the major points of interest, like Ubehebe Crater, Dante’s View and the Devils Golf Course, but many people have cautioned against taking our dog. He is small under 20 pounds and will always be with us, either on a leash or in our tent. He is a good boy when walking on a leash and doesn’t bark at other animals. Since this is our first trip to Death Valley other than beautiful scenery, warm days and chilly nights we don’t have any idea what to expect. Are there really that many wild animals just waiting to eat a little dog? Anyway, we have a great dog-sitter¬†lined up and she is more than happy to keep our little guy, but we will miss him bunches.
Have any of you been to Death Valley? Did you take your dog? How did it go? If you didn’t take your dog, do think now that you have been there you would have?

10 Things I Believe

Since, I am new to blogging I thought I would give you a peek into who I am by sharing with you 10 things that I believe. This for sure is not the exhaustive list (that could take days), but here are few that matter to me in no particular order.

1. Animals are gifts from God.
2. Love is the most important thing.
3. If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.
4. Education is important to success but not the only thing necessary.
5. Hard work will always pay off it just might not be the dividends you expect.
6. There are consequences for every action, be sure your actions reap the consequences you desire.
7. There is nothing better than coming home to a dog who loves you unconditionally after a bad day.
8. Many people (and pets) will come and go in your life learn from them.
9. When everything is going wrong trust that it will eventually pass, nothing lasts forever.
10. My dog is the best dog in the world. (If you read that “my” as personal to you, you will agree) ūüėČ

I would love to hear what you would have in your list.

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DIY Dog Agility Course

Border_collie_weave_polesWell, it is DIY Friday. I like to post DIYs on Friday for those of you who are weekend warriors and like to take on projects over the weekend.This particular post will mostly likely take more than a weekend to accomplish.

Exercise is an essential part of a dog’s life. If you want a dog who lives well into his old age then making sure they get exercise is necessary. I think everyone likes a dog that is well-behaved and there is no better way to get a well-behaved dog than to bond with them. A dog that is bonded to its owner will want to please them and acting out is usually seen less. Agility Training is a great way to bond with your four-legged friend and also exercise at the same time. Another reason agility is an¬†excellent choice is it can cross over all of the categories of exercise; mental, psychological, emotional and physical.¬†agility

Agility does require a lot of time. Training a dog to do agility is time-consuming but rewarding. Some dogs just seem to be born for agility and take to it with less training time, there are other dogs that will just never be suited to agility no matter how well you train them, and there are some dogs that with a little patience and a lot of focused time can become agility experts. But where do you start? If you have ever shopped for agility equipment you will know that it is very expensive, and if you are just doing this for fun it might seem a little too much to spend that kind of money on play equipment. So, I have found a few places where you can buy it affordably and/or build your own.

***Also there are some things to know about agility before you begin training your dog based on youtube videos or other training materials. Such as for young dogs agility can be harmful for their growing joints, please see your vet before beginning any type of physical training with your dog.

I have included some of the basic components of a typical Agility Course. There is no need to make a full course if you are doing this only for fun, but if you plan to train for competition then this list is not exhaustive and you may need to add to your collection.

Weave Polls

Jump Bars

Hoop Jump

See-Saw

Dog Walk or A-Frame

Pause Table

Dog Agility Shop has several DIY plans but also very affordable complete sets.

Dog agility
Click to go to DogAgility Shop

Happy Training

Are you doing enough?

I love Zak George. If you don’t know him then you should check out his channel on youtube. He has a different approach to dog training than most dog trainers right now. His methods however are actually “old school.”

Anyway, in the discussion of excercising your dog he challenges us to go further. He says, walking, playing with other dogs and even free running (such as in your back yard) may not be enough for your dog. Now, if you have a couch potato breed like my Cavalier then you are probably home free, but if you have a lively breed like a Jack Russell Terrier or a Doberman Pinscher then you should take a look at this video.

Let me know in the comments what you think of Zak George and how you meet your dogs fitness needs.

