The Queen Takes Her Throne!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

 When Penny first came to live with us, she seemed to enjoy riding in the car, but she always curled up in the back seat on the floor.  I've seen her improve significantly over the past few months (like coming up to be petted and hanging out with the family when we watch TV), and today she took her throne on the front seat when we went for a ride to the Paw Spa.  We didn't get a bath today (they need one but we ran out of time) but I buy their special dog food there and we were all out!  Just look at her little sweet face.  She's so enjoying hanging out in the front and watching everything going on.

Of course Ninja kept trying to push his way up there too, but she wasn't budging.  Good for her! 

And they are slimming down and looking so shiny with their new food.  I'm seeing Penny slowly lose her extra weight but better than that I see her so much more active!  She and Ninja played outside with the neighbor dogs and she was running around like a puppy with them.

And I found an excellent treat for them today.  They both go crazy and will do anything for green beans, of all things.  Green beans are good for them and won't pack on the pounds, so that's an excellent treat.

All the Aussies and humans in this house are looking forward to turning our clocks back tonight! Enjoy your extra hour of sleep.

Bath Time!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

And don't we look happy?

When we took the pups to the Paw Spa this weekend we decided to put them in the same tub and wash them together.  Most of the time they huddled together like they were being tortured instead of bathed.

Penny doesn't look too unhappy, but she's the one who likes water.  Ninja tolerates the bath but that's about it.

They came out shiny and soft and smelling like coconut.

Oh, and we are on a doggy diet.  Little Penny isn't so little these days and I worry about her health.  So she and Ninja are on weight management food and it has made their coats sparkle!  A couple of weeks into it and I'm seeing them slim down a little, so I think we are on the right track.  Watching what they eat has made me realize that we were going more than a bit heavy on the treats.  It's so easy to overindulge your fur babies when you love them.  But this is for their own good!  :)  I'll keep you posted.

Smart Dog. . . Not so Smart Dog. . .

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Please ignore the fact that my yard desperately needs mowing.  First, it's too darned hot here right now, and second, I'd rather take the time to play with the dogs and walk with them than to terrorize them with the mower.  It will get done.  Besides, they like the long grass to play in.  My husband says Penny looks like an Ewok running in the grass.

Anyway, this cracked me up when I saw these two napping outside.  Penny is like me.  She doesn't like being in the sun.  Silly Ninja, on the other hand, will lay out in the sun until he comes running inside and nearly burns my hands with his blazing black coat.

Goodness, it was over 100 degrees today!  They did this early this morning, then the afternoon was spent in the air conditioned house with both pups spread out on the cool tile. And I have to admit I did a little napping myself this afternoon in the nice cool house.

Speaking of sleeping (one of my favorite topics!) I bought the pups a huge dog bed last week at Costco and they are so cute curled up together on it together.  It has special foam in it, just like my bed so they can be comfy when they sleep.  :) 

One of my favorite things is to come home to see them running to greet me.  Penny is a "talker."  She grunts and play growls in greeting.  Ninja whines and snorts.  But dogs are always happy to see you, and mine are especially sweet. 

I like water!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

If you have water in any form that can be splashed, this pup will find it.  She even splashes in her water bowl!

I don't know if you can see if, but her little chest is all soaked.  I was watering the sprouting pumpkins seeds (we're hoping for Thanksgiving pumpkins) and our trees and she found a little puddle to splash.

Unfortunately, Ninja is terrified of water (go figure) so she splashes and plays and he cries and barks. I'm sure the neighbors love us. :)

She's so smart to go lay in the shade to dry out.  She's got a bit of a cross face in the picture, so unlike her usual adorable doggy grin.  I don't think she liked having her picture taken today.  Maybe I interrupted her nap. . .  She was probably dreaming up more ways to splash about!

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's Saturday - Let's Blog Hop!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ryker's mom over at is doing this blog hop and it's pretty cool.  What a fun way to find new blogs!  So I'm jumping in. 

Bert: All right, I'll do it myself!
Mary Poppins: Do what?
Bert: Bit o' magic!
Michael: A bit of magic?
Bert: It's easy! Let's see... You think. You wink. You do a double blink. You close your eyes... and jump!
[They jump onto the drawing, nothing happens]
Jane: Is something s'posed to happen?
Mary Poppins: Bert, what utter nonsense!
[gives an exasperated sigh]
Mary Poppins: Why do you always complicate things that are really quite simple? Give me your hand please, Michael. Don't slouch. One... two...
[They jump into the chalk picture]

In which my Canine Companions Desert Me over a Rat. . .

Thursday, July 22, 2010

After art class on Sunday where my daughter and I made really cool garden globes we felt inspired to work in the garden. We stopped at Home Depot and got some plants, and then set about weeding, planting, edging, and so on.

As my daughter was watering the strawberries on the topsy turvey, a big spider suddenly appeared. To say she hates spiders is a huge understatement. She screamed, and screamed, and screamed. I could see the goose bumps on her arms from 100 feet away. I got her in the house and killed the spider. OK, I couldn’t really find the spider, so I told her I killed it so she’d come back out. A little mommy magic goes a long way.

I got to work on the shed. It’s one of those plastic ones that never seems to stay together right. After a few minutes of pushing and prodding, I decided I’d have to take everything out of it and put all the pieces back together. As I pulled a box out from the back, a huge tree rat came bounding out. This may sound familiar, because something similar happened a couple of years ago so you’d think I would be prepared for the wildlife in the yard. But no. I screamed like a cartoon character, loud enough to wake the dead, or at least run off the rat. Or so I hoped.

