Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 22 2006

For all of you who love teaching your dog tricks, try out this link… http://www.idodogtricks.com/index_flash.html . This little guy has a lot of tricks to show you, so be creative. Here’s a few to try: sit, roll over, down, shake, fetch, play dead, jump, chase tail, stand, speak, bark, sit, wave, beg, dance, high five, spin…and don’t forget to try kiss. Pretty talented pup!
Have fun and enjoy everything you are thankful for this Thanksgiving!
Remember, changing your dog’s diet (read: feeding table scraps) is NOT a good way to show thanks to your dog. Even the slightest change in a dog’s diet can result in diarrhea, which is no fun for you or your dog! A better idea is to take pup for an extra fun walk this Thanksgiving. You both will enjoy the fresh air and you will be able to burn off some of those extra calories! Try adding some training that your dog is already proficient at inside the house, such as sit, the name game or come when called while on leash. If you make it super fun (read: provide lots of excited praise and yummy dog treats as rewards), you both will enjoy this extra special time together that much more!
Happy Thanksgiving!

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Giving thanks for all those muddy paw prints!

Nov 17 2006

Thanksgiving has always held a special place in my heart…Possibly because my birthday falls on or near it every year! I also like the idea of thinking back to all the things which make me so thankful. While I am eternally grateful for how fortunate I am, I do tend to zoom through life enjoying each new adventure, but at the same time taking many things for granted, so a time of year where I can slow down and ponder my incredibly wonderful life can be very refreshing.

Family and friends are always at the top of the list, both 2-legged and 4-legged varieties:
The pure joy, daughter, Kelsey brings to my life is beyond words.
Our newest addition to the family, little (or not so little anymore!) puppy, River, makes me smile every time I look at her (even when she’s decided that potted plant makes a great chew toy!).
Because of these two little gems, I have never been so exhausted and drained in all my life (even compared to finals week in undergraduate college or thesis time in graduate school!), but I am also more content, joyous and completely exuberant! Life is truly wonderful!

That being said, I have had several reasons to cry a few tears this year:
Our older dog, Jah, passed away from a stroke in July. He was one of the largest influences in my drastic career change from Visual Effects Supervisor to Dog Trainer. He taught me the ultimate cornerstone of the canine-human relationship: trust and respect. If I was willing to put all my energy into trusting and respecting him, he rewarded me with a truly exceptional bond. He was a very dominant personality, yet this incredibly high prey-driven dog would turn on a dime inches from his intended target at the sound of “Jah, here!”. You have to think you did something right for a dog that prey motivated, to choose you over some squealing tasty rodent!

Our Kelly’s Training Daycare and Boarding family has had some losses as well:
Our dearly beloved Chocolate Lab client, Jake, passed away at the tender age of 3 years old from an unknown disease that several specialists and their personal friend and veterinarian frantically tried to diagnose and treat, but ultimately lost the battle. I’m sure Jake is happily wagging his approval of the new addition, truly scrumptious Chocolate Lab puppy, Duke.
This summer while one of our human clients was in the hospital giving birth to her beautiful baby boy, her Jack Russell mix, Buckley, passed away at home from a possible Botulism poisoning. While we shared their overwhelming sadness for the loss of Buckley, we also were happy to celebrate the birth of their first born, Owen. Everyone misses Buckley including his canine sister, Jodie, but Owen provides so much joy in the household that Buckley’s memory brings smiles instead of tears.
A fairly new member of our Kelly’s Training family, who decided to adopt two related puppies rather than have them separated, lost one of them, 4 months old Vizsla/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, Nessarose, to an unknown illness. Several surgeries and endless probing were not enough to save this poor little canine soul. Her sister, Elphaba, helps her parents cope with the loss by being a typical, beautifully naughty puppy!

