Tag Archives: dog

Salsa Party!

Blu - Weimaraner pup on a walk

One of my clients recently had a “Salsa Party”. Not a party with just salsa dip, a Salsa dancing party. She had me come over and stay with her pup Blu while she was getting set up and while the party was going on.

For the two hours before the party even started, I wore Blu out. We first played in the yard for about half an hour. Blu has lots and lots of energy and LOVES to play fetch! She doesn’t always want to drop the toy, so I make sure I have another one ready to throw when she brings the first one back. I won’t throw it unless she drops the first toy; an exchange. She is getting better about dropping because she really, really, really wants to play and if she manages to get both toys, I refuse to play until she gives me at least one. (Also, I won’t chase her… which she really wants me to do.)

Blu after a walk, BIG tongue!

Then we went for an hour long walk. Since I’ve been learning training techniques from Blu’s trainer, Charmaine with Collins Canines, I worked on some of those with Blu. Blu’s a very clever and curious girl with the attention span of a gnat so getting her to focus is quite a challenge! She has some fear, so we worked on making the world a much less fearful place with lots of praise and hotdog pieces as rewards. We also worked on her pulling. We did the “stop & start” method, which is just like it sounds. As soon as she starts pulling, I stop. Once she stops pulling, I start walking. This makes for a very slow walk. But since she wasn’t quite as hyper because we started with romping in the yard, she only pulled for a short while then decided to walk with me. She was still sniffing everything along the way, but beside me instead of trying to get to things miles ahead of us.

Once we got back to Blu’s house, her mom was all decked out and looking lovely. I took Blu in for some water, but we still had some more time as the DJ had just arrived and things were still being set up. Since I didn’t want to take her on another walk and the backyard was getting all ready for the party, I got the long leash out and we played for another half hour in the driveway and the front yard. I could tell that Blu, the pup with endless amounts of energy, was getting tired. We went inside & up to her mom’s room where we were going to be hanging out during the majority of the party. We played a tiny game of fetch with a toy that was up there, but she fell asleep almost immediately.

Blu cuddling her toy

She did have a few moments of waking up to a sudden noise downstairs a bit panicked, but I calmed her down and she fell back asleep. (And I got to work on some writing!) After about two hours, she woke on her own and needed to go out. Now her mom’s room is on the second floor, and while she has no problem getting up there, the stairs are steep and her mom usually carries her down. I decided to work on making the stairs less scary. I set hotdog bits on each stair and coaxed her down. It took about 15 minutes to get her to even start going down the stairs, but once she did, she made it all the way down.

We went out, she did her business and, since most everyone was sitting and talking, I decided it was a good time for her to meet the guests. Since part of her fears have to do with strangers, I led her around slowly while praising and let the party goers, who were willing, give her bits of hot dog. I continued to feed her treats too. She did so well!! By the last person, her tail was wagging and she was giving the offered hands lots of slobbery kisses. What a good girl!

Blu looking at butterflies

The Skittish Dog, Big-Bada-Booms and Me

Over the Fourth of July Holiday, I was scheduled to visit with two dogs I had never met, Molly and Clementine.

Molly - Boxer mix

Molly - Boxer mix

I’d been told that Molly, the Boxer Mix, could be a little wary of strangers and skittish with sudden movement or loud noises. Good to know.

That first visit, as I got out of my car, I could hear thunder in the distance. *Bada-Boom!* I walked up the steps to the apartment feeling the heaviness of the air. About halfway up, the barking started.

In an attempt to soothe the barking dog, as I unlocked the door, I sang in a soft yet high pitched voice. “Hello Ms. Molly and Ms. Clementine! I’m here to walk you and feed you and we’re gonna be good friends.”

The snarling, barking face that greeted me as I pushed the door open, did NOT want to be my friend. But, just beyond Molly was Clementine.

Clementine - Mt. Feist

Clementine - Mt. Feist

It was a strange juxtaposition! Clementine was practically dancing in place, she was so excited to see me. She ran to my other side and there she was – ears forward, running up to me and trying to lick my hand. On the other side was Molly – ears back, hackles up, teeth bared, snarling, barking and backing away.

I put my hands in my pocket, averted my eyes from Molly and kept singing. “Nothing to be scared of. I want to be your new friend. Let me give you a treat!”

Since Molly wasn’t rushing me, I moved very slowly to the kitchen table where the treats were. (Of all the times… I forget to have an emergency treat in my pocket like I usually do!) They both sat, though Molly still looked freaked out. While they were distracted with the treats, I fed them their dinners and read over the notes the pet parents left me. Then I took Clementine for a walk, hoping Molly would see how much fun Clementine was having and be okay with me.

While we were outside, I noticed that the weather had gotten worse. It hadn’t yet started to rain, but it is pretty dark and I could see lightening in the distance. Clementine didn’t seem to mind.

I gave them treats when I got back in and, since Molly seemed to be chilling out, I moved very slowly to put her leash on. Two things happened almost simultaneously: I heard a loud *Bada-Boom!* and Molly bit!

Fortunately, she only got my shirt.

Time to call for backup. (One thing I really like about Out-U-Go! is that if something goes wrong, I’m not alone.) Amanda, the Top Dog, was on a visit herself. We discussed the situation. She was baffled. She’d met Molly and had never seen her behave like that. But just talking to Amanda helped me think clearly. As we talked, I continued to give the girls little treats. Molly was no longer barking or snarling, but she was still fearful, stress panting and, every few seconds, her body would jerk… as if something was startling her.