This set my daughter off who screamed and ran in the house. And my faithful canine companions? They ran and hid under the dining room table. Thanks, guys. (Actually I think they were pretty smart- I wanted to hide under the table too at that point!)

This shed is right up against the fence of my neighbor’s house. About 20 seconds after I screamed, their bedroom window opened and my friend shouted, “Are you OK?” Now I was feeling a bit sheepish. I told her I was fine and a rat had startled me. She told me she was glad I was OK, because she’d just got out of the shower and if I needed help she’d be running down with nothing but a towel on!

She told me later, “The funniest thing about yesterday was that I had just gotten out of the shower and my husband had just jumped in. We heard the screaming over the rat and both just froze and stared at each other for 5 seconds. I was thinking either a rabid coyote had gotten into the yard (Coyotes Gone Wild!) or a mad man had entered your house and trying to kill everyone since your husband wasn’t home. So then I figured I should at least grab a towel if I was going to rescue you guys. My husband was scrambling to get out of the shower while I ran to the window to see if you would answer me. It was like a Bugs Bunny Cartoon in the bedroom! We laughed about that last night because we looked so ridiculous.” Thank God for good neighbors! And mine are awesome.

About the time my adrenaline had calmed down, my husband and son got home. I rushed to tell them the story, but they seemed a little nonplussed about the whole thing. My husband went out and helped me fix the shed, and then sat down on a fake rock we have next to the shed covering our sprinkler valves. That stupid rat must have been hiding behind that rock because the rat shot out from behind the rock, with me jumping up and down and screaming, “There it is! There it is! Get it! Get it!” The rat took off under our fountain rocks and my husband never even saw it. And now he keeps reminding me about an “alleged” rat. Alleged rats do not make me scream. Only real ones.

The neighbors (now dressed) came to look over their fence and the crazy woman being stalked by rats (I guess that’s me). We chatted for a while. . . and then my daughter encountered a worm in the soil where she was planting lantana and went into more screaming.

That was it. Enough screaming, spiders, rats, and worms. It was time to go in, get cleaned up, and have dinner. I am reminded of the scene in the second Indiana Jones movie where Willy screams at every horrible dinner dish she encounters. Who knew gardening was not for the feint of heart?

The dogs came back out after all the commotion. I can only assume the rat was no danger to me or they would have been there to protect me. Right?

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In which Ninja Flees From Fireworks

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On the 4th of July we went to the Angels Game. Such a surprise, right? :) I made a special effort to make sure the yard was secure and the dogs could come into the house if they were frightened by the fireworks. Fireworks are illegal here, but there are some local shows with the big booming kind.

We got home about the same time as a number of our neighbors, and we were all out front talking to each other. I let the dogs out to say hi to everyone. I have to say that both my pups are usually totally under my voice control, so I can call them into the house or to my side with no issue,

As we were all talking out front, someone let off an illegal firework a few streets over. This terrified Ninja, who panicked and took off.

I thought he'd just run down the street a few houses, but when I went and called him he was gone. Luckily Penny was right at the door and she headed in the house, not out of it. The kids and I made sure she stayed inside, because usually wherever Ninja goes Penny goes.

I called and called and he didn't respond. He must have just kept running. I got really frightened. I could just see him getting hit by a car- he's all black and almost invisible at night. My husband took his car, our neighbors took their car, and I took my car and we all went looking. (Apparently my panic set everyone off.)

About 20 minutes later I found him at the entrance to the park by the school and he almost jumped into my open window, poor baby. I got him in the car- and it was great fun to drive with 40+ pounds of dog in my lap, but I didn't care.

He wouldn't come out of the car when I got home. My husband and I had to put a leash on him and coax him out. I sat down on the floor with him and he was completely glued to my side all night. He wouldn't even sleep. Just laid there shaking with his eyes wide open. I've never had anything like that happen before.

Thank the Lord it all turned out OK, because it could have been really scary. So that was the frightening ending to an otherwise nice 4th. One more prayer of thanks to say at bedtime, right? It really made me think about how much both my pups mean to me.

Happy 4th of July!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

We're Barbequeing and going to the Angels Game. The dogs are hanging out by the BBQ and ice cream machine. Gee, I wonder why? :) Maybe because they get a hot dog now and then. . .

Hope your Independence Day is safe and happy!

All Sassy for Summer!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Last week was hot. On Wednesday it was over 90 and I was miserable. The Aussies looked pretty hot and uncomfortable too. Plus we have dog hair in every possible corner with these two fluffy dogs. Thank goodness it is a little cooler this week!

I made an appointment this morning to get them trimmed up for the Summer. I'm sure they will be much cooler and hopefully we won't be watching "hair spiders" (as my husband calls them) fly across the floor this Summer every five minutes. Well, at least not as much.

When we came home this afternoon we played with the dogs from next door in our combined front yards. Don't they look sassy under the shade if the tree in my front yard?

You have to love this picture from the back. It looks so nice to have all that long, messy hair trimmed up. Ninja almost looks like a puppy with his hair cut this way. His little puppy rump looks like a little rottweiler. Yes, I miss the long, pretty hair these dogs have, but surely they have to be more comfy with out all that hair. It will grow back by the Fall anyway.

They even put little bows on Penny, but I had to take them off because she kept trying to take them off, and shake her head in puzzlement. Isn't this just so adorable?