3 Steps to Create an Exercise Plan for your Dog.

So many questions
So many questions

-How often should you walk your dog?
-How long should you walk your dog?
-Is walking enough exercise for your dog?
-What if your schedule doesn’t allow you to walk your dog?
-How long is too long for your dog?
-What if it is too cold? What if it is too hot?

These are just a few of the questions we have been thinking about. My husband and I have been talking about an exercise plan that is right for our little guy, he is a King Charles who is under 20 pounds. What is the right exercise plan for your dog?

There are so many things to consider when thinking about and exercise plan, physical activity of course is the first thing that comes to mind, but there are many other things to consider as well.

dog-237187First thing to consider is, how your dog is stimulated. For some dogs a walk in the park with no structure or reason would be enough for them to go home lay on the couch and feel totally satisfied for the day. Most dogs however, are not that simple. Most dogs require more than just a¬†laid-back¬†walk in the park. Particularly dogs from the working breeds. They need lots of stimulation to feel fulfilled. Stimulation doesn’t come in one neat package it is found in a variety of ways. Unlike human beings the cardiovascular system and muscular system are not the end of exercise for a dog. There are more things to be considered when attempting to fulfill your dog. Think of your dog holistically. Mental, Psychological, Emotional and Physical are all things to plan for in a daily routine for a contented dog.

Lets start with physical as it seems to be the most obvious. There are many ways to provide physical exercise for your dog. The walk is of course the average persons choice for their dog since it requires little knowledge or effort on the part of the human or the dog. Walking is mostly a physical task for dogs but it does sometime cross into other categories such as psychological and mental. When your dog meets others along the path you are walking then your walk has just become psychological. Your dog goes into a different mental state to try to understand the other dog. She might sniff the other dog or bark or jump on the new dog. These are all social behaviors that are somewhat instinct and somewhat taught. Another scenario might be use of the sense of smell. It is likely that other dogs or animals have walked the path you are using and therefore your dog may smell other animal odors such as skin oils, hair, urine, etc. That is a mental challenge for your dog. He has to decide to control himself and heed to you or become unruly attempting to go his own course likely to chase the thing he is smelling and leaving you behind.

Instead of analyzing each task for what it could become I think it would be easier if I just give a list of activities that correspond to the “Holistic Category.” I am in no way a dog behaviorist, these are my assessments after having many dogs and a variety of breeds over the course of my life as well as some knowledge I have acquired from good trainers I have used and books I have read.

Mental                                  Psychological                                  Emotional                           Physical
-Puzzle games                            -Play dates                                               -Training (tricks etc)                               -Walking
-Agility                                        -Frisbee (at the dog park)                   -Hiking (off leash)                                     -Running
-Hide and seek                         -Playing fetch                                         -Playing tug games                                   -Swimming

*Since we are talking about excercise most of these things fit into the physical category. Also many cross over into other categories as well. I simply chose to make a list highlighting some exercises that are best suited to the category. Also there are many more ways to exercise your dog.

Here are the 3 steps we used to set a schedule for our dog. I use the term schedule loosely because are not really “list people” although sometimes we day-dream about how that could make our lives so much easier.

Step #1 Understand what your dog needs
We first looked our dogs needs. He is a small dog who is a scaredy-cat about everything, sleeps a lot, is mostly mellow, but cannot wait for his daily walk. So we derived from this that we needed to be sure to access his psychological needs a little more than his physical needs. We need to socialize him in a way that is fun and rewarding for him and not so overwhelming, to satisfy this need we are going to join a meet-up group and socialize him at least once a week. Thirty minutes of physical exercise is enough for our little guy, but you may need more. In addition we also enjoy teaching him new tricks and he enjoys puzzle games, these will be added to schedule as well.