We also had some close calls of which we are ever so grateful for the positive outcomes:
One of my very dear friends and client of Kelly’s Training was performing overseas with her band this summer, when her 9 year old German Shepherd mix, Otis, wandered out her front door. As her roommate frantically searched for Otis, I and many of her friends, posted flyers for our lost boy. My friend contacted 2 psychics to help with the search. After a week with no leads, she was ready to hire the services of a woman who will search for your lost dog with her bloodhound when a phone call made everyone sigh with relief. Otis had parked himself in a friendly family’s shady front yard 2 miles away, willing to eat and drink the offerings, but unwilling to allow them to get close for several days. Finally they were able to approach him and read his tag!
Our cherished Bernese Mountain Dog/Australian Shepherd mix client, Mambo, had a very serious close call when he was diagnosed with a rare blood disease after returning from a trip to Miami. He was very sick for several months, but his vet and specialists have given him a clean bill of health and he is back to the rambunctiously wonderful Mambo we all know and love!

So in summary, I am thankful for all my canine and human family and friends who keep my life full of joyous, often muddy, but thoroughly cherished moments!
And (before I get a lovely pile of cat barf on my pillow!) I am also thankful for all the felines in my life!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Introducing our newest addition!

Nov 06 2006

Our new addition to the family is a female Greater Swiss Mountain Dog named River. We picked her up October 12th on her 8 week old birthday.

The breeder’s facility was run out of her home and very clean and all her dogs seemed very friendly and happy. We met River’s mother, father, littermates and a 1 year old male from River’s father. We had always adopted our pets from Rescue organizations or Shelters, so going through a breeder was a new experience for us. Our primary concern was that the breeder be well-established, reputable, professional and be equally invested in her dogs’ physical as well as emotional well-being. We wanted a professional, knowledgable breeder who had her litters in a home environment and had limited breedings (1 or 2/year) so we knew that she could dedicate herself completely to our puppy’s litter.

We researched her line and knew one dog well (he came to Kelly’s Training Doggie Daycare until he and his mom moved to NYC!) from her champion sire (River’s grandfather) . We spoke several times with the breeder over the phone and she was very well educated and always willing to talk extensively about the pros and cons of this breed and her specific line. Once we picked River up, we drove for 2 hours from the breeder to Debra’s parents. Debra held River in her lap in the backseat where River proceeded to pee on her! Luckily we were prepared and laid an extra large wee-wee pad at her feet and River went to sleep for the majority of the trip.

Once we arrived, we implemented the potty training program. We placed an x-pen in their dining room with a crate inside. She was allowed to play in the backyard with Doc and Amber (see photo) if a human could be watching her. As a bonus, if she pooped, she was allowed to come in to their sunroom and play for 20 mins., then let outside to pee, then to the crate for 1-2 hours of nap time. This routinue was repeated religiously until bedtime.

The crate door was closed for naptimes and left open at night where the x-pen kept Doc contained so that she had a warm body to sleep with. Our only accidents occurred when we stretched our 20 mins. indoor playtime or were too slow to wake up in the middle of the night. Once we got back to LA, we visited our vet, who instructed us that River had a bladder infection, so the medication is helping her need to be a little less urgent! She is a pro at puppy push-ups (sit/lie down,sit/lie down,etc.) and is learning the name game and sit -stay in crate with door open until release word is given. Doc absolutely adores her and we often feel like we are cheating when she is having a bout of puppy mania since Doc gets the brunt of her zoomies and alligator chomping! We are constantly swapping out our arms for an appropriate chew toy and implemeting Ouch! for really painful bites!

She is amazingly gentle with Kelsey although we are ever vigilant with their interactions. Her socialization program was started the day after we got her. We went outlet shopping and put River in Kelsey’s stroller (and Kelsey was happy to explore using her new found ability to walk!). Debra’s mom was worried that we wouldn’t be able to enter the shops! Instead, nobody wanted us to leave!! Everyone was doing a double-take at the stroller! Ha, ha! And River was very good at staying in the stroller. We still take her in the stroller down to Tujunga Village, but she has almost outgrown it! Our goal is 100 new people every week. So far so good! We’ll keep you posted!


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