When I went to pick them up from the Paw Spa, I asked Donna if they were good. Her answer was, "What do you mean by good?" I guess they didn't overly enjoy the experience of being groomed.

But don't they look beautiful? They are so soft and shiny. They only real problem is that you can see what the hair was hiding- that they are both a little round and are getting too many table scraps. Yep, you and me both Penny and Ninja! :)

The Aussie Patrol

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's 11:15pm and im Western Nichts Neues. That means All Quiet on the Western Front. It won't last. Any minute now my Aussie patrol will shoot up, race out the back door, and bark viciously at whatever thing has been walking on the hill behind our house.

I know this because it has happened every night for the past month of so. Ninja has even got Penny involved in this adventure every night. She's not a big barker. For the first few weeks she came home I wondered if she even could bark, she was so quiet. I now know she can bark and be loud, along with Ninja who can bark the house down, but rarely does. Except when they are on patrol!

What is it that comes visiting? Who knows. Coyote? Raccoon? Possum? Rabbit? Whatever it is I doubt it posses any serious threat with a fence between the pups and it, but it sure gets noisy at night.

I am not complaining, except that I'd like to sleep instead of checking on the barking dogs. I always praise them for doing their job. I really don't think that anyone could get into the house (with bad intentions) without these two taking them down. What makes me happy about the whole thing is that Penny must be feeling that we are her pack or she wouldn't be out there working with Ninja to keep us all safe.

Sounds like the guest has arrived out back. The patrol is barking. I'd better go check and give them their treats for doing their job! G'night! I'll sleep tight with my patrol on guard.

The Magic Shoes

Monday, June 21, 2010

Once upon a time there was a lady who found a great pair of tennis shoes as Wal-Mart market for $7. They were her size, so she whisked them off to the register in a flurry of excitement.

The woman at the register rang them up- for $11. "Wait!" cried the lady. "They are marked $7."

"Oops," said the clerk. "I'll reverse the charge and fix it!" And she promptly rang in 70 cents. "Oops!" again cried the clerk. "I'll just charge you $6.30 and it will all be right." So she made the adjustment and typed in sooooooos for the description. Uh huh. She really did.

The lady took her purchases home and got to thinking. My goodness, the bill seemed high! So she looked at the receipt and realized she was charged $11 for shoes, 70 cents for sooooooos and also $6.30 for soooooooos. This was a grand total of $18.00 plus tax for her $7.00 shoes.

Back to Wal-Mart she went, and explained to the returns lady 3 times about the charges, and got it all worked out. She came home and went to put on her soooooos to take her darling pups on a walk, and discovered . . . that she had two right soooooooos, I mean shoes.

The next day, she took the whole mess back to Wal-Mart, go the correct shoes for the correct feet and headed home. That night she walked the pups in her new shoes. They were very comfy and she decided that even though they weren't such a bargain with all the trips back and forth, she really liked them.

The next morning the lady came downstairs to discover that her darling pup, Penny, had eaten the heels out both of her new soooos. The moral of the story is that sometimes a bargain just isn't a bargain after all. :)

The end.

Almost Back in Order

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I've been away from blogging since "The Great Flood" while we get the house back in order. It's almost there. Yippee! It almost feels like a whole new house!

In the meantime, the Aussies are doing great. Penny had her vet's appointment last week and the vet claimed she is in perfect health. . .except she's a little. . .umm. . . fluffy? OK, Dr V said she was fat. Well, she fits right in with us, right? We're all a little fluffy in my house these days. I can't help but share yummy table scraps with my beautiful fur babies.

Plus we haven't been going on the long walks we usually do, and McDonald's has amazing sweet tea for 99 cents! (Before you freak out, I do not feed the dogs sweet tea! I was merely trying to point out that I succumb to temptation of sweet tea pretty easily, and therefore I have become a bit fluffy too these days, lol).

That's not to say we aren't walking at all. I would never do that to my sweet pups! It's just that a usual 1 hour walk has been shortened to about 20 minutes. I promised Dr. V we'd all make more of an effort to get back on track.

I'm noticing more good things in Penny. She's coming to my husband when he calls her. Before she seemed more nervous around him than anyone else, but she's decided he's OK, especially when he's got a chicken nugget for her. (You see my point about fluffy?)

She now comes and lays down with us when we watch TV at night, where before she'd stay under the kitchen table. She was always close to us, but she seemed to like the cover of the table. But the best thing is that she doesn't immediately hop and run away when you walk by her. Before she'd hop up and move away when any of us walked by. We've all been on the same page about totally ignoring her as we walk by, and it seems to be working because she's starting to realize that no one is going to hurt her.

So these are all good thing. Ninja, of course, will lay right in front of you with his belly in the air so you have to practically jump over him. I guess that's a relaxed, confident dog!

I love to hear the two of them play in the yard. They bark and snarl and chase each other around and it is so cute!

I'm hoping this weekend to go for a nice walk and take lots of pictures. Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Minor Disaster! But the Dogs are Fine.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I haven't had a moment to update my blogs lately because our house was flooded a week ago Sunday. A sprinkler pipe blew in a planter just behind our house at about 4am and ran until I came downstairs at about 8:30am, flooding the yard and providing my downstairs with about and inch of water over the entire floor.

It's one of those things you can't quite get your head around. I walked downstairs and the pups were waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs, completely bedraggled and muddy. I kept looking at them and thinking, what happened? Why are they so wet and muddy? Why are my floors so shiny?