Step #2 Understanding your schedule and who can help
I am a house-wife and my husband can set his schedule most days, we have the luxury of not having to ask for help, but I know this isn’t always the case. For those of you who just can’t fit a thirty or even twenty-minute walk into your schedule maybe you and your family members could split up the walk time. If one of you could walk him in the morning before work or school for 10 minutes and then someone else when you return home for another 10 minutes you are already up to 20 minutes, just be sure these are brisk walks not a slow stroll. Ask one more person to take a late evening or before bed walk if it is safe in your area to be out after dark (we have too many wild animals in our area) and there you have just made your 30 minute walking schedule for the day these might begin to correspond with bathroom breaks too which is just an added bonus if you don’t have a back yard where your pup can go without your supervision. If you cannot do this then maybe it would be a good idea to look into hiring a dog walker once or twice a week who can help carry some the burden of walking the dog. Also remember for some of these activities you can multi-task. If your dog loves to swim then in the summer you can take him to the beach where if possible you can be working on things you need to do, like your personal budget or returning phone calls you just haven’t been able to get to this week.

Step #3 Putting it down on paper.
Like I said we are NOT list people and tend to do things haphazardly. Therefore, if we don’t write it down with determination we probably will not stick to it. Here is what a week might look like for The Four Legged King.

Monday-        30 minute walk, 15 minutes of training tricks
Tuesday-      10 minute walk, 30 minute play date, Puzzle game reward when we get home
Wednesday- 20 minute trick training, 15 minute walk in the morning and another in the evening
Thursday-     30 minute walk
Friday-          20 minute trick training, 20 minute walk in the afternoon, 10 minute trick training
Saturday-     1 hour hike off leash, 10 minutes fetch as a reward later that evening
Sunday-       10 minutes frisbee at the dog park, walk to and from the dog park 15 minutes each way, play hide and seek in                      the evening

I have added this free printable for you to use!

Dog Exercise Plan

DIY Water Filtering Bowl

water-jet-482504_1920I have a picky dog. I blogged about how it was tough picking dog food for him because he just doesn’t eat anything. Well, he is also picky when it comes to water. He doesn’t like plain tap water, he doesn’t like all bottled water, but he will drink filtered water. Since we filter our drinking water it is not that bothersome to get his water from our already filtered supply, but he does drink up a lot of our water. Therefore, I was looking to buying a dog bowl that filters water constantly, and found out those gadgets are pretty expesive we are talking $20-75. I even saw one for $3,000, but it was a drinking fountain for dog and human like you might see in the park, no thanks! The $20 bowl didn’t seem too unreasonable, but the reviews were terrible, stating it was hard to keep clean and sometimes would stop working. And even some of the more expensive bowls didn’t have raving reviews. So I set out to find an affordable option when I came upon a DIY version. Oooo my heart leapt with joy, “really I can do this myself for cheap?” It is true this DIY version which I have yet to try, but plan to do so very soon, looks very simple. A fish tank filter and a bowl. Yes, friends that is all two small pieces of equipment some objects for shims and you are in business. There are several version of this DIY including one with a garbage can full of water for very large/muliple dog homes. Our little guy is under 20 pounds, a small bowl is fine for him. I plan to buy the filter at Wal*Mart and I already have the bowl on hand.

Here is the link to the instructions: http://www.instructables.com/id/Filtered-Pet-Watering-Bowl/

Have a great weekend!

Sincerely,

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What is your word for the year?

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Grin and bear it!

I love pinterest it is a break from reality for me. I enjoy looking at all of the craft projects, and humorous memes. Every once in awhile you stumble across something that can really help you find perspective. Today I came across a post about finding your “word” for 2015. My word for 2015…ENDURE. ¬†One of the reasons my husband bought me a puppy is because I am facing some health issues and he thought the puppy might help me focus my energy in a healthy place. I know that 2014 was pretty tough I battled with depression, I went from high to low and everything in between. Since our puppy will be going from a puppy to a dog this year I know he will have somethings to endure too. 2015 should prove to be exciting, scary and full of fear, but I will endure and make it through. With my husband by my side and Naayae to anchor me in love I know I can do this!