DiploMutt and Puplomacy

Yesterday, Secretary Kerry took his @Diplomutt to work. What a great twitter feed for a pup!

We have a pooch that enjoys the meet and greet, but if you don’t adhere to proper protocol he will hide behind his humans. Our pup might not be diplomatic, but he has had to pass his own type of foreign affairs exam. He entered our household when he was 6 almost 7 months old, and the city was a huge shock. He was never properly socialized as a young puppy. Consequently, it has taken years of positive reinforcement training to walk confidently down a city street. Every city noise was scary. Squirrels were foreign, squirrels, can I emphasize my amazement to have a dog afraid of squirrels. Yes, that apparently happens. After lots of positive reinforcement training, we have a puppy that enjoys his walks and the puplomacy that comes with city living. He now expects almost every passer by to stop and give him a pat or comment on his haircut etc. For a dog that used to pee every time someone looked at him, this is a huge accomplishment. He definitely passed his foreign affairs exam!

For those who have also struggled with dogs that never received proper socialization, we recommend seeking professional training help, and Karen Pryor’s Click to Calm book and other clicker training tools. The training process requires a lot of patience but the reward is well worth it!

Hello City!

Hello City!

Whistle While We Work

The Quantified Self movement has extended to our canine companions with the Whistle (fitbit for dogs). Not only are we tracking our steps with the glorified pedometers, but we are also tracking our dog’s daily activity. And yes, everything is synced to our smart phones with timely updates and push notifications. What we haven’t realized is how to use this information. So our pup Watson took a 20 minute walk this morning, he slept until his afternoon walk, and had a bit of playtime somewhere in the middle. While it is fun and a bit addictive to see what Watson is doing during the day, we have only confirmed he is not out adventuring with Sherlock.

You are tracking my activity? That's it I'm logging a complaint from my cozy bed here.

You are tracking my activity? That’s it I’m logging a complaint from my cozy bed here.

More Mighty Toys!

In a household that tears through toys at an unimaginable pace durable toys are truly mighty. It appears that toymakers out there got our message! Mighty has arrived with durable toys. We have recently purchased several “Mighty” toys, and all of them have survived the two-pup tug test and the thrill of puppy teeth. One might even say they have withstood the test of winter fever.

Mighty Toy Rethinking Durability

Mighty Toy Rethinking Durability

My toy!

My toy!

Hey she took my new toy! Oh well, this toy testing business is tiring!

Hey she took my new toy! Oh well, this toy testing business is tiring!

Chasing the tail

IMG_1885

For the terrier owners out there I think we found an entertaining toy: Doggie Tail: wiggly interactive dog toy. Think YouTube videos of Weazel ball chased by the family dog, and then add a furry cover, a barking noise, and lots of rolling. Some may say it’s hours of endless fun, but when was the last time you saw a terrier pay attention for hours? I am not a huge fan of the noise component of the toy because it sounds like a whiney puppy. However, the terrier thinks this is the best thing since bully sticks.

#betterwithpets

On advertisers’ biggest day, we thought we should comment on an ad we caught prior to the big game. Purina’s incredible dog challenge was on before the Super Bowl, and besides for showcasing the wonders of dog agility and other fun activities, the host channel ran an ad with a great message: Life is #Betterwithpets.

If you have ever owned a pet it is easy to argue that life is better with pets. From a wiggle greeting every time you come home, to the uncanny ability to understand when you just need a good cuddle, a pet by your side undeniably makes life better. Pets also provide you with the type of perspective that is so easily lost in our fast-paced world: tummy rubs are good, treats are even better, and a well-trained human is essential.

Pets of Bronco fans: your humans could use a cuddle.

Life is good

Life is good

Out with the fluff, in with the tough

You know I deserve a treat for wearing the Santa hat!

You know I deserve a treat for wearing the Santa hat!

Goodbye damaged toys, hello new toys. Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. As expected, the nose on one of the rope toys was destroyed within 24 hours. Funny how predictable those things are, yet we still purchased the item…

We tried a new dog store recently and found the Mighty Toys. Whether they are mightier than our dynamic duo (terrier and doodle) still remains to be seen, but we were pleased to see someone was trying to meet the need for durability.

Mighty Mite?

Holiday Toy Shopping

Won’t last through the weekend, too many pieces for ripping apart, too much stuffing and not enough stitching… It’s surprisingly hard to find well made toys with a holiday twist. We also have the added trouble/pleasure of finding enough toys with slight variations such that each dog around the tree gets the same number and type of toys. I am sure there will be some trading and maybe a bit of sharing, but let’s be honest there is always a toy hog in a multiple-pet gathering. What’s in our stockings (shhh don’t tell the pups!)?

duck

frog

elephant

I suspect the noses won’t last long (especially the elephant), but there is always hope. In general, we have found rope toys have a lasting quality. Also, smaller toys tend to be harder to ripe between two or three dogs. Since the penguin has already fallen victim to too much holiday fun, we are aiming for more durable toys for Christmas.