Penny splashed off and then it hit me, there is water everywhere! I ran out in my pajamas to turn off the sprinkler main valve and ever since then we've been cleaning up the damage. All the carpet had to be ripped up and new flooring installed. Some drywall had to be replaced, walls painted, baseboards replaced. I am thankful that it wasn't worse, but it's been a lot of work.

The good news is that the new flooring we're putting in is beautiful! The dogs weer not harmed in anyway, except that Ninja hates water. Penny seemed to think it was fun to have water everywhere for her to splash in.

I hate having furniture in places it doesn't belong while we finish the floors. The dogs seem a bit frazzled with things out of place too. It's been two weeks and at least I don't have to climb over the couches to get into the kitchen anymore. It's funny how you don't realize how much you miss just coming home to a normal house and resting. It's getting there, but slowly.

So I'm not ignoring my blogger friends. I've just got house stuff going on!

Penny Gets a Back Pack

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cesar Milan says that putting a backpack on a pup makes the walk seem twice as long. I'm not sure about that, but I know that my Aussies are a herding breed and they like a job to do.

Ninja loves to wear his pack and carry his clean waste baggies in it, and maybe a bottle of water when we hike. Everyone laughs when they see him and says, "You make him carry his own stuff? Great idea!" Anyone can see how happy he is carrying his pack.

The pack I got for Ninja was pricey, and I was concerned about spending a lot for a pack and then Penny being afraid of it. She does not like having her tummy touched, and the strap from the pack goes around the belly of the pup.

My local Marshall's store had these cute packs for around $5. Can you believe that? Perfect! I brought one home for the beautiful Penny and she accepted it a lot easier than I expected.

We started by waiting until after a walk when she was mellow and a little tired and she still had the leash on. She seems much more comfortable with the leash on. Then my daughter and I let her smell the back pack. Next we set in on her back, and gave her a piece of chicken. That went well. After a few minutes I reached under her and clipped the back pack on, and my daughter walked her around the house wearing it. More chicken. No problems. That was enough for one night.

She looks pretty cute in it! Next walk we'll see if she wants to wear it out. I'm curious what the reaction will be from people when they see us walking two Aussies in back packs. With Ninja some people think he is being trained as a service dog, and praise me for what I'm doing. I always laugh- I'm training them for my family, people!

I'll let you know how the walk wearing the pack goes. I have a feeling it will go well.

Dog Behavior and Famous Trainers

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

So, I like to read. That's and understatement. I love to read. And since I have a new pup who has a fear issue, I've been reading everything I can get my hands on about dog behavior and training concepts. I've ready several of Cesar Millan's books, such as "Be the Pack Leader" and "A Member of the Family" as well as his first, "Cesar's Way." I really like his ideas.

I also read Jan Fennell's "The Dog Listener." These two are very similar in their approach. They say that most dogs do not want to be the leader and will gladly give up leadership status to you if you show them leadership. Both agree that you should ignore your dogs for the first minutes when you walk in until they are calm. This has worked wonders for me with Ninja. He used to nearly knock me over every time I walked in the door. I thought this was just , "I'm happy to see you" behavior, but after reading about it, I discovered it's more a dominance thing.

With Penny it's not an issue. She'll come to greet me but she'd never jump on me. The first day I decided to do the No Touch, No Talk, No Eye Contact (as Cesar says) Ninja jumped on me once, looked bewildered when I gently pushed him down and went on my way, and eventually went and sat down to wait for me to acknowledge him. At that point I was happy to greet my calm, submissive pup. After a few days of this, Ninja and Penny are both waiting calmly for me when I come home and no more jumping and acting crazy.

I wanted to see what the criticisms of this method are (mainly because I'm such a bookworm and I always want to see both sides) and people complaining felt it as cruel to ignore your dog. I don't get this criticism. I ignore them if they are misbehaving, and it stops. When they are calm I greet them. How can that be cruel? That seems like positive reinforcement to me. They behave, they get attention. They don't, they don't. I wonder if people are thinking of taking this to an extreme. I just don't get it.

Another book I'm reading is called Culture Clash which looks at how dogs really are, as opposed to how we "Disneyfy" them. It seems like a book all dog owners should read.

There's more to Cesar and Jan's methods, and I'll talk about them in later entries. I just thought it was interesting to see how quickly this one technique worked.

Walking Off Leash

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ninja loves to walk off leash and I never have any concerns about him coming back to me. If we got to a park and no one is around, I often let Ninja off leash to run and burn off some of that energy.

The first time I tried that with Penny she took off up the hill. That was my fault because it was the first day we had her and of course there wasn't any bonding yet.

Tonight I gave it another try. Ninja took off and ran and ran (although he always comes back), and Penny stayed by my side. She didn't take off but she wasn't much into the running thing either. She walked right by my side the entire time. I do think she is much more comfortable with the leash on. She seems to feel much more secure with it on.

I thought it was cute that she stayed right with me. I think it shows that we are definitely making a connection.

Fun in the Car!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ninja is pretty fearless in the car. He waits at the door when he hears me pick up my keys, and if it's safe I pretty much let him come along. By safe, I mean that it's not hot out and he won't have to be in the car for more than a couple of minutes when I'm doing whatever it is I need to do. Usually he comes along when we're going to a drive thru, or when I have a quick trip to Wal-Mart or something similar.

Ninja is starting to train Penny to wait at the door when I pick up my keys. It's pretty funny when I'm heading to the door and both dogs are at full attention, ready to take off and get in the car.

