What toys do your pets like to play with? Any advice for a strong toy that Abby might not be able to tear apart?
Abby goes through alot of toys. For a smaller dog, you would think that any toy that says it's "super strong" or "chew proof" would be just that. Not for Abby! She has managed to work through just about every toy she has gotten, especially if they are stuffed. Funny enough, though, rubber toys seem to be a little bit different. Even though they don't seem to be as "chew proof" as some of her other toys, she is a little gentler with them. Why, I don't know, but they seem to give her endless joy.....especially the squeaky ones that you wish never existed. Lately, though, one of her favorite toys is a yellow "life ring" that daddy bought her. She likes to play in the pool with it, but I think she likes to put it around her snout and prance around the house better. She definitely has quite a personality! I wonder if she knows how cute she's being?
What toys do your pets like to play with? Any advice for a strong toy that Abby might not be able to tear apart?
Even though Abby is a Black Lab mixed with another smaller breed, her personality is mostly Lab. I have to confess, I don't really know alot about Labs other than they are very smart and love to be around water....well, most of them do anyway. From the time we adopted her we have been getting her use to our pool and teaching her how to swim. Actually, she picked up the swimming part the first week. What she has picked up since then has been slightly frustrating at times, but can be very funny. For instance, one of her favorite toys is a rubber ball that is full of holes instead of air to make it easier for dogs to pick up with their teeth. Does it float? Absolutely not. Not only does it not float, Abby thinks it's funny to take it to the edge of the pool and hold onto it with her front paws as it is dangling over the edge. When that doesn't amuse her any longer, she figures if she drops it in, someone will come and fish it out of the pool for her. Have you ever seen a baby take an object, like a set of keys, and drop it on the floor just to have the parent pick it up and hand it back over where the baby drops it again..... Didn't I say Labs were smart? We fell for it a few times, but recently started leaving it in the pool in the hopes that she would stop playing that game. Did it work? I suppose it did, but then again, it caused her to think up another game. What was it?
Now that we have caught onto Abby's game of drop and fish out of the pool it doesn't make her want that ball any less. Last week when I was in the kitchen I heard a SPLASH, and what was it? It was Abby trying to dive to the bottom of the pool to fish the ball out for herself. The funny thing is that not only does she still want to play the drop and fish game, she has no problem going into the pool on her own to try to fish the ball out when we leave it in there to long. She hasn't figured out yet how to dive below the surface of the water so the ball ends up staying in the pool for a while, but it's not long after it gets fished out of the pool that we are going through the whole cycle again.
I have to admit, it is pretty funny to see your 9 month old puppy decide that she wants that toy enough to take a leisurely swim. Once she gets in there, she realizes she can't reach the ball, then decides to swim a few laps around the pool before getting out. Who needs a walk when you can just jump in the pool and swim a few laps! I wonder what other games and tricks she will come up with? Right now I have no idea, but watching her little mind work and come up with different ways of entertaining herself is an amazing thing.
Do you have a pet that has created their own games or tricks and makes life interesting for you? Tell me all about it!
For the last several months my mind has been swirling of thoughts about adopting a dog. When Don and I got married it was something we both knew we didn't want to do for different reasons, and it was never anything that was discussed after that. But, life happens, and circumstances change, and with it sometimes thoughts and needs change in the process. What has happened to change my mind?
Well, I have always been someone that loves to research things, so when I started becoming ill I spent a lot of time researching my illness, medications, treatments, etc....and one of the things that has been said over and over is that pet therapy can be very healing for someone with chronic illnesses. I read study after study of the affects that pets have on their owners, and that sometimes they make the difference between someone wanting to keep fighting and not wanting to. Guide dogs help returning vets with their transition back into civilian life better than anything else, those with inabilities learn to live a fuller and more independent life with service dogs, and therapy pets are brought into hospital settings to bring comfort to those needing something more than medicine can provide.
So, how do you make the decision to bring a pet into your home when your home has been pet free until now? When I broached the subject with Don I knew he wouldn't be too happy with the idea at first, but he was willing to listen to my thoughts and reasons for why I have been thinking about it. Honestly, he really wasn't thrilled with it, but he heard how important it was to me and was willing to keep an open mind. Good! To me that was the biggest step, so without getting Amanda and Brandon too excited I talked to them and asked if they would be willing to help me take care of a dog if we were to get one. Since they are teenagers they understand the responsibility and wholeheartedly agree. So what next?
Getting everyone on board was the first step, and in some ways, the hardest, but just because everyone agrees doesn't make it a good idea. So Don asked me to put together a list of Pros and Cons to getting a dog, which I have been doing for him. If he's willing to have an open mind, the least I can do is put together this list to help us all think it through logically and not just emotionally. So far the list for Pros is twice as long as the list for Cons. So far, so good!!