That’s when it hit me. Though I couldn’t hear it, I realized there were fireworks going off in the distance. That combined with the thunder and this strange person in her house was terrifying her! I understood the situation. But what to do…

Thinking back to my work with not so friendly dogs in the shelter, I decided to try to lasso her with the leash. I pulled the leash through the handle end and looped it over her head. It worked!

We managed to walk and, even though it was sprinkling, the thunder was closer and I heard more fireworks, she did well. She finished up her business and we got back inside. While walking, the leash managed to get caught under her collar so I couldn’t just drop it to let her slip out of it. But I wasn’t taking a chance and putting my hand anywhere near her mouth. I found a long wooden spoon in a drawer and slid it under the lasso. It came right off. Phew!

The next morning, I come in with treats. Molly barked, but then settled down quickly. No snarling at all. Over the next few visits, she got more and more comfortable with me until I was able to cuddle with her in the living room. She even put her head in my lap while I wrote notes!

Just goes to show, you can’t judge a dog by the first meeting. Especially when Big-Bada-Booms are involved!

Doga Day for Charity is coming up fast on August 6th!!!

Out-U-Go! and Boulder’s Natural Animal hospital are teaming up again on an awesome event for charity!  Doga, otherwise known as Yoga for Doggies, will be featured.  On August 6th from 1pm – 4pm, we’ll all be hosting the Doga Day for Charity, a fundraiser for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.  For just $5 you and your pooch get:

  • A Doga lesson with Yoga instructor, Steph Schwartz, of the Bali Yoga Retreat
  • A massage for your dog by certified canine massage therapist, Lisa Simmerman, of Stella Earth
  • Fresh-baked dog treats from Paws Barkery
  • Grilled hot dogs, sodas, water, chips, and treats for the humans

What a deal, right?!  

This will be a great time for pups and people regardless of doga or yoga abilities and experience 🙂

When:  Saturday, August 6th from 1 PM to 4 PM

Where:  Outside of Boulder’s Natural Animal Hospital at 685 S Broadway in the Table Mesa Shopping Center

Who:  Co-hosted by Boulder’s Natural Animal Hospital (www.bouldersnaturalanimal.com) and Out-U-Go! Boulder (www.OUTUGO.com)

What:  A cooky, crazy canine event to raise funds for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley

Stormy Weather

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks here in Denver! Having moved from the East Coast less than a year ago, I was expecting 80-90 degrees of dry heat from about June through September. Needless to say, the non-stop storms we’ve been experiencing have been a bit of a surprise. While it’s good to see the sprinklers (hopefully) turned off for a bit, the torrential downpours, terrifying thunder and lightning, and canoes making their way down Colfax have definitely been a bit much. It’s fair to say that it’s been raining cats and dogs!

Of course, as Pet Parents, our first thoughts in these situations tend to be “OH MY GOODNESS! IS MY BABY OK??” This was me last night, anyway, stranded at my friend’s house knowing poor Bosco was probably petrified (I even started to imagine regression into peeing or pooping in the house). When I finally did make it home, shivering and drenched, Bosco was just sleeping, seemingly unaware of the storm and quite puzzled as to why I was so wet.

While I know some dogs really are very much afraid of storms and bad weather, this incident reminded me of how inclined we are to forget true canine instinct. Sure, pups sleep in beds, eat packaged food, play with toys and, all in all, could not successfully make it on their own for more than just a few days. But, like us, they have experienced storms and rain and snow and natural disasters for thousands and thousands of years, both in the wild and as domesticated creatures and they’ve lived to tell the tale (tail?). I guess this was a reminder, at least for me, to respect and acknowledge the wild within our furry friends.

Stay dry everyone!

The Highlands Street Fair was AWESOME!

The Highlands Street Fair 2011 was a blast!  This event gets better every year which is why we were so happy to help our friends down the road at Out-U-Go! Denver host an awesome booth.

Thousands of local residents toured 32nd Street in the Highlands to visit with a lot of the businesses from the area.  The Out-U-Go! booth was very popular- hundreds of people enter our raffle to win free dogs!

We’re already looking forward to next year!

Stay tuned for information about Out-U-Go!’s next awesome event- DOGA for Charity 🙂

A Local Shout-Out: Harrison Memorial Animal Hospital

I’ve recently gotten in touch with several veterinary clinics in and around the Denver area and we wanted to give a special shout-out to Harrison Memorial Animal Hospital.

Now there are a TON of great vets out there but as we all know, a sick pup or kitty can often be a bit of a strain on the wallet. Unfortunately, for some people out there, a vet visit just might not be in the cards for financial reasons and that’s where Harrison Memorial steps in. Their goal is to “provide quality, comprehensive, and compassionate […] care for the economically disadvantaged.” They want to make sure that all of our furry friends out there at least have the option to receive care. The clinic is also a huge advocate of spaying and neutering in order to lower animal over-population in our country.

In a few weeks, Harrison Memorial will be holding their annual fundraiser gala Mutts and Models! This year’s theme is “Breakfast at Sniffany’s!” What could be more fun than a Canine and Celebrity Fashion Show?! Pups and models alike will be strutting their stuff up there all to benefit underprivileged pets. The fun begins at 7:30pm on Saturday, May 21st, 2011. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit: http://cvmf.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=98. We hope you’ll make it!!