Tonight I took them both with me and my daughter to grab a couple of tacos. Ninja has no manners in the car. He'll sit in the back with his paws on the center console and bat at my hands with his paws (hoping for petting) while I'm driving. I'm sure Cesar Millan would be horrified. I've been better about making him stop and not rewarding that behavior lately, but it's hard when you want to love on your pup. It makes driving tough.

For the past couple of weeks Penny has been riding on the floor in the back, where the rear passenger wold put their feet. I think she feels secure there. She climbs in and out of the car with no issue. She even will come along without a leash. Tonight she decided to sit on the rear seat and look out the window. And then I found her with her paws on the center console with Ninja in the back seat! Oh, the bad habits he's teaching her!

It's still good a good sign that she's not so afraid of us and is not hiding as much. She's so smart- she found a blanket in the back seat and moved it around with her paws and snout so she could lay down on it. My daughter and I laughed at that. Apparently she doesn't much care to lay on leather seats. What's next? Having her paws done at the Paw Spa? :) She's a lady after me and my daughter's own hearts, that's for sure!

Wonderful Progress!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Things are going so well! Penny is using the dog door as if she's been doing it her whole life now. She hasn't had to be kept in her puppy pen at all since Monday night and she's had no accidents. Yippee!

She and Ninja are so funny. Every night Ninja used to sneak up to my room in the middle of the night and sleep on the floor next to my bed. Penny's other parents said she slept in their room under a chair. So I figured they'd both come up and sleep in our room. Nope. They seem to be really into snuggling with each other downstairs at night. I guess they don't need me at night. :) Well, that's OK. Whatever makes them happy!

Penny seems like she's starting to trust up a little more each day. I've found that she gets very frightened when you stand over her and try to reach down. Like when you want to reach down to pet her. So, we don't do that. Instead, we let her come to us and use her natural curiosity to want to come closer.

The other evening I sat on the floor and called Ninja over and began petting him. Penny came over and watched what I was doing, just out of reach. I talked to her while I petted Ninja, saying things like, "I'd pet you too if you wanted me too." I didn't reach out to her at all. After a few minutes, she came and laid down right next to me. . . and let me pet her! I had one dog under one hand and the other under the other. So cute!! The key with Penny is to sit down and let her come to me.

Last night I brushed Ninja with a great shedding brush and Penny did the same thing - came over and laid down next to me while I brushed Ninja. I guess she wanted to be brushed too. So both pups got loved on and brushed.

She's funny- when you pull out the leash she lays down and lets you clip it one her collar. We went to the dog park tonight and when we were ready to go home, she laid down and waited for the leash to be put on her.

I think we are really bonding because tonight at the dog park I walked around the track and both dogs followed me around and walked right by me or just behind me (off leash). I didn't make them heel or stop from running off -it's a dog park, for heaven's sake- but even when they went off to investigate, they headed back to me every time.

And Penny even let my husband cuddle her tonight and that's a first. He's a very tall guy and a little pup probably finds him a bit intimidating. But tonight she let him pet her and even came up to him at the dog park, looking for some attention.

Tonight makes two weeks since Penny Lane came home with us to keep Ninja company and brighten my family's days. I read earlier that two weeks is the honeymoon period for a new pup. Let's see how next week goes. I have a feeling it's going to continue to go well!

Good Night. . .

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I mean, it was a good night. Penny's first night out of her puppy pen was uneventful (good) and accident free (even better)!

I found her curled up and sound sleep this morning, but of course when I went to take the picture she looked up at me. There are no less than 5 dog beds in this house and my pups like to sleep on the floor. Silly Aussies!

This evening we went to a new dog park. This one has a section for agility work with lots of neat equipment. We put Ninja and Penny in there. Ninja ran right up the see saw but when it came down the other side he leapt off of it and refused to do it again.

There were some people there with a chihuahua and they kept hitting the dog every time it barked and growled. Gee, it got more aggressive as the time went on and they kept whacking it. Some people should not be allowed to raise dogs. . . or children.

I like this picture. My daughter leashed them up and they were ready to go! C'mon, Mom! Aren't you ready yet? We're burning daylight!

Here's a great shot of them after burning off some of the famous Aussie energy. They kind of tag team and keep a look out for each other.

Penny is still showing some fear, but I think in time we can help her get over that. She only is afraid when you come over to her and try to pet her. She's OK on her own terms. But I guess we are all like that sometimes!

Guess Who's Using the Dog Door?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I got a call at work today from my hubby (he works at home) and very excited kids (who are off track) all chattering at the same time. My daughter put our Aussies out in the yard for a little play time and a few minutes later they were both back inside. No one opened the sliding glass door, so Penny must have come through the dog door after Ninja.

To be fair, this has happened once or twice before where she gets tired of waiting for someone to open the door and she sneaks in through the dog door. But I've never seen her actually go out through the dog door, and that's the key to me of her being ready to do her business outside on her own.

My daughter reported that after watching the pair, she saw Penny follow Ninja though the door several times, going both in and out. She says she doesn't fly through it like Ninja- she's a little more cautious, but she does go in and out. Oh, happy day! Tonight I'm going to leave her puppy pen open and see how she does! No getting up at 4am to let her out. Yippee!

Penny and the Paw Spa

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Note to self: Don't take dogs to the Paw Spa the day before a holiday. Apparently everyone wants a clean dog when they are going to someone's house or people are coming over for a holiday, like Easter!