Now that it looks like we've been successful with the list, the next thing I've been trying to do is research all of the costs involved in bringing a dog home with us. Getting started is an expensive proposition, and we want to make sure that the expense will be a good investment for us. Going to the shelter, picking out a dog may be some of the first steps to narrowing down the costs, but if possible, bring the dog home with you last if you want to ease the transition from the shelter to your home, but at least for now with the research I've done, we have a good idea of the costs involved.
Now is the fun part! With technology what it is nowadays, shelters have plenty of options for showing us what types of dogs (or cats, or any number of other animals) they have available. In my head I think I have an idea of the type of dog that would be a good fit for my family, but you don't really know until you do a little research. It's easy to look through the pictures and details, then do a search online for the breed of dog you're interested in and see if they tell you the kind of temperament that particular breed may have. I've been able to narrow down the list quite significantly that way. In the end, though, no matter how many animals you are able to view online, every animal has such a distinct personality, much like humans, so visiting a shelter and spending time with the ones you are interested in will help you decide if an animal is really a good fit for you and your family.
Well, after all that research, it looks like we've decided to adopt!! Stay tuned for more info on what happens next. Do you have any pets at home? If so, I'd love to hear about them and how you decided that a pet was a good fit for you......
In the few weeks that I was thinking about whether I wanted to adopt a dog or not I couldn't have imagined how much a dog would change my life. Yes, I knew the basic things, like the need to take them out for walks, feeding, bathing, vet appointments, etc....but I'm talking about the intangibles. Abby has been in our family for about 6 weeks now, and the changes for all of us have been immeasurable. So, other than the basic needs, how has Abby changed our family?
It's funny, when you have teenagers they have their interests and their schedules, and often times hanging out in their rooms can go on for hours. Amanda and Brandon love to play with Abby in the pool so they are both getting more exercise. They both also take her for walks or to the dog park, and in the evenings they come out and spend time with her and us before going to bed, so we actually get to see them more!
As for Don, he's been so great about going through this process with me even though we always said we would never get any animals. From the beginning of Abby's time with us she has found a spot in his heart for her, and whenever he goes to the store to pick up a few things he usually comes home with a new toy for her. When he comes home from work Abby is so excited to see him that she runs up to the door, tail wagging, waiting to greet him. Whatever went on at work that day is quickly erased because Abby then becomes the focus, and it's nearly impossible to turn down kisses from a puppy that loves you!!!
For me, the change has been the most drastic. Every morning when I wake up I'm greeted by a puppy that is so excited to see me. Between stretches she comes up to me to get hugs and kisses, and gives them right back to me, which starts my day off on a happy note automatically. After breakfast she loves to play so I'll toss a ball to her and she'll bring it back to me to toss again, giving me a little exercise. Many games played through the day, walks outside, pool time.....all of these things help me focus on Abby and not the pain I am in each day, and they help me get the exercise I need each day to keep my joints moving. Abby also loves to ride in the car, so as often as possible she comes with me and we run errands together. Then at night in the last couple of hours before bed, Abby loves to get up on the sofa with us and snuggle between us until bedtime. How can it not change you when a pet gives you unconditional love throughout the day? Abby has changed my life for the better! She doesn't know it, but she distracts me on the days I feel worse, and makes my good days even better, and I couldn't ask for more than that!
If you've been thinking about getting a pet, or wondering if a pet is right for you, the first thing I would suggest is making sure that your monthly budget can handle the additional expense of having a pet.That first day when we brought Abby home from the shelter it was like shopping for a new baby the amount of stuff we bought and money we spent. If you determine you can financially afford to bring one into your home, go and visit some local animal shelters or even volunteer a little bit of your time to work in one and see how you "click" with them. I went to a couple of different shelters and visited with some of the dogs before really knowing that I wanted to bring one home. If you decide to bring one home, know that not only did you save an animal in need, but you are giving yourself a wonderful gift of love that you will never find anywhere else.
If you have a pet, how has he or she changed your life? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments section below!
While in the process of deciding whether we wanted to adopt a dog or not, my daughter Heather and her husband Robbie adopted a second dog from a local animal shelter. When it was time to pick her up, I went with her so that I could get a feel for the shelter, the dogs there, and the process. Although I was fairly certain at that time we would adopt, it wouldn't be until we were standing in line at the shelter to pick up Heather and Robbie's dog, that I would see the excitement of those in line also waiting. There was pure joy on the faces and in the voices of those people in line, talking about the animals they came to pick up and how excited and happy they were. It was then that I realized what a difference an animal can make in your life. Having seen Heather and Robbie's dog in her cage at the shelter so sad and not even responding to anything or anyone, then watching her being released into Heather's care and seeing her open up on the car ride home was such a beautiful experience that also helped me to see that not only is it a good experience for humans, but for pets, too.
So, what next you might ask? Several days later I decided to drop in at another local shelter to find out more about them and the animals they have. While getting a tour of the facility and finding out about the dogs there, I came across a brother and sister black lab/mix that caught my eye. The sister, Queen, was actually at the vet being spayed, so I played for a little while with her brother Cajun and fell in love with a sweet little boy. After discussing it that night with Don, we decided to go back the next day together so he could visit with Cajun, also, but to my surprise Cajun was already scheduled to meet with another family later that day. Queen was back from the vet, though, so we asked to see her and she was just as sweet as her brother. It didn't take much thinking for us to decide that she was the one for us.