But darling Penny had managed to find a mud puddle by our sprinkler valves and she loves water. . .and mud. So my daughter and I decided to take her yesterday and get her cleaned up. Plus my Dad wanted to see her on Easter and it was their first meeting, so I wanted her to look her best! I wanted to get Ninja a bath too but I had the sense to take Penny alone for the first trip to the Paw Spa.

The first thing Donna said to me was, "Another Aussie? Two hairy dogs! Are you crazy?" Yep, pretty much! :) Penny wasn't too enthusiastic about getting a bath. Apparently loving water is on her own terms, not when a bath is being enforced.

The place was packed! I've never seen so many dogs in there at once. I was very glad we didn't have Ninja there too because as much as I feel in control of my dogs, with so many others there it might have been tough.

You can see how Miss Penny pulled all the way to the other side of the tub, which is oh so much fun for my back! She doesn't fight me at all- she's a very docile pup- but she wasn't loving the bath thing either.

She was really filthy from that mud puddle. I don't know if you can see it in the picture, but when we scrubbed her legs and paws the dirt came off in rivulets. I kept washing the tub down because I didn't want to get it back on her.

Even the insides of her ears were pretty dirty. She must have scratched at her ears with dirty paws! A good rinse and a blow dry (which she also did not enjoy) and a spray of vanilla cologne, and she was one sparkly Aussie!
Here's a shot of her on the blow drying table. She doesn't like her legs and belly messed with, so I try to be somewhat sensitive to that and I don't blow dry her feet. And the hair around her ears is still a little wet, but she looks a lot cleaner than when we took her in! I don't think she looks too miserable, and boy did she smell yummy. When we got home, Ninja had to come over and investigate. I'm sure his sensitive nose said, Oh! The Paw Spa, huh Penny? His turn is next.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Day hi5 comments

A Walk in The Wilderness. . .

Saturday, April 3, 2010

OK, so it's not really wilderness. It's in Norco, about 5 minutes from our house, but it might as well be miles and miles away. I got home the other day in time to get over to the Hidden Valley Wildlife Park before it closed. I knew it would be a quick trip, but I wanted to check it out and see what the dogs thought about it.

Not a tough question, really. Are there wide open spaces? Check. Can they run? Check. Can they get filthy? Check. Are there birds and squirrels to chase? Check and check. Yeah, they loved it, even for the short time we had there.

When you get to the park, you drive in down a short dirt road, park, and then walk a paved path down towards the Santa Ana River where are the trails are. There is a lot of animal droppings everywhere so I don't recommend taking a puppy there who hasn't had all his shots.

People ride horses along the trails, so you need to pay attention to what is going on around you. We let Ninja run a bit off leash, but I'm not totally secure with letting Penny run off leash yet. Do you see that field in the first picture? Would you want to chase an Aussie through a field like that? Me neither. She seemed perfectly happy to walk with us on the leash.

This shot is the path that leads down to the river. You can see how fine the dirt is on the path, which lead to a couple of very dusty Aussies. I still have dusty paw prints in the back of my car!

We walked along at a brisk pace, then took a break for a minute. Here's a shot of the dogs both thinking we should go off in different directions. Maybe they are just watching each other's backs. :) There is just so much to look at in this park, such as squirrels, lizards, birds, water, trails, horses, and on and on. I'd like to go back on a Saturday and spend a few hours there where we could really play and let them get really dirty!

My daughter caught a cute shot of Penny Lane. I like the look in her eyes. She seems very content to be out in the Norco wilds!

When we came across a mother and daughter with a white pit bull, they warned us that they'd pulled off 4 ticks from their dog that afternoon. Yuck! I immediately checked out dogs but no ticks, thank goodness. They also warned us that they had seen several coyotes. Coyotes rarely attack humans unless they are totally desperate, but since it was getting close to park closing time I decided to get us all home. I didn't want to be responsible for two dogs, a little girl and me if a coyote came around!

It was a quick trip but a fun one. The pups came home a took a nap, both on their sides with legs stretched straight out. Isn't that the universal sign of a relaxed and tired doggy?

My Pups are Playing!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'm trying to watch Josh Gates on Destination Truth, but because I have two happy pups frolicking around and making so much noise, I can't exactly hear it. I'm not complaining- far from it!

These two are having a ball. They are chasing each other around, nipping at ears and necks, knocking each other over, and taking turns pining each other down.

What's noisy is the sound of nails on tile and wooden floors and the clink of collars and tags. Periodically they come in to the family room and stand there looking at us, with goofy grins on their faces.

This is a good sign! They like each other, they really like each other!! I never had any doubt, but it's wonderful to see them having a good time together.

From "Unhealthy and unhappy dogs do not play, so play serves as a barometer of their well being, indicating that a dog is well fed, in good health, and content. Dogs, like humans, do not play when they're sad or distressed." Amen to that!

Not bad for 4 days together, is it? :)

Penny's Puppy Pen

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Last night I mentioned I put together a wire dog enclosure to make Penny a nice comfy bed area where she couldn't roam free at night. Again, this is just to help her learn the rules and also for her to feel safe in our home. This is the kind of thing I'm talking about. It's great for taking to the park if you need a place to park a pack of puppies. Peter piper and pickled peppers. . . yes, I get it.

I think I got mine at PetSmart a while back. I used to have a pair of lop eared rabbits who were house broken and I would put them in this pen out in the yard so they would be safe.

Anyway, I remembered that I had this about 11pm last night. It was in the shed in my yard. So I snuck out very quietly so as not to bother my neighbors (I really try to be a considerate neighbor-succeeding is a whole other thing). I got the pen, turned around with it, tripped over something in the dark and dropped the whole thing on the patio. Loudly. Ooops.

After getting it in the house, I set up Penny's nighttime "puppy pen." She has her crate so she feels safe, food bowls, and a dog bed if she wants to come out of the crate. There is also a red, fuzzy dog shaped toy my my daughter got her the other night. Penny seems to be happy in her puppy pen. Can you see in the picture she's napping?

As I said last night, this worked great for puppy Ninja while we trained him. Unfortunately he got big quick and he learned that if he pushed against the sides of the puppy pen he could move the whole thing. My plan was to kennel train him for 6 weeks after he came home with us. We made it 4. The day I came home and the puppy pen was literally blocking the front door was the end. He was ready anyway.

I don't see Penny doing that. She doesn't seem to want to tear the thing apart to get out like Ninja did. She's happy to settle down for the night in her little puppy pen.

The First Night. . . and Today

Monday, March 29, 2010

Today as soon as I got on the computer I ordered a new camera cable, thus ensuring that the minute I got home I would find the old one. And I did. It's a win win because now I have a backup camera cable for when I misplace the first one. Hey, it works for the battery charger!

More good news is that I can post pictures! Here is Penny Lane (her full name), resting on Ninja's bed in our family room while we are watching TV. She was so tired her eyes kept closing but she was still just a little too nervous to let herself go.

As I write this tonight, Penny is curled up in the same spot asleep, so I hope she will learn to relax just a little bit more around us day by day.

Here's a shot of her and Ninja together at the park when they first met on Saturday. She is laying down so she looks tiny compared to "Ninja-zilla." She is much smaller than he is but I think they make a handsome couple.

We had a quiet night, but I made a few training errors. I, for some reason, forgot that a new dog should be confined to a small area of the home at first while house breaking rules are enforced. I suppose fatigue (remember my weekend?) is partly to blame. At any rate, for my mistake there I ended up with a few doggy "mistakes."

Isn't it funny how we forget after such a short time all the things we did to train a puppy? I had to text my friend whose husband is a breeder to get tips on how to get Penny house trained properly in her new environment. I'll share those tips soon, because Ninja simply does not have potty errors and hasn't in a long, long time. I know Penny was house trained with her last family so she just needs to learn where to go in our house. I'm guessing it won't take long at all! You can't expect a pup with so much going on at once to be perfect in her new home from the first second. She's such a little love I can barely stand it!

The dog door will be a big help. I really admire people who live in apartments or places without yards and have the perseverance to take their dogs out whenever they need to. I'm not sure I would have the patience to take out the dogs in the middle of the night and as often as needed every day. With the dog door, Ninja comes in and out as needed and I don't have to do a thing. At least about taking him out to do his business. Once Penny gets used to the dog door and learns our house breaking rules, she'll be a happy lil dog, going in and out when she wants.

After dinner tonight we went to the dog park and Penny and Ninja ran and ran and played "let's herd each other." They were so tired by the time we got back they both flopped and went out, much earlier than last night. They were both a little restless last night, partly because I think they were getting used to each other but also I think a coyote was prowling the hills behind our house because all the dogs in the neighborhood were going nuts. Don't worry, our fenced yard is safe from coyote attacks. They can only walk by and look. Ninja would probably try to make friends with a coyote anyway, so it's just as well.

For tonight I'm making a kennel area in the kitchen with a metal fence/kennel thing that clips together. I'll put her crate in it, a blanket, and a dog bed, as well as her water dish. Penny can sleep in her crate, but if she wants to come out there will be more room for her to move about. I used this method with Ninja when he was a pup and it was very effective. I just don't like to lock up a pup in a little crate all night. It seems too small to me.

I was just thinking tonight how happy I am. These two pups and my family just make me happy. And that is a very good thing. More soon! Sweet puppy dreams. . .

We have a New Family Member!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The lovely Penny is now a member of our family! I'm so excited. She looks like a red tri. She's definitely a mini and about half the size of Ninja. Granted, Ninja is over 50 pounds and is totally too big for a mini Aussie. He's more like a small standard. But since his mum and dad were both minis, he's a mini by default, right?

So the bad news is that I cannot find the camera cable to save my life. I've spent an hour searching for it and since it's been such a busy weekend, I'm simply too tired to keep looking. I hate that I can't show you are new little darling! The best way I know to find the cable is to order a new one. As soon as I order the new one, the old one will magically turn up!

So yesterday we met Penny's original owners and Penny, of course, at a local park. Ninja and Penny seemed to really like each other. They played together and walked a bit, and seemed to really enjoy each other. We agreed to meet again on Sunday.

This afternoon we went back to the park. We were a bit late due to some strange circumstances (like my husband losing track of time at another park while practicing baseball with our son!) but when we got there, Penny came running to Ninja like they were old friends. So sweet!

Penny's first owners then sent this little girl home with us. She is a little timid, but very sweet. I think she'll come out of being timid after a bit of time with our very active family and the amazing and mischievous Ninja!

When we first got home we played in our front yard first. Penny went under the car and watched, but we decided to ignore her for a minute and played Frisbee, and within two minutes she came out to see what was going on. That was pretty neat.

I'm reading Cesar Millan's book A Member of the Family and he says to take the dogs on a walk before letting them in the house together. So off my daughter and I went to the park. As soon as we got there, I thought I would let them off leash for a few minutes to let them run.