After going through all of the paperwork adoptions require, we left the shelter with a 10 week old baby girl black lab mix puppy that we renamed Abby. Since we were able to bring her home the same day, we brought her shopping to get the supplies we needed to bring a new puppy home. Not only did she enjoy the car ride, but she enjoyed all of the attention she got from everyone inside and outside each store. In alot of ways it was like bringing a new baby home from the hospital. The excitement of leaving the shelter with a new little one to care for, then picking up all of the necessary supplies while she entertains everyone that walks by, then getting home and getting everything set up for her.
Now that Abby has been home with us for a few days she is getting use to the routines we have. We've decided to crate train her so that during the few hours a week someone can't be with her she'll be safe and we won't have to worry that she'll destroy the house, and she's adjusting to the crate wonderfully! She is definitely alot of work, as a puppy usually is, but she's a fast learner and has become a great addition to our family. In some ways I have no idea why I worried that we may be making a mistake, but now I can't imagine her not being here. If you're thinking about adopting a pet think about going to your local shelters and spend some time with some of the animals there. It won't take you long to figure out which animal would make a good addition to your home, and the joy that comes from having a pet is priceless!
It's been a month since we brought Abby home from the shelter and she's become quite a goof ball! From the minute we brought her home, she has loved her toys, especially the little soft and cuddly ones that squeak. To go toy shopping for a dog is not unlike going to the toy store to buy toys for a child.....the choices that are available seem endless!! The most common problem I've run into when providing her with lots of toy options is alot of them don't last for more than a few days. Either the squeaker stops squeaking or she tugs hard enough on it when playing to rip the seams apart.
Some of her favorite toys without squeakers are ropes with knots in them, and any type of "bone" that's made for chewing. She loves to play tug of war with us with her ropes and when we finally are able to get it away from her we toss it and she loves to fetch it and bring it back for more.
One toy that she seems to be starting to like is her Kong toy. She's figured out that if she picks the Kong up in her mouth and drops it on the floor little treats might come out. It's quite funny when all of the treats are gone and she keeps dropping it on the floor looking for anything to fall out! The great thing about Kong's are they seem to be pretty well made and durable....at least at this point. There are alot of variety of Kong toys available now, too, so I was able to get her a Kong stuffed animal with a squeaker in it and it is the one stuffed animal that has lasted so far. They are a little more expensive than the regular toys, but still pretty comparable, and since they seem to have lasted the longest in our house that may be the ones we go with from here on out.
No matter what toys we get her, I check them every day to make sure they are still in good enough shape for her to be playing with. I've thrown out a few already, but it's better than Abby getting sick or injured by it. I'm thinking about rotating her toys, too, so that she always has a different selection to play with and doesn't get bored.
What are your pet's favorite toys?
From the minute we brought Abby home, housebreaking her was our number one mission. I read plenty of articles on the best ways to housebreak a dog, so I figured I was good to go. Boy was I wrong!
When you bring your new dog home, you usually have no idea what their personalities or temperaments really are. All you know is what you saw at the shelter, but that really doesn't give you much information. They are surrounded by lots of other animals at all times, and live in concrete and fenced in kennels, so housebreaking is not a priority there. So, what do you do?
Since we knew Abby was a puppy I figured she wasn't housebroken yet. When we got her home, we took her out every 30-45 minutes, but sometimes we would take her out, then a short time after bringing her in she would go in the house. We were definitely not on the same schedule. Some days worked better than others, and it wasn't until a couple of weeks after getting her when she was with my mom while we were away that I had an "aha!" moment. It seemed that as long as Abby was near one particular door most of the time in her house, she would go scratch at the door whenever she needed to go out. After doing this for a week with no accidents I realized that I had been doing a couple of things wrong at home.
Once we got Abby back home, I decided to hang her leash on the front door. I showed her the leash and banged the hook against the door gently a few times and told her to bang the leash when she wants to go out....like she could understand what I was saying! Fortunately, she did understand and it only took about 30 minutes after that for her to go to the door and bang the leash hook against the door, and wait for me to take her out. This worked so well, that after just a few weeks she is almost completely house broken. She still goes on the lanai sometimes, especially if I leave the door open a bit for her to go in and out, but it's concrete and easy to clean up, so I'm not as worried about that. She hasn't gone in the house much at all, though, so I'm happy!
Through it all the last 6 weeks with Abby I've learned alot and so has she. When trying to house break your dog, they definitely need consistence. Abby learned much faster when I took her outside through the same door each time, as opposed to sometimes the front door, and sometimes the back. She really picked up quickly the leash on the door, so that gave her a way to communicate with us. Now, if I can just get her to stop jumping up all the time......I guess that's a lesson for another day.
I would love to hear what tips and tricks you have used to house break your dog.......share below in the comments.....