Bad idea. Penny decided to run full speed, up the hill on the side of the park and hide in the bushes. Ooops. So I climbed the hill and leashed her up. She gave me no issue with that. She's really so sweet! But I had to get back down that hill sitting down. My daughter called Penny and down she went to her, as I inched down the hill. My wouldn't she do that before I climbed the hill? :)

When we got home we walked her through the house on the leash like Cesar says. Then we left them alone to rest and do their own thing (we didn't leave- we just let them be while I made dinner). They are so cute together! They play, they snuggle, and they romp in the yard.

My daughter and I worked with Penny and the dog door, but she's not ready to tear in and out of it like Ninja does. But remember all the coaxing and training we had to do with Ninja to get him to use the dog door when he was a pup? We'll get there.

For now, we are thrilled with are tiny little lady pup and I cannot wait for more walks, dog parks, and sheep herding, which we will do in the next few weeks.

Life is good. :)

Pictures soon as I can get the darned cable! I'm off to order one right now.

The Best Laid Plans. . . and News!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My neighbor told me about this really neat wildlife preserve close to our home with lots of trails and great places for dogs so I headed out right after work. I checked the website earlier and it said they were open until 8pm. Perhaps those are Summer hours, and even though it is warming up, it's still the tail end of a Southern California Winter, and the park closed at 4:30. How disappointing! We'll have to save that for a weekend trip.

We ended up at a local dog park and of course I forgot the camera in the car, and since we had to park a half a mile away I gave up. There was a grumpy husky who was terrorizing everyone so we didn't stay long. What's with owners who don't correct their dogs? "They're just playing" doesn't cut it with me when every time this dog "plays" the other dog growls and snaps at him. That's dog speak for "Knock it off!"

My news is something exciting, but I almost hate to write it in case it doesn't work out. But here goes! I'm meeting with a couple this weekend who are looking for a new family for their 1 year old female mini Aussie. Apparently the kids are leaving for college and the parents are working a lot, and they feel like the pup would be better with a family with another dog and a people who had time for her. I'm so excited- I can't even tell you!

Last year I found a red merle Aussie female at the local animal shelter, and rushed over, only to find she'd been adopted the day before. I got in the car and cried. Isn't that silly? I've been waiting for the right pup to come along. I thought I might wait for the breeder where we got Ninja to have another litter of pups. . . but taking in a young Aussie that needs a home would be great too. I hope that the two will see each other and it will be like music playing and they are inseparable from that moment on. It's a nice dream, isn't it? I just want them to be happy. Ninja loves other dogs and apparently so does this other pup.

I've also been looking into sheep herding. There is a local group where you can take your dog and let them herd sheep. How cute would that be? Apparently it's quite a work out for the owners too. I guess you get run over by the sheep from time to time. I'm sure my husband will bring the video camera to catch his wife being knocked over by sheep while the dog (or hopefully dogs) run wild, nipping at the sheep. I'm sure we'll be on YouTube in about 30 seconds after it happens!

So wish me luck about the new Aussie. I can't wait until Saturday. I'm like a little kid who can't wait for something to happen. :)

The Paw Spa

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I found a fabulous place to take Ninja for his bath here in my town. It's called The Paw Spa and it has self service dog washes.

I cannot say enough good about this place! The staff is wonderful. You don't need an appointment for self service. You head in, they put your dog in the tub and away you go. They also have grooming and will wash your dog for you, but it's a bonding experience, getting drenched with your dog, right?

Donna is the owner and she helps you through the whole process. My daughter and I are pros now, except last time I accidentally sprayed the water past Ninja and drenched my daughter and the employee washing a dog at the next tub. Ooops.

You start by combing out all the loose fur. It's warming up so Ninja is starting to blow his coat. I read somewhere it's a light thing, not a heat thing that makes them shed, but regardless, shedding he is, so the combing took a long time this past trip.

Once that's all done you use the sprayer to wash him down, then lather him up. They have these neat scrubber massager thingeys that you can use to get him good and soapy. He loves that. What dog wouldn't love two ladies massaging him and getting him all clean?

Then you rinse. Donna says this is the most important part. You take the sprayer and put it very close to the dog's skin and wash away all the soap. Then you wash his face with the blueberry facial. Ninja tries to eat this. I can hardly blame him- it smells heavenly.

After a good towel drying you clean his ears. Donna taught me that if you want him to shake the water off, just tickle the insides of his ears and he'll shake for you. Neat trick! It also means that if you don't get his ears wet during the bath, he won't shake. Somehow I always get Ninja's ears wet and I get drenched int he middle of the bath.

It's off to blow drying after cleaning the ears. They have dryers that don't use heat. It takes forever, and with all that hair Ninja ends up a huge fluff ball, but clean and shiny as can be. Finally we spray him with a little doggy cologne. We like sugar cookie best. Yummm. . .

The whole process take about an hour and is so worth it. And it's very reasonable! When we went to visit my MIL on New Year's Eve we took Ninja with us and visited the Paw Spa just before we left. Let me tell you that was a much nicer trip! Two hours in the car with a clean dog is easy compared to two hours with one who isn't so clean.

As soon as it warms up I'm going to take him in and have Donna's staff groom him. I'm going to have his coat shortened up I think. Yes, it's just beautiful, but with the amount of hair he sheds it's a bit crazy trying to keep up with it all.

So if you have a self service dog wash business in your town, check it out! Or if you live anywhere near Corona, California, come visit Donna and her staff. It's the